Bookstores to sell laptop computers at discounted price

Lauren Sonnenberg

Students can now buy Windows laptops at the Upper School and Middle School bookstores.

Both bookstores also offer students two Dell Windows 8 computers to try out in-store. To buy other computer models and accessories, students can visit the bookstore’s website. The availability of laptops in the bookstores stemmed from a decision last spring that mandated computers for seventh graders as part of the 1-to-1 initiative.

The 1-to-1 program is the first stage of a six-year Technology Plan, which will extend to the rest of the student body by September 2015.

Both computers offered on campus fulfill the requirements for the new initiative.

Students can buy a 15-inch laptop for $420 or a 14-inch touch-screen laptop for $650. After visiting a technology conference in May, Upper School Bookstore Manager Irma Hernandez and Director of Bookstore Operations Tina Cleveland decided to offer laptops at the bookstore.

Selling laptops at school allows the school to “offer a great computer at a competitive price that all families can afford,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland believes that students’ learning is enhanced by having laptops and she hopes that selling laptops on campus will ultimately lead to reduced use of textbooks and increased use of online materials.

On a computer, “students can do research, study online access material, do homework and communicate with their teachers when it’s convenient for them,” Cleveland said. “I believe students will learn to utilize their study time more efficiently and that will allow them to spend more time with their families and get more rest when they get home after a long day. And hopefully over time, we will be able to reduce the size of students backpacks by incorporating more online access materials that supports eBooks or textbooks depending on what a teacher prefers.”

Dell offered the best pricing and technical support for an educational program, Cleveland said. Harvard-Westlake is a member of the Douglas Steward Company, a buying consortium. The company offers its members “a variety of electronic products from various vendors that normally bookstores could not offer [their] customers at competitive pricing,” Cleveland said.

By purchasing a computer through the bookstore, students are offered special promotions, such as a $200 Dell gift card included with the purchase of a touch screen.