District 203 high school students to receive new computers


Jake Pfeiffer

A Naperville Central Student returns his Chromebook at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

Jake Pfeiffer, Staff Writer

District 203 high school students will receive new school-issued Chromebooks at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year to use for the next three school years.

The district is replacing their current Acer Chromebooks with Lenovo 500e Chromebooks, as a part of its three year refresh cycle, in which students receive a new device every three years.

District 203 high schools will be the first to receive Lenovo devices, with middle schoolers not getting new devices until the 2023-2024 school year and elementary school students keeping their current Acers for the next two school years.

The district chose Lenovo’s Chromebooks over Acer and other companies’ products in part due to the better internal memory of Lenovos.

“It is a better machine,” said Steve Drabik, District 203 manager of user support.

Lenovo’s product is otherwise similar to the Acer Chromebooks students had for the last three years, with a touchscreen and the ability to convert into a tablet.

All high school students not attending in person or virtual summer school were required to turn in their current chromebooks before the end of the school year on May 27. Dan Goulson, Central’s senior support analyst, was a member of the IT team handling chromebook returns.

“For the most part, students have been really good about turning them in,” Goulson said.

After collecting the roughly 6,000 Chromebooks currently in use at the high school level, a team of district IT workers spend the summer preparing the district’s devices for next year.

“The beginning of [the summer] is going to be processing the [Chromebooks] that are getting turned in, finding which ones can be reused, and which ones can’t,” Goulson said. “Then the end of this summer is going to be [getting] all of the new Chromebooks ready to deploy to students.”

 District 203 will keep roughly 2,000 chromebooks in the best condition to be used as spare and loaner chromebooks at the junior high level.

The remaining devices will be sold to Lenovo, as stipulated in the district’s contract with the company.

“[The price paid by Lenovo] depends on the condition of the machines, but we will get money back into the district from selling the old stuff,” Drabik said.

This money may help alleviate the $2.2 million cost of the new Chromebooks predicted in District 203’s IT department 2021 Capital Plan Projections.

The district will also make money by repairing devices internally.

“[When a device is broken], somebody in our IT office here does the repair, and then Lenovo pays us to do the repair,” Drabik said. “The district gets compensated for every repair that we do, which over the year amounts to thousands of repairs. It’s another good way for the district to recoup funds.”

Before money can be made off of these repairs however, the new Chromebooks need to be issued to students.

“We’re looking forward to deploying the new devices and getting them working,” Goulson said.