"Green" schools can unintentionally penalize students who don't have computer access. In Montclair, middle and high school homework is distributed through Google Classroom, requiring students to complete it and turn in through the same electronic system. If you don't have a computer or access to one, on demand, that student is either behind or scrambling to find a solution. Laptop Upcycle's mission is to eliminate this impediment. We delivers clean, usable laptops to Montclair students to bridge the technology-family income gap.
How Does It Work?
1. We seek out and gather laptops The constant upgrade cycle (corporate or personal) for computer hardware often results in high quality powerful laptops being replaced. Laptop Upcycle works with its partners and donors to obtain nearly new technology no longer being used for refresh and distribution to our clients in need.
2. We prepare the laptops for delivery to students All hardware received via donation is reviewed, tested, and restored to factory fresh condition. We start by using an industry standard data deletion process to zero out the drive. The security of your data is of the utmost importance to us, and you are welcome to join us as we remove any trace of it. Please note that you should extract any information you may need form the laptop before you donate it to us. Once you do, consider that information gone. We do not offer a service to do this for you, but we will recommend commercial consultants who can. Our technicians install an Open Source (Linux) operating system and a core system image (applications) that will support most every need a student may have through High School.
3. Client Matching Members of the Laptop Upcycle team work with local partners to identify and match students to the appropriate technology solution. Understanding that each situation is different for students and their families, we strive to be sensitive and flexible when pairing a solution. We also encourage families to use our Get Technology option to request a laptop or free wifi.
Q: How does my family qualify for Laptop Upcycle offerings?
A: Laptop Upcycle is currently focused on offering technology to families with students in the Montclair Public Schools (MPS). There are multiple opportunities to qualify for our free wifi or laptops. In addition to those families who are documented as being a part of the MPS free or reduced lunch program, we will happily receive recommendations from teachers, guidance counselors, tutors, or other responsible adults to get technology in the hands of those who need it.
Q: Is it really Free?
A: Yes, if you qualify for the technology offerings from Laptop Upcycle there is no charge to you as a client. We provide this program with the generous support of our partners and volunteers.
Q: Are you a for profit or nonprofit organization?
A: Laptop Upcycle operates as a part of HackNCraftNJ, Inc. which is a Makerspace in Montclair, NJ. HackNCraftNJ is a NJ registered nonprofit and is a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization.
Q: Do you track device usage or use my email address for any promotional purposes?
A: No. Note that if there an issue with a wifi device from Laptop Upcycle we may need to access its history to resolve the problem. Laptop Upcycle will never sell your personal information or promote any service or product to you.
Q: What types of operating systems and laptops do you offer and can I choose the one I want?
A: Laptop Upcycle hopes to be able to provide IBM compatible laptops running Ubuntu (Linux), Mac OS X Macbooks, and Google Chromebooks. Options for clients will depend upon our donation stock and we will do our best to honor requests, but we can not guarantee your first choice. We will ensure that the laptops we distribute are first quality and fully operational prior to distribution to a client. Each Laptop Upcycle laptop will meet the needs of students through High School.
Q: I have never used Ubuntu. Is that a problem?
A: No, it shouldn't be.. Laptop Upcycle will provide a brief training session with each client when we deliver the laptop. The system is very similar to MS Windows or Mac OS and you should catch on very quickly. Ubuntu is one of the most common Linux distributions and they maintain a large support site for all users. A couple of supporting points here - 1) the young adults using these systems are really smart, we suspect they will get up to speed on Ubuntu very quickly, and 2) most of the work done by kids in school currently is with cloud based network tools, using a web browser. This is easy on an Ubuntu system.
Q: Can I customize my laptop from Laptop Upcycle?
A: Yes, it is yours to do what you please with. We only ask that you take care of it so that it provides you years of trouble free service. You may install what ever software you see fit to meet your studying needs.
Q: What about my data. How do you recommend I back up my information?
A: We ALWAYS suggest you back up your data. For the laptops we provide you may of course store your documents on the hard drive, but we highly recommend you take advantage of cloud storage and portable (thumb) drives for backing up your information. If your laptop becomes damaged or if the hard drive fails, Laptop Upcycle can not be responsible for your data loss.
Q: What if I have a problem with my laptop or the wifi device?
A: Laptop Upcycle is managed by the HackNCraftNJ Makerspace in Montclair. Our technical team will do our best to address your issues in a timely and professional manner. Note that we do not have the resources to perform repairs on laptops which cost us additional expense. We may need to refer you to a local repair facility if the repair is outside of our scope.
Q: We have more than one child in the MPS. Can I get more than one laptop for our family?
A: Currently, we can only provide one laptop per household so that we can support as many families in Montclair as possible.
Q: I am a corporate donor and I'd like to understand your data deletion policy. Can you explain?
A: Sure, Laptop Upcycle will wipe the contents of the hard drive(s) of any donated device prior to the installation of a Ubuntu image (non-chromebooks). We will use industry standard software to completely wipe your data and issue you a certificate of data destruction with every donation. Our current standard for data destruction is SecureErase, Once enabled, SecureErase wipes data to the specification (NIST 800-88 4 and 800-14). Secure Erase is compliant with the following laws: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. You are of course welcome to perform any other erase/wife procedures to your hardware prior to donating to us. Even if you do, we will still wipe it again. Finally, Laptop Upcycle can not extract or provide any of your data to you from a machine you have donated. Makes sense, right? We wipe them.
Q: Your tax receipts/letters - What can I expect?
A: A general rule of thumb is $250 per donated laptop and power adapter. Laptop Upcycle will of course review each donation and value the equipment fairly. We will generate an IRS letter for you as soon as we check in the hardware.
Q: Will I ever hear what happened to my donation?
A: Yes, we ask that families who receive a donated laptop acknowledge donors. We will pass on the communication to you so you can see the result of your good works. Thank you.