Technology

Students today are digital natives ...

Technology shapes how they view and move through the world every day. We aim to teach them how to use devices, platforms, and media to advance their learning, to better communicate, and to know what it means to be responsible digital citizens.

Innovation Lab

Branson's design and innovation space, called The Garage, is a space for classes like Engineering, Arduino, a space for projects in art, economics, and others, and a place for students to pursue their own projects, including coding. Equipment on hand there:

  • 60-watt laser cutter
  • 3D printer
  • Carvey machine – digital router


BYOD Program

Philosophy: At Branson, we believe that technology should support student learning as seamlessly and efficiently as possible. We believe that a student’s own computer, being a personally customize device, will support this philosophy best

Requirements: When purchasing a device, the following specifications are required:

  • The device must be a laptop (e.g., Macbook Pro) or full-function 2-in-1 device with a built-in full size keyboard (e.g., Microsoft Surface Pro).
  • The device must be WiFi capable.
  • The device needs to come to school fully charged each day and needs to be available to the student for homework in the evening.
  • The device must be able to work “off-line”, meaning it cannot be a netbook (e.g., Chromebook).
  • Students are required to participate in the Branson-sponsored anti-virus program. Software and licenses will be distributed to each student free of charge.
  • Students are required to have a productivity suite on their device. Options include:
    • Google drive – Branson provides this for all faculty, staff and students free of charge. We recommend this option.
    • Microsoft Office or the Apple Productivity Suite – family is responsible for purchasing these if desired.
    • OpenOffice – an example of one of several free office-like suites available for download.

Recommendations: The following, while not required, are highly recommended:

  • Although we do not require a certain brand of laptop, as the faculty and staff of Branson use Apple laptops, Apple is recommended.
  • A robust protective case for the machine that protects against drops and other incidentals. This implies a more rigid case, since a cloth sleeve does little more than prevent against scratches.
  • A device protection plan covering damage and repairs including screen breaks and liquid damage. Examples include Apple Care and Square Trade.
    • Very important! The repair costs associated with the two most common types of damage, broken screens and liquid spills, can easily run several times the cost of an insurance plan.
  • The device should not be more than 3 years old.
  • An external hard drive or online cloud-based account for backup. This is for the student to store personal files. The Branson Google Drive account is for school-related files.
  • A 13” screen dimension is recommended as a functional and portable size.

On-site Support: We are happy to assist students with their devices to the extent we are able. This includes minor troubleshooting and fine tuning the devices to work with Branson networks and systems.

We are not able to distribute software nor are we able to conduct major repairs or upgrades. We will help facilitate sending machines to the appropriate repair facility and can provide loaner machines to students during that process. (Note: it is the family’s responsibility to cover the costs of any repairs)

We recognize that deciding on the right device can be challenging. If you have any questions or would like any recommendations, please feel free to email or call Justin Culley, (justin_culley@branson.org, 415-455-7214), or Cécile Lelievre, (cecile_lelievre@branson.org, 415-455-7197).

Financial Aid Addendum

Families needing financial assistance to participate in the BYOD program will be able to access it based on the following criteria:

  • The financial aid will be provided based on the percentage of tuition already covered by aid. At 75% financial aid, the student will be eligible for full coverage of the device purchase.
  • Any student on financial aid may access this assistance, regardless of grade level, if need is present. This aid may be accessed once during the student’s time at Branson.
  • The maximum amount of financial aid given will be based on whichever model computer is currently being purchased for faculty and staff at Branson.
  • Students on financial aid will not automatically receive BYOD assistance. This is on a case-by-case basis. Students already possessing a compatible device or having already accessed this assistance will not be eligible.
  • Students may access financial assistance to purchase any of the recommended items including software, insurance, and/or a protective case. Again, this is on a case-by-case basis.
  • Questions regarding financial aid should be directed to the Assistant Head of School, Ned Pinger, ned_pinger@branson.org or 415-455-7163.

Faculty Tech Committee

Our Tech Committee, with representatives from all departments, is constantly exploring and evaluating technology so we can have the best tools for our faculty that will enhance teaching and learning.

Tech Philosophy

Our Technology Philosophy Statement:

Technology encompasses a vast and ever-changing collection of tools that should always be evaluated through the lens of Branson’s educational goals and objectives. When adopted, technology should be used mindfully in support of learning, communication, digital citizenship, and technological competence.


Computer Science Program

For the tech-minded (or the tech curious), Branson is a great place to explore your potential in coding, robotics, and electronics.