After spending time listening to feedback from staff and students, and after working with our IT consultant, we’ve made the decision to change our email, word processing and file storage platform from Microsoft Office 365 to Google. It’s my understanding that the school was previously with Google, however, the school didn’t have their users’ accounts centrally managed by Google.
Over the summer we will be transitioning to G Suite for Education, a free platform for educational institutions. Unlike the previous setup that the school used while with Google, our setup will be centrally managed and FOI compliant (pertaining to the retention and retrieval of information). It will be a similar setup like we have now with Microsoft Office 365, however it will be through Google.
There are a few reasons that led us to this decision. For starters, many of our students, including staff personally use Google to manage their documents and files. Therefore, when it comes to being able to collaborate between staff and students, staff has had to use their personal Google accounts to collaborate and provide feedback on the students’ work. By transitioning to G Suite for Education, this will allow for the one singular and seamless working environment.
Additionally, the collaboration abilities of Google are superior to Microsoft Office 365. While Microsoft Office 365 allows for multiple users to collaborate on a singular document, the real-time collaboration tools of Google makes collaborating and providing feedback on a document a much easier experience.
We’ll also be able to manage student-level accounts with much more ease than we currently have with Microsoft Office 365. Our plan is to issue individual accounts to our students, 3rd grade and higher.
Finally, Chromebooks have become much more popular and much more dependable. Many school systems are making the transition to Chromebooks due to their cost effectiveness, ease of use, and ability to be centrally managed. Currently, none of the computers that Riverwalk Academy own or leased prior to 2018 are set up to be centrally managed. This means we’re presently unable to monitor student level access and any updates/troubleshooting must be done one-by-one.
As you can see, Riverwalk Academy will greatly benefit from this transition. In preparation for this transition, here is what you need to know and here is what we need your assistance with:
Roll Over Date: July 15, 2019
Email Downtime: July 12, 2019 – July 14, 2019
Transfer of Email: All email: inbox, saved folders, and sent email will automatically transfer over.
Asks: Now, or prior to July 12, 2019, users are asked to go into their email and “empty their deleted folder”
Contacts / Calendar
All contacts and future calendar events will automatically transfer over.
OneDrive (personal and shared files)
Personal and shared files stored in OneDrive will not transfer over. However, all users will still have access to their files that are stored in OneDrive. Users will have to transfer their own files and we will set a goal to have all files transferred by the end of 2019.
We will no longer use Teams beginning on July 1, 2019, nor will we be able to access any information stored on Teams after this date.
The only change that should occur on July 15, 2019 is that users will go to a new web address to access their email. All login credentials (user name and passwords) should stay the same. Additionally, those who use a mobile web-client like the Outlook app, or the “mail” app on your phones, will have to most likely have to reconfigure your mobile access to the Google-based web client. We will provide training on the Google Platform during our welcome week back.
As we get closer to the rollover, we will send out reminders and further instructions. We will also post updates and reminders to this website: https://www.riverwalkacademy.com/google2019. This site can be accessed by clicking the link, or by clicking “staff resources” from our website.
There will be a few staff who will “test” the rollover on Sunday, July 14, 2019. Therefore, we will be able to troubleshoot any issues that arise during the rollover, prior to going live on July 15, 2019. If we run into any issues or delays during the actual rollover, we'll communicate this via the above link. On July 15, 2019, if you have any issues logging in, or issues with your account, please consult the above link for updates and instructions before reaching out to Ms. Taylor or myself.
It’s our goal to make this as seamless and easy as possible. I believe this will be a good move for Riverwalk Academy’s staff and students. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.