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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
Google for Education
 

Horizon School Division Transition to Google for Education & Google Mail

Horizon’s Teacher Efficacy and Workload Intensification Committee – comprised of teachers, division staff, and members of Horizon’s Board of Education – recommend this direction after much investigation and work. This decision was informed by feedback and data collected by a survey shared with all members of the Horizon Teachers’ Association in the fall of 2016.

The results of this survey were clear: there is a desire to move to a single platform for the educational tools used throughout the division. Staff across Horizon School Division have been utilizing Google for Education for several years, including Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Classroom. Moving to the complete Google for Education suite, including Google Mail as our email platform, helps address the mandate of these survey results. The availability of support for the Google for Education suite, the ease of use of the product, and the continual innovations implemented for use in classrooms were some of the major factors in the decision to move to this web-based platform.

"Show me Gmail!" Training Videos

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.) What does the Google environment include?

For those of you who haven’t used the G Suite platform, it is a set of web-based messaging and collaboration applications that Google hosts on its own servers – Gmail, Google Calendar, Contacts, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Groups, Sites and Classroom. Google provides these applications as a web service, rather than as software to download and install. To access Google, you simply use your smart device or a web browser on a computer connected to the internet.  

2.) Your Google account will include the following services:

  • Gmail

  • Google Calendar

  • Google Groups

  • Google Docs, Sheets & Slides

  • Google Sites

  • Google Hangouts

  • Google Drive

  • Google Classroom

3.) What are some of the other benefits of using Gmail and Google?

  • Continuous Upgrades and Improvement — Google updates the Google platform behind the scenes, so we can leverage the ongoing creative and technical developments to provide students and staff with powerful, easy-to-use tools for getting their work done
  • Unlimited Storage — With Google, our email, calendar and document storage capacity will grow automatically as our needs grows
  • Access to services from anywhere, anytime — Like we had with Outlook, a key benefit of the cloud-hosted solution is that we can access email, contacts, and calendar from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world
  • More collaboration features — With Google’s next-generation applications, we can collaborate with colleagues and students more easily and efficiently than ever before

4.) What will my email address be?

Your current email address and username will not be changed and remain the same as it is today.

5.) How will I access my Gmail account?

There are many methods to access your account, but the recommended method is to use the Chrome web browser and the address https: //mail.google.com/

6.) When will the transition begin?

The data migration process has already begun. Information Services is busy copying email, contacts and calendar events as we speak. If you log into your division Gmail you may notice your information is already being populated. Please note, that what you are seeing is a copy of what currently exists in your Outlook mailbox. We urge you to not modify or delete any information migrated to your Gmail email until the migration process is 100% complete.

Note: The migration uses Drive as a storage location for some of the attachments that couldn’t be migrated into Gmail itself. You will notice folders in Drive named ‘Exchange Attachments’ and ‘Calendar Attachments’. Do not remove or modify these folders as mail messages still link to these attachments.

7.) What is the transition schedule?

Our goal is to complete the migration by early June 2018. During this migration, you will have full access to Outlook and all of the data, but you will also notice your Google account being populated with data copied over from Outlook as stated above.

8.) What will happen when we make the the switch?

Updates will be provided throughout the migration process, and a migration completion date will be communicated. Once the migration is completed to current date an official switch date will be communicated. During this final phase we will continue to conduct business in our current Microsoft Outlook platform for a few days in order to give everyone an opportunity to review their migrated data. On the final transition date (yet to be determined) access to Microsoft Outlook will be disabled and all staff and students will move completely to Gmail. Mail filter rules that you may have setup in Outlook will not carry over. Email signatures will also not carry over. When re-creating your email signature, refer to Horizon's Brand Standards Guide.

9.) How much time will it take to set up and learn how to use Google?

You will be able to master the basics, like sending and receiving email and viewing and scheduling meetings, very quickly. It may take more time to really learn to make the most of your new services, depending on how you currently use Outlook. For example, for a typical email and calendar migration, expect to spend a few hours to take the training, review documentation, and setup your services.

Horizon School Division Learning Resource Teachers have developed the following resource to assist you in learning to use Google Mail, here:

https://sites.google.com/horizonsd.ca/email

10.) Are you migrating all my existing email to Google?

We will only be migrating email and data required to be retained in accordance with the SSBA (Saskatchewan School Boards Association) records retention guide. https://saskschoolboards.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Sep13_RecordsRetentionGuide.pdf

The records retention guide developed by the SSBA dictates how long a division must legally retain information including email. In order to simplify the retention and migration process we have developed some basic retention guidelines based on individual “roles” vs email “content”. With this in mind we will be only migrating the minimum amount of email information shown in the table below.

Role

Retention

Director

Forever

Senior Leadership Team / Board / and supports

7 years

Human Resources

7 years

Finance/Payroll

7 years

Student Services

7 years

Learning Services

3 years

Transportation Services

3 years

Information Services

3 years

Facilities Services

3 years

DLT (Directors Leadership Team)

3 Years

Teachers

3 Years

Students

1 Year

Note: During the migration, there may be certain messages that don’t convert properly. After migration, users will be sent a list of any messages that did not migrate.

11.) How can I help the process?

In order to avoid any potential disruptions or loss of information we recommend that each user thoroughly clean up their Outlook mailbox as soon as possible. This will help in a few ways:

    • Cleaning up and removing any unnecessary information or email will not only ensure your new mailbox is not cluttered when we make the final transition, it will also speed up the migration process by decreasing the amount of data we need to transfer.

    • Most importantly, going through your mailbox may prevent the loss of important information you may have received in the past but need or want to retain. Information required for educational purposes for example, or even personal information such as pictures or documents that you want or need to keep, should be saved to a new location. Your Google Drive for example is a perfect place to store this information.

Note: Any changes made in Exchange after your information has been migrated will not be reflected in GMail

12.) What will happen to my email and data that is not migrated to Google?

In the short term, all information will be simply put into a dormant state until we are certain that all information required has been migrated to Google. No information will be removed or deleted until the migration is 100% complete. Once the migration project is completed and closed, all information will be archived or purged on an annual basis in accordance to the retention guide.

13.) Are you migrating all my existing contacts, and calendar to Google?

Yes, we will migrate all of your current calendar events and personal contacts from Microsoft Outlook to Google.   

14.) Will I still have access to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint?

Yes, we will continue to the Microsoft Office Suite under the Provincial licensing agreement .

15.) Is there a desktop application (like Outlook) that I can use with Gmail?

Yes, however we strongly recommend that you use the Gmail web interface to interact with your email, calendar and contacts. This is Google’s native client, so it contains the most features, the best search capabilities, ease of use, and best support. Those who use Gmail in their personal lives will already know how to use it.

16.) Is there app for my phone?

Yes, whether you have an iPhone or Android phone, there are many apps that you can use to interact with your Horizon School Division Gmail, contacts, and calendar. You need to be enrolled in the Horizon MDM to use this.

17.) Is Google the same as the personal (free) version of Gmail and Google Calendar?

They’re similar, but we’ll be using the Education edition of Google, which provides more features, more storage, and more support.

18.) Will anyone be reading my emails during the migration from Outlook to Gmail?

No one will be reading your email during the migration. The process is automated as large volumes of mail are being transferred from one platform to another.

19.) What kind of scanning or indexing of user data is done on Google for Education accounts?

Google does NOT scan Google for Education emails for advertising purposes. Google for Education services don’t collect or use student data for advertising purposes or to create ad profiles. Google is a separate offering that provides additional security, administrative and archiving controls for education, work, and government customers. Like many email providers, Google does scanning in Gmail to keep our customers secure and to improve their product experience. In Gmail for Google for Education, this includes virus and spam protection, spell check, relevant search results and features like Priority Inbox and auto-detection of calendar events. Scanning to provide product features is done on all incoming emails and is 100% automated.

20.) Does Google for Education offer security and privacy?

Yes. View the Google for Education privacy notice by clicking here: https://gsuite.google.com/terms/education_privacy.html