District considers switch to Google Calendar, Gmail

Abbe Murphy, Print Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

After five years using Outlook email and calendar, District 99 may switch to Gmail and Google Calendar. This possible transition would come at no additional cost to the district and, after consulting faculty and staff, the administration plans to make a decision on the transition as soon as possible.

“If we do decide to do this, we’d like to know sooner rather than later so we can take advantage of any time we have this year with staff and students to at least let them know and offer any type of training or workshops,” associate principal Dr. Ken Sorensen said. “So that if we make the switch over the summer people can start using it and become familiar with it for the coming school year.”

Google Apps for Education is free for the district to use and Outlook email and calendar are included in the Microsoft license that the district pays for to use programs like Word and Excel. Because the district will pay for the Microsoft license either way and Google Apps for Education is free, the switch would come at no additional cost.

The district assessed switching to Gmail and Google Calendar multiple times in the past, but recent changes to Google Apps for Education made now a better time to switch than ever, Sorensen said. The district hope to make the decision as soon as possible with the hopes of allowing enough time for students and staff to adjust to the change.

“So now if we look at the conversion to Gmail and [google] calendar it might be simpler than it had been in the past. Not that it’s simple because it is a change in working environment and there would have to be some training involved with both students and staff,” Sorensen said.

Along with communicating with other schools that switched from Outlook to Google, administrators held question and answer sessions for teachers, secretaries and paraprofessionals on Dec. 1 and 2. The hope was consider all viewpoints and address concerns arising from the possible switch.

“We want to better understand how people use [Outlook email and calendar] and some of the features that they still want to be able to use in a new environment,” Sorensen said.