Frequently Asked Questions -- Switching to PSBmail

 Below you will find answers to a bunch of the more commonly asked questions. If you have other questions or would like to provide additional input about PSB's switch to Gmail, Calendars, Contacts, and Conference, please post them in the Google Q&A Conference in First Class or just complete this short form

 

The Basics

  1. What will be our new email addresses? 
  2. When are we switching to PSBmail (Brookline’s version of Gmail)? 
  3. What happens to email that people send to my old email address (@psbma.org)?
  4. What will happen to all my email that is in First Class? 
  5. How will I log-in to PSBmail? 
  6. What type of support will we have for learning how to use PSBmail? 
  7. When do I have to tell people that my email address is changing?
  8. How do I let people know that I have a new email address? 
  9. Is there a storage limit in PSBmail? 
Group

Process Questions

  1. Why are we moving away from First Class?
  2. What input have you gotten from staff and teachers? 
  3. Why are we switching to Gmail? 
  4. This seems sudden, what has been the process for deciding on Google?
  5. When do I have to tell people that my email address is changing?

First Class Related Questions

  1. What happens to my email and documents that are in First Class? Will I still be able to access them?
  2. Will you move over all our old email to PSBmail? 
  3. What happens to our First Class Conferences? Will they be closed? Will they be replaced?
  4. What’s different about Google Groups?
  5. What about all the files and information that are in PSB Portal?

Google Related Questions

 

 
 

The Basics

  1. What will be our new email addresses?

    Your new email address will be: first_name@psbma.org So the part before the @ is the same as it is now. And the part after the @ is much, much simpler than it ever has been. Think about how much easier it will be to explain your email address to someone.


  1. When are we switching to PSBmail (Brookline’s version of Gmail)?

We will switch district-wide on Wednesday, June 8th. We will have a transition period that starts on May 25th and ends on June 8th. During the transition period you can use both First Class and PSBmail. On June 8th First Class will no longer receive or send email.


  1. What happens to email that people send to my old email address (@psbma.org)?

All email that is sent to your @psbma.org address will automatically be forwarded to your new PSBmail account in Google. Your brookline.k12.ma.us will always be forwarded to your PSBmail account so you will continue to get these emails.


  1. What will happen to all my email that is in First Class?

It will stay there and you will have access to it for at least a year and probably longer. It will stay as an archive that you can look at, read, and access.


  1. How will I log-in to PSBmail?

First-time users will be emailed their user name which should be first name_last name@psbma.org. and a temporary password to their First Class account. Open any browser (e.g. Chrome, Internet Explorer or Safari); Chrome is preferred. Go to: mail.psbma.org. Click Login to begin. When prompted enter your user name and then your temporary password. You will be prompted to click acceptance of the account, and then change your password. Please create a new, strong password that you don't use for other websites. Once you create and confirm your new password, click Change Password. If you already have an existing psbma.org Google account, your password is the same. 


  1. What type of support will we have for learning how to use PSBmail?

We will have seven types of support to help you get the hang of Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, and Google Groups:

    1. In-person Q&A Sessions -- before June 8th, at each school, we will have one morning session and one afternoon session. These sessions are optional. Any staff member can attend and get your questions answered and provide input about the transition to PSBmail. We will post the schedule for these sessions on April 29th. 
    2. FAQs -- You are already reading the Frequently Asked Questions. If you have a question that the FAQ doesn’t answer, please post it in the Google Q&A First Class Conference and we will answer it and add it to the FAQ. The school-based groups will open on June 1, and all others on June 8. You can view or post questions on the PSB Google Apps Q&A Group. The PSB Google Apps Q&A Group is a great place to find answers to your questions from other colleagues posts.
    3. Step-by-Step Guides with Screenshots -- For many of the basic functions in Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, we will have the .pdfs which you can download and print and follow along with as you learn how to use PSBmail, Contacts, and Calendars. They are available in the PSB Google Apps Q&A Group located by clicking on the Google App box Group icon, and in the Google Migration section of the PSB website as well.
    4. Online Tutorials - embedded right into your PSBmail, Contacts, and Calendars, we’re adding a support plug-in called Synergyze that allows you to pull up step by step and video instructions for almost any function. This on-screen help is available anytime and all the time. This is located in your Google App box, it may be at the bottom of the box.
    5. Optional In Person Classes – We will be having optional, in-person classes throughout the district in May and June. These classes will typically include a short presentation, time for hands-on practice, and lots of Q&A. We’re finalizing this schedule now and will post it by May 4th.
    6. School- Based Technology Support --  Ed Tech Specialists are in your building and can offer support and guidance.

  1. When do I have to tell people that my email address is changing?

You can start telling people now if you like. If anyone sends you PSBMA.org email before the transition period begins on May 25th, you will get it in your First Class account. By the start of the school year you should have sent an email to all of your contacts telling them of your new email address.


  1. How do I let people know that I have a new email address?

We suggest letting people know that you have a new email address in two ways. 1) simply send one email to all of your contacts by putting them all in the BCC field. 2) In your signature, add a line that says something like, “Please notice that I have a new email address: first_name@psbma.org”

 
  1. Is there a storage limit in PSBmail?

            Unlike First Class, there is no storage limit in PSBmail. 
 
Groups

  1. How do I use Groups?
    The best way to learn how to use Groups is to start with the great How-To Guides that Gabe McCormick created for all of us. These How-To Guides include how to join, post a message, how to manage email notifications from your Groups and other helpful tips.

  2. How do I get to Groups?
    The Finding Groups guide, will help you with step-by-step instructions. If you already know your way around Google, simply click on the App Selector (the icon that looks like a Rubik’s Cube or a waffle) in the upper right of your screen. Then click on the Groups icon. You will see a list of all the Groups by clicking on the “Browse All Groups” link.

  3. What Groups are set up now?
    Led by Scott Moore, we’ve been able to set up about 60 Groups already. There are at least three Groups in each K-8 school – one for the all staff, one for 6-8 staff, and one for Pupil Support Services. For example, Baker has a Baker Group, a Baker 6-8 Group, and a Baker Pupil Support Services Group. BHS has its school-wide Group and ones for each department (e.g. BHS Math, BHS Guidance, etc.). And yes, the Public Forum is already up and running and just waiting for someone to post about Red Sox tickets that are for sale this weekend.

  4. How do I join a Group?
    For school-based groups, we’ve already added staff into these groups according to your assignment. So if you work at Runkle, you should already be in the Runkle Group. We know we have missed people because there is no good way of learning from First Class exactly who is a member of our First Class Conferences. So if you click on a Group that you’re supposed to be a member of and it says you aren’t, just click on the “Join this Group” link and follow the instructions. You will be added to that Group by the beginning of next week.

  5. How do I manage email notifications in Groups?
    If you join a group you may start getting the messages in your email inbox. If you don’t want these messages, simply follow the directions in this How-To Guide and you can choose whether or not you get email notifications about the messages being posted in your Groups.

  6. Where else can I get help with Groups?
    The best place to ask questions is the Group called “PSB Google Apps Q&A Forum”.  You can also ask questions in the First Class Conference called Google Q&A until June 8th. In school buildings, please attend one of the PSBmail Classes being offered, or ask colleagues and ETS’s for assistance.
     
  7. What if I want a Group that has not been created yet?
    First, please think whether you need a Group or whether you can serve the same function with a Contact List of the people you need to communicate with. We are hoping to avoid recreating the 800+ conferences in First Class many of which were never used. If you would like a Group created, just complete this request form.

Process Questions
  1. Why are we moving away from First Class?

The major outage we had in March showed us that we can no longer rely on First Class to be reliable. Further we have lost confidence in the company that supports First Class to give us the proper support to identify issues with their technology, support us when First Class breaks, and convince us that First Class will be stable going forward.

  1. What input have you gotten from staff and teachers?

We have been getting input about using Google Apps for Education for two years now. More than 1,000 staff have been using Google Docs and Google Drive and have created more than 500,000 documents using the system.

We have also discussed the change to Gmail with teachers, school secretaries, coordinators, and principals. The overwhelming response has been positive with lots of people expressing happiness and even joy. At the same time we also know a number of people are anxious about learning a new system. To help everyone with the transition we will provide five different types of support. For more information about the support, please see the question about Support above in “The Basics” section.

  1. Why are we switching to Gmail?

We have decided to go with Gmail because it allows us to fully integrate Google Drive, Google Docs, and other services that more than 1,000 staff members are already using through their PSBMA.org Google accounts. Since so many people already use personal Gmail accounts, we anticipate that the switch will be easier than moving to an entirely new email system. Also Gmail is faster, easier to use, more reliable, superior on mobile devices, and has a better search function than First Class.

  1. This seems sudden, what has been the process for deciding on Google?

Actually we’ve been heading towards a new email system for more than two years. PSB staff were going to switch to Gmail two years ago when Town employees left First Class and started using Microsoft Outlook. At that point, teachers and staff started using Google PSBMA.org accounts for Google Docs, Google Drive, and shared Calendars. We didn’t switch to Gmail then because there was concern among school staff about what to do with First Class Conferences and the files stored on First Class stopped the switch. Now with the widespread use of Google Drive and the improvement in Google Groups, we have solutions that can replace and improve upon the conferences and the First Class file storage.

  1. When do I have to tell people that my email address is changing?

You can start telling people now if you like. If anyone sends you PSBMA.org email before the transition period begins on May 25th, you will get it in your First Class account. By the start of the school year you should have sent an email to all of your contacts telling them of your new email address.


First Class Related Questions

  1. What happens to my email and documents that are in First Class? Will I still be able to access them?

Nothing will happen to your email in First Class. It will still be there. For at least one year. You can always refer to them; always read them, and always download documents that are there. You won’t receive email in First Class anymore and you won’t be able to send email from First Class, but it will stay as a static archive for the foreseeable future. For example, Town employees left First Class two years ago and can still access First Class and read emails that are more than two years old.

  1. Will you move over all our old email to PSBmail?

Turning on PSBmail in all of the PSBMA.org Google accounts is relatively straightforward. If we had to port over all the content for all users that would not only take much longer, it would make the process exponentially more difficult. Think of how many emails you have - maybe thousands? Some of our users have 10,000 emails or more. To copy all of that data for the 1,800+ employees would be a gigantic endeavor. Instead, we will leave all of your old email right where it is in First Class, and you can find it whenever you like. Think of it like moving to a great new house right next to where you live now and not having to pack up all of your old stuff. Instead, you can leave all the old things in the closets and the basement and still go back and rummage through them whenever you like. You just don’t have to pack it up and take it all with you and clutter up the new place with it. If for some reason, you think you need to have some of your data transferred, please contact the help desk and submit a request. We may not be able to fulfill all of these requests but will prioritize them over time.

  1. What happens to our First Class Conferences? Will they be closed? Will they be replaced?

We will replace active Conferences with Google Groups. You will also be able to create new conferences if you like. Just like your First Class email, you’ll be able to continue to read the old First Class Conferences even after First Class is closed down. They will stay there to read but won’t be able to be updated. All the communication and collaboration you did in Conferences will continue in a Google Group. School-based groups will be available on June 1, all others by June 8.

 
  1. What’s different about Google Groups?

The biggest difference is that, if you like you can choose to have the emails that go to the group also show up in your email inbox.


  1. What about all the files and information that are in PSB Portal?

Over time we will transfer all of these to Google Drive and you will have access through a website or revised Intranet. Until the end of this school year, PSB Portal and all of the documents that are in it will remain where they are and be accessible whenever you like them. Over the summer we duplicate them onto Google Drive and set up folder system that is easily accessible and can be updated with new files and folders whenever necessary.

 

 Google Related Questions

1.  Are there ads in Google Apps for Education?

There are no ads in the Google Apps for Education. For Apps for Education users in K-12 schools, Google does not use any user personal information (or any information associated with a Google Account) to target ads.

2.  Does Google own school or student user data?

Public Schools of Brookline (students, faculty, and staff) are the sole owners of their data, including any intellectual property rights that are held in that content. Google doesn’t assume ownership of any customer data in Google Apps for Education. 

3.  Does Google sell school data to third parties?

No. Google does not sell your Google Apps for Education data to third parties, and they do not share personal information placed in their systems with third parties. The only time they share it is if they are required to by law. 

4.  How does Google keep data secure?

Google’s systems are among the most advanced and secure infrastructures in the world. As leaders in the industry they ensure the strongest security measures are in place to protect against unlawful access to your data. To learn more about how Google keeps your personal information private and safe you can read Google’s privacy page (https://privacy.google.com/) 

To learn more about safety and security online, including how to protect yourself you can go to the Google Safety Center ( https://www.google.com/safetycenter/). 

5. How does Google ensure its tools are reliable?

Google has a proven track record in making sure that its tools are always available and reliable. Can you recall a time when Google was ever down?

6.  Who has reviewed Google’s security practices?

Google Apps and its infrastructure are regularly reviewed by independent auditors for data protection practices. Ernst & Young, an independent auditor, has verified that Google’s  practices and contractual commitments for Google Apps for Education comply with ISO/IEC 27018:2014. Google Apps and our data centers are also SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II SOC 2-audited and have achieved ISO 27001 certification.

7.  How do we know Google will keep its word and follow its practices?

Google’s is bound by contractual commitments in the Google Apps for Education agreement.  Furthermore they have signed the Student Privacy Pledge and comply with privacy and security standards. Google is committed to providing transparency so that users understand and can make informed decisions about your data.

8.  What kind of scanning or indexing does Google do on Google Apps for Education accounts?

Google does not scan Google Apps for Education emails or content for advertising purposes. Google Apps for Education does not collect or use user data for advertising purposes or to create ads profiles. Like many email providers, Google does scan email to keep customers secure and to improve their product experience. In Gmail for Google Apps 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 and security is done on all incoming emails and is 100% automated. 

9.  Does Google comply with FERPA?

Yes. Google Apps for Education Core Services comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). These services include the use of Gmail, Calendar,Groups, Contacts, Drive Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites. 

10.  Has Google signed the Student Privacy Pledge? 

Yes, Google has signed the Student Privacy Pledge. The pledge, introduced by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), is intended to safeguard student privacy regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information.

 
 
 

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