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Back to School with FlashPanel: Preparing Your Google Apps for Education Domain, Part II


September 4, 2014

2 minute read

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Last week, we published part I of this post about preparing your Google Apps for Education domain for going back to school, including 4 valuable tools that can save Google Apps admins time at the start of a new year. For most schools, classes are back in session this week, so here are a few more efficiency-increasing tips after you’ve already taken care of the essentials.

Create a Secondary Calendar for School Holidays

Gone are the days of distributing paper copies of the school calendar for students and faculty to post on the fridge–it’s time to create an integrated Google Calendar that’s always up to date. Primary calendars are tied to users’ email addresses and used for personal scheduling, but secondary calendars are perfect for school-wide events and holidays.

Create a new secondary calendar called “School Holidays” or “2014-2015 School Year,” add in holidays, long weekends, snow makeup days, and key events like parent/teacher conferences or picture days, then use BetterCloud to share the calendar with everyone in your domain.

Upload School Photos to Use as Google Apps Profile Photos

Due to the number of users at a school, many times email addresses aren’t very descriptive–for example, there could be several students named Jane Smith, so email addresses end up looking like jsmith2934, making it difficult to tell one student from another over email.

To combat this, BetterCloud enables you to upload a profile photo for each user. Do so in bulk using the User Directory spreadsheet, just host school photos online and input the URLs. This way, the user’s photo will appear with each email they send, making it easier to put a face with a name.

Create an Email Signature to Make Contact Info of Faculty and Staff Available

Since faculty members are often in front of the classroom and not readily accessible by email, making alternate contact information readily available to parents and staff can save everyone time. Create a custom email signature, including faculty members’ work phone number and extension, as well as their building location or classroom number so everyone can quickly get in touch or stop by to deliver a message. Consider also including a link to their class website or bio page on the school’s site to offer as much information as possible.

BetterCloud allows you to design a custom signature with the school’s logo and colors, then choose which profile information to populate for each user. Apply the signature to individual users or Org. Units–you can tailor it to faculty, staff, or administration, for example.

Have any other use cases specific to your Google Apps for Education domain? Ask a question or raise a feature request in our BetterCloud User Community, and learn from the thousands of other schools using BetterCloud.