Portland Public Schools is giving every student an email account — as well as shortening all email addresses to “@pps.net” — as part of a big technology upgrade.
High school students will receive email accounts this winter; other students will follow. The switch to shorter email addresses
takes effect July 25, so only employees will be affected.
(Employees, take note: PPS will automatically forward emails sent to old addresses — indefinitely — so there’s no need to alert your contacts. But when you give your email address to a new contact, use the new address.)
Student email addresses will include the first letter of a first name, the entire last name and the last three student ID digits. So Jane Doe with student ID 123456 would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
More upgrades coming soon
Throughout the 2011-12 school year, PPS will roll out online tools to make it easier for teachers, students and parents to communicate and work together.
For students, that will mean access to advertisement-free, academic-focused email, along with online storage and online Microsoft Office.
“We want every student to have communication and collaboration tools that prepare them for the future,” says Jenna Mason-Steinberg, a PPS technology support manager.
Families with students in middle or high school will be able to view grades (including grades for individual assignments), class schedules, upcoming assignments and due dates. They will also be able to receive email alerts when students’ progress changes.
Select families have already used the parent services through the “EdBox Viewer
” pilot project. Starting this fall, these tools will be available to all middle and high school families.
The Microsoft services are part of the company’s free-for-education Live@edu software
. PPS expects the adoption will reduce costs by $100,000 annually.
‘Digital divide’ still an issue
Not all PPS families use the Internet, so school and district staff members will continue the practice of calling families and sending printed information home.
Schools and teachers will decide how they use email and Microsoft Office. Mason-Steinberg says the new services will not replace anything.
“Email and collaboration tools will simply be another option in the teacher tool belt,” she says. “We are confident that school administrators and teachers will use them in ways that make sense for their students.”