The board announced on May 15, 2017 that WRDSB is making the move from WaterWorks (FirstClass) to Gmail. The move to Gmail – they’re calling it G Day – will happen on Monday, August 21, 2017, before the start of the new school year. This is the official date when Gmail will become the official email system for the Waterloo Region District School Board.

This move will include email, calendar and a number of other features. Moving email and calendar from WaterWorks to Gmail means we will gain the benefits of Google’s reliable, innovative apps and the ability to access email and calendars easily from any device.

WaterWorks will continue to be the primary communication tool until G Day, but starting June 1, 2017 they are enabling dual-delivery of email to both systems to allow staff to explore and start using Gmail. All email sent to WaterWorks will automatically be forwarded to your Gmail.

This first phase gives you the chance to explore and test Gmail, Google Calendar and contacts before we start using Gmail as our primary email system on G Day – August 21, 2017.

Important notes

•    On G Day, your new email address (first_last@wrdsb.ca) will come into effect. Schools should take this into consideration when preparing communications for the 2017-18 school year and ordering materials (e.g. attendance magnets).

•    For staff who are already using Gmail as their primary email service, please turn-off the email forwarding settings in WaterWorks. If these are not turned off, you will receive duplicate emails.

We will share information on the migration of WaterWorks email and our plan for replacing conferences in future updates.

As we build up to G-Day we will provide a range of supports to help you get comfortable with Gmail, Google Calendar and other tools. Over the past number of weeks approximately 175 staff have participated in a pilot project to build and test training and support material for the transition.

These supports will include:

•    Individual support
◦    When you log in to any Google application using your PAL, look for the question mark G Suite training icon to find help topics and tips right inside the app. Read how to activate the Google Training Extension. Example: If you are in Gmail, simply click the question mark icon and choose from a list of videos to help you with using the features of Gmail.
◦    Self-guided resources are available on the staff intranet.

•    School/Department support
◦    Staff members from each school are being trained by ITS staff throughout June to provide additional support at each location.
◦    In-school technicians will be available for all secondary schools. If needed, please ask your principal to contact your school’s designated technician.

•    Centralized support
◦    Staff can register for classroom training through PD Place.
◦    Principals can also request the support of our Digital Learning Support Teachers who can visit schools to provide hands-on advice and coaching.

•    Technical support
◦    The board is committed to making this a smooth transition and recognizes that you may have issues that you can’t resolve using the online tools. Please continue to submit requests for help through the ITS Help Desk by submitting a ticket using our online system.

The board is providing everyone with more information on the switch to Gmail, including FAQstraining resources and the opportunity to provide feedback, located on the staff intranet.  They recommend that you take a look at the articles on:

•    how to log in to the Chrome browser to personalize your experience with Gmail
•    tips on using G Suite in 7 easy steps

Please visit staff.wrdsb.ca/gday to stay up-to-date.

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