Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

Written by Corey Tutewiler
on April 12, 2017

As part of a G Suite for Education release earlier this year, Google introduced Graduation for G Suite, an easy way for students to migrate content to an external, personal account, in order to save all the contents they create or share.

Ever since personalized email and online learning tools were introduced to the K-12 classroom, schools and districts have been faced with the question of how to handle digital content for graduating seniors.

Historically, there are three main approaches that schools and districts take to manage this period of transition for graduating seniors:

Some simply deactivate student accounts at the beginning of the following school term. This is a conservative approach that minimizes account management for administrators and reduces the possibility of liability for the users who have access to those accounts. The negative consequence is the near inevitability of students losing access to crucial documents for college, work or other important matters.

Some communicate to students that access will be granted indefinitely. A positive here is that students have ongoing access to content within their accounts, and, in some cases, can even continue sending email communications, in order to ensure they can correspond with organizations and universities about higher education, grant opportunities and loan opportunities. Unfortunately, whether or not this decision presents a liability for schools and districts is a difficult question that requires a conversation with legal counsel.

Some opt for a middle ground and give students access to accounts for a predetermined period of time. This option provides students with the ability to access their K-12 content for the years during which the content will be most relevant. After an established period of time, the account is suspended or deleted in the G Suite Admin Console.

Google’s Graduation for G Suite can work well for any of these options. Students who are notified that they have a few weeks until their account is deleted are afforded a simple means of migrating content to a personal Gmail account. Alternatively, students who keep their K-12 account will clearly need to eventually create a new account and have the ability to do so easily at their leisure.

The new feature leaves very little room for concern in itself. As for the question as to how your school or district handles digital content for graduating students, it’s a matter that’s best handled with your school or district legal counsel, so as to account for any nuances or special circumstances that apply to you.

Schools and districts especially concerned that graduated students will use their accounts inappropriately can rest assured that Safety Management for G Suite will identify and review any communications that former students send to your current student body. Also, Gaggle Safety Management can review files and communications for graduated seniors if you create a clear Organization Unit (OU) for them in Google and communicate your intentions to customer support or your account manager.

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