Creating a Safe Digital Classroom

Palm Springs Unified School District in Palm Springs, California services more than 22,000 students enrolled in its 15 elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools. And when PSUSD decided to make email available to students, they knew they were facing some challenges.

According to Dr. Lee Ann Grafton, Educational Technology Specialist, “We knew we needed a system that would offer students a way to access email and communicate online that was filtered and monitored to meet the federal requirements. That was what led us to Gaggle. Thanks to Gaggle, students and teachers can access email, YouTube videos, and use the virtual classroom to communicate. These tools are straightforward and easy to manage.”

The district began implementation of Gaggle’s applications suite in the 2010/11 school year. The district did the basic administrator training and saw a 15% increase of the Gaggle accounts they’d acquired in use. “Usage is primarily driven by teacher interest and the expectations of the principal at each school. The Gaggle training for administrators was a half day and sufficient for the administrators to understand how to set up and manage the system.

In addition, Gaggle support personnel have always been available to provide service and answer questions. Their friendly and reliable service has been excellent and enables us to address all issues that arise quickly and efficiently, giving teacher’s confidence to use Gaggle as one of their teaching tools,” Grafton noted.

Another factor in the increased usage at Palm Springs is Gaggle Safety Management. In the 2012 school year, it was introduced as part of the standard Gaggle service, so Palm Springs began to experience the power of Gaggle Safety Management. “Gaggle Safety Management is the best! We recently had an incident in which a student was worried about another student who had talked about committing suicide. The student emailed her teacher about it. Gaggle Safety Management immediately picked up on the word ‘suicide’, escalated the contact, then called and emailed our administrators. We immediately contacted the principal and our student support personnel and within an hour, the situation was handled, with parents and students provided the support needed to navigate this delicate situation,” commented Grafton.

Beyond the assistance provided through Gaggle Safety Management and Gaggle’s customer-centric training team, Grafton is very pleased with the overall Gaggle experience. “The staff at Gaggle is always there for us. This is an awesome team! We truly value the excellent service they give to us. The online chat personnel are incredibly efficient, patient, helpful, pleasant, and they resolve questions immediately. If the issue needs resolution on Gaggle’s end (which is rare), Gaggle staff is on it, resolve it, and in communication until everything works.”