Tips for Starting the School Year With Google Workspace

As summer projects wind down and we prepare for the new academic year, it's time to transition from being “summer busy” to “school year busy.” This period often brings an influx of requests such as “I forgot my password” or “I need this right now.”

To help you smoothly navigate this busy season, here are five essential tips for Google Workspace Admins that will be useful not only now but throughout the entire school year. Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, these tips will ensure you're setting yourself, your staff, and your students up for success.

1. Simplify Annual Settings Rollover With a Grade Level Org Unit

If your school manually moves students from grade to grade within the admin console, creating a Grade and Graduation Year OU can streamline this process. Configure settings on the Grade OU while placing users into the Grad Year OU. Users in the Grad Year OU will inherit settings from the Grade OU, so each summer, simply move the Grad Year OU under the next Grade OU.

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One common concern is not doing settings by grade. A new school year brings new initiatives, new teachers, and new Google Workspace updates. Make sure you are future-ready!

For a more detailed explanation about Organization Unit Structure, see

Building a K12 Org. Unit Structure
Building a Higher Education Org. Unit Structure

2. Enable Inactive Device Notifications to Find Unused Chromebooks

Let’s get right to it and head to:

Admin Console > Devices > Chrome > Settings > Device Settings~ Inactive device notifications

Configure the setting to enable, select the number of days for inactive range, input how often you want to be notified, and at what email. This can be configured differently per OU.

This feature helps identify devices that are not used so they can be reassigned or marked as broken. Learn more here.

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3. Enable Alerts to Get Notified by Google When There Are Outages

The Google Workspace Status Dashboard helps monitor the status of Google Workspace services. Share it with your IT staff and possibly your faculty.

To proactively manage outages,

  1. Go to your Admin console, go to Rules.
  2. Find and click on the Apps outage alert.
  3. Click EDIT RULE and configure the alert appropriately.

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Now, you will receive an email from Google describing any issues and another when the issue is resolved. This provides clarity that it’s a Google issue, not your network.

Pro Tip: Create a Group with all IT staff and have the alert sent there. Your staff may notice the issue before the email alert, but this provides confirmation and notification when the issue is resolved.

4. Ensure Teachers Have Archived Last Year’s Google Classrooms

Check in with your instructional staff to see if teachers have been archiving old Google Classrooms. This prevents students from seeing a mix of old and new Class Cards and helps avoid bullying within old Classroom Streams. For help archiving classes in bulk, check out our Little SIS for Classroom tool or use GAM for command line solutions.

5. Leverage the Power of Reports

Reports can provide granular details on user activities. For example, if a teacher accidentally shares a student's IEP document with the wrong person, you can verify whether the incorrect recipient viewed, printed, edited, or downloaded the document.

Go to Reporting > Audit and investigation > Drive log events. Create an investigation where you can  search for the document by Title or Document ID to see all activity on that document.

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As you begin another year with Google Workspace, you'll likely encounter new challenges. However, Google provides many tools to help admins proactively address issues. We hope these tips help you navigate the console's various features and changes throughout the year.

For more tips and monthly insights, join our CDW Education Collaborative, where the CDW Amplified for Education team shares their favorite tips in Geek Speaks.

Cheers to a successful school year!

 

Document Version Date Description of Change
1.0 3/12/2024 Updated name and link to CDW Education Colab
1.1 7/9/2024 Rewrote to be current, replaced images, reverified

 

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