Sorry it is taking me so long to get back to you. I have been transitioning jobs and moving across the country over the past couple weeks. Here are some of the lessons that I have learned with our Google apps rollout:
- It is important to read over the Google apps for education terms of service. With a good understanding of these terms of service you may see the need to communicate with parents in a transparent and positive manner. Since your student are over 13, you shouldn't need their permission, but you may want it anyway.
- You will also want to make sure that you're responsible use/acceptable use policies are up to date. Make sure these policies do NOT promise any right to privacy.
- Other policies that are important to have prepared are Social Media Policies for students and employees, discipline policies/procedures, and bullying policies/procedures.
- Have a team or panel discuss which apps you should turn on/off (examples: Blogger, Youtube, Google+, Hangouts, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc...)
- Decide if you are going to manage GAFE with your district network (Active Directory is recommended)
- Use the network to define your OU's inside GAFE
- If you are going to use GAFE with students and teachers (which I highly recommend) create one domain for teachers and a subdomain for students. This will keep student and teacher email addresses distinct and separate.
- Setup email filtering. I found a list of about 50 profane terms and added it to the system. I setup each campus to route filtered emails directly to the entire administration team for each campus, and myself. This allowed me to continue to adapt the filtering list for several weeks. I found that most of our students misspelled their profanity
- Create a full communication plan with information going out to parents in phone calls, letters, websites, and any social media sites the district/campus own.
- Create as many videos for information and instructions as possible. (Get Media Coordinators, Librarians, and Technology Facilitators involved as much as possible.
- Offer incentives for stakeholders to get training and pass the Google Apps certification exams (nice addition, but not necessary).
If you are adding Chromebooks as well, this list gets even longer as there are many more settings and policies to consider.
I hope that helps enough to get you started.