Main | Digital Directions: Reader Response »

E-Mail Headaches


On every school day, thousands of e-mails fly through school district cyberspace. While e-mail has become a routine and seemingly indispensable part of district operations, it can cause some real problems for teachers, administrators, and information-technology directors.

Breakdowns in security, inappropriate use by students and employees, and simply the sheer volume of electronic communications are some of the issues schools grapple with regularly.

What e-mail problems are your schools facing? And how are those problems being addressed?


This is one place where a public-private partnership makes a lot of sense. Banks and brokerage firms have had to meet heavy duty e-mail storage and retrieval requirements for several years. Educators can get up to speed much faster by learning from those who have been through these hoops.

For the banks this can be an easy contribution to public education and PR victory, and Community Reinvestment Act Credits (CRA) -- those are your sales points when you call the CEO/Chairman of a local bank, or the regional president of your national bank. (Same contribution and PR points for brokerage houses, but they don't have CRA compliance needs.)

Since the biggest benefit will probably come in litigation defense, it will be worth it to include the district's general counsel from day one of the project to make sure it has what will be needed in court and to avoid creating litigation by failing to have appropriate privacy safeguards. (If the district's lawyers are new to this, see what you can shake free from the financial institution's legal department or compliance officers.)

I hope trying this approach saves a few school districts a few hundred thousand in consulting fees just learning the basics about compliant e-mail storage and retrieval systems. They're not rocket science, but they're also not cheap and failure can be very, very expensive.

I think the biggest mistake in schools using macbooks all staff is that some employees are now overwhelmed with parents emailing from work every hour. Teachers may spend all their time returning emails to staff rather than teaching and answering parents who have trival questions. It is a positive way of contacting a parent but it can be a weapon for a parent too so you always must be careful and reread before you hit send.
Another major hinderance is the system is down quite often and if you are in the middle of a powerpoint or students are researching what is the back up plan.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Teacher: I think the biggest mistake in schools using macbooks all read more
  • Maria Thompson: This is one place where a public-private partnership makes a read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here