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What is Google Apps for Education?

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) provides a robust, low cost (actually free), cloud-based platform that is a good fit for achieving district teaching and learning goals. Google Apps for Education is an integrated communication and collaboration solution, hosted by Google and managed by the Ithaca City School District. GAFE will provide the ability for ICSD students, faculty and staff to communicate, store files, and collaborate in real time from school, work, or home, all within a secure online environment.


Why Chromebooks?

Chromebooks are an affordable alternative to laptops or tablets that allow students access to the Internet and the Google Apps suite. Over the past several years they have had tremendous adoption rates in K-12 education and have proven to be an effective instructional tool. In addition, Chromebooks are sustainable, easy to manage and low-cost.


How are these web-­based applications managed?

Each Chromebook we provide to students in grades 4-12 will be a managed device. Members of Ithaca City School District’s Technology Department will maintain devices through our Google Apps for Education account. As such, the school can pre­install web­ applications as well as block specific web ­applications from a centralized management console.


What devices can I connect to a Chromebook?

Chromebooks can connect to:

  • USB storage, mice and keyboards
  • External monitors and projectors
  • Headsets, microphones

Can the Chromebook be used anywhere at anytime?

Yes, if you have a WiFi signal to access the web all features of Chrome are available. There are a limited number of Google apps and Chrome web apps that work offline including Google Docs.

What about privacy?

Google Apps is governed by detailed privacy policy and security measures which we have reviewed. The ICSD is satisfied that these measures appropriately protect the privacy of its users of these tools. Under our Terms of Service Agreement, Google, like the ICSD, is obligated to comply with FERPA regulations. Additional information about GAFE security and privacy may be found here.  


What assurances has Google given the ICSD that they will not collect data on my student?

The ICSD has a signed an agreement with Google based on these education terms (please see Section 7). ICSD Google Apps for Education is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

How does Google Apps for Education and ICSD protect student privacy?

Google is a Student Privacy Pledge signatory. This pledge holds Google accountable to:
  • Not sell student information
  • Not behaviorally target advertising
  • Use data for authorized education purposes only
  • Not change privacy policies without notice and choice
  • Enforce strict limits on data retention
  • Support parental access to, and correction of errors in, their children’s information
  • Provide comprehensive security standards
  • Be transparent about collection and use of data.
There are NO ADS in Google Apps for Education.
Google Apps for Education services do not collect or use student data for advertising purposes or create advertising profiles.

Additional Information regarding Google Apps Privacy:

The following laws, regulations, and policies assist in protecting our students online:
  • Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
    The school is required by CIPA to have technology measures and policies in place that protect students from harmful materials including those that are obscene and pornographic. This means that student email is filtered. Mail containing harmful content from inappropriate sites will be blocked. -- CIPA -
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
    COPPA applies to commercial companies and limits their ability to collect personal information from children under 13. By default, Google advertising is turned off for Apps for Education users. No personal student information is collected for commercial purposes. This permission form allows the school to act as an agent for parents in the collection of information within the school context. The school’s use of student information is solely for educational purposes. -- COPPA -
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
    FERPA protects the privacy of student education records and gives parents rights to review student records. Under FERPA, schools may disclose directory information (name, phone, address, grade level, etc...) but parents may request that the school not disclose this information.
    • The school will not publish confidential academic records (grades, student ID #, etc...) for public viewing on the Internet.
    • The school may publish student work and photos for public viewing but will not publish student last names or other personally identifiable information.
    • Parents may request that photos, names and general directory information about their children not be published.
    • Parents have the right at any time to investigate the contents of their child’s email and Apps for Education files.
      -- FERPA -

Who has access to my child’s account?

The Google Apps Terms of Service agreement with the ICSD contractually ensures that our institution (students, faculty, and staff) is the sole owner of their data. Google will only access content stored on Apps when an administrator from the ICSD grants Google explicit permission to do so. One example would be to investigate inappropriate use. 


Do Chromebooks come with Internet Filtering Software?

Yes. Chromebooks are filtered both in and out of district on any network. ICSD uses GoGuardian to remain in compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act.


Is there antivirus built into it?

It is not necessary to have antivirus software on Chromebooks because there are no running programs for viruses to infect.


Battery life?

Chromebooks have a rated battery life of 6-8 hours. However, we do expect that students charge them each evening to ensure maximum performance during the school day.


Where can I submit other questions regarding this initiative?

Additional questions can be submitted using the following link: