Email Scams are Back

We’re seeing more scam emails pretending to be staff members. We saw the same thing earlier in the year. The scammers in this case are trying to trick people into buying gift cards. They change the display name on the email to look like it came from an actual employee.

  • Always be suspicious of emails asking for something unusual.
  • If you think it may be legitimate, reach out to the person through a known method.
  • Look at the sender’s address – the ones we’ve received so far have been Gmail accounts.
  • Mark any messages like this as spam/junk
  • The best defense is remaining vigilant – no technology can stop every scam.

Emailing Students & Parents in PowerSchool

PowerSchool now includes the ability to email students and/or parents through the gradebook. You can also copy their addresses to email separately through Outlook. A big thanks to Mr. Brinker and Ms. Warner for sharing this feature. The links below show how it works. Not all parents have an email in PowerSchool. All students should have one.

https://docs.powerschool.com/PTPH/20.11/grading/email-students-and-contacts

https://player.vimeo.com/video/463053739

Google Classroom Emails

Chrome Store LogoIf you use Google Classroom, then you may have noticed email sent to students by clicking the link within Classroom goes to the junk folder. This is because Google Classroom doesn’t follow proper email standards and opens its own message compose window. When this message is received by the student, it is flagged as spam since it claimed to be sent by our server but wasn’t.

We have a workaround for this in the form of two browser extensions. These extensions redirect the email request and open it in Outlook instead. This way the message will be recognized as legitimate and not sent to the junk folder.

You need to install the extension that corresponds to the version of Outlook you use. If you use the desktop app version of Outlook (preferable), you’ll want the extension called Gmail Link Fixer. If you use the web version of Outlook, you’ll want the Gmail-OWA extension. Both are available in the Chrome store and work on Firefox and possibly Edge as well.

The web version of Outlook doesn’t accept BCC addresses through the extension, so you’ll need to manually copy them from the To box into the BCC box. The desktop version doesn’t have this limitation.

Self-Service Password Reset

We are implementing the ability for staff to change and reset their passwords on your own. Changing your password is used when you know your password and want a different one. Resetting is used when you forget your password.

You can change your password by going to your account settings in the Office365 tools, or by using this link.

Before you can reset your password, you must register alternate contact information. This could be a cell phone number, non-school email, or app on your mobile device. Use this link to register your information.

If you forget your password after you register your alternate contact information, you can visit this link to reset it. You can also use the ‘can’t access your account’ link on the Office365 sign in page. It will ask you to confirm your identity through one of the methods you registered.

Communicating With Your Class

Some staff have noticed the class email groups in Outlook, so I’d like to share more about them.

There is a live sync between PowerSchool and Office365. This results in groups being created for each section registered. These are automatically maintained with all students on your roster. The initial goal of these groups was to allow you to email all students in your class.

They can do that and more.

When you post to the group, all members can see it. This makes it a great tool for class discussions & announcements. Group members are ‘subscribed’ to the group by default, so they get emails when new posts are made. Each group has its own email address. Messages sent to it are visible in the group. There is also a shared calendar in each group. Outlook has a very good calendar feature that you should check out if you haven’t already.

Here’s an introduction to using these groups

These groups are also tied to Microsoft Teams. If you log in, you should see teams created for each of your classes already. Teams is notable right now for being a video meeting tool like Zoom (but with fewer privacy concerns). You can hold a virtual meeting with some (or all) of your class, share files, add websites, and collaboratively take notes with OneNote. We already subscribe to Teams, so it’s features wont go away after the closure like other services will. We are also using it more for staff meetings and such. There are good apps for all platforms as well.

Teams really excels at professional groups, like PLCs, departments, grade level teams, etc.

Teams quick start guide

OneNote is a great tool as well. A great use is taking notes on a touch screen device and sharing them live with your class. It can do much more if you dig into it.

Here’s a quick glimpse of OneNote in action 

As we are asking (hoping?) that students check their email more now, it should be noted that they can download the Outlook app on their phone as well as the full version of Office365, including Outlook, for free (staff can do this too).

Email Migration Update

All staff Google accounts have been renamed to remove the ‘apps’ from the account name. This means that you should now log into any Google services using your @harpercreek.net address. You should also provide this address to anyone who wishes to share a Google Doc with you. Existing shares, and other Google services, should be unaffected.

All incoming email now goes to the Outlook inbox. This includes Google sharing notifications. Gmail inboxes are still accessible in case you need to retrieve old messages or contact. They will be phased out later in the year.

Email Icon

The student accounts will migrate next, once the new licensing is in place this summer.

Online Password Change Site

You now have the ability to change your network/email password on the web. Previously, the only was to do this was to be on campus at a computer. You can still do that, by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del on any district Windows computer. Now you can also go to https://password.harpercreek.net and change it there.

This doesn’t allow you to reset a forgotten password. It only allows you to change a password that you know already. This is something that should be done periodically anyway, so consider giving it a try. We’re also rolling out Two-factor authentication for email; stay tuned for more on that.

Email Migration Update – 8-10-18

Phase one of the email migration is underway. Once a mailbox has moved to the new server, the current link for web access to will no longer work. The new link is on the district web site. It is also noted below, along with instructions for setting up phones and tablets. If you are unable to access your email, open a helpdesk ticket and include an alternate method of reaching you.

The new URL for district email:
https://www.outlook.com/harpercreek.net

Instruction for adding email on your phone:
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/set-up-office-apps-and-email-on-a-mobile-device-7dabb6cb-0046-40b6-81fe-767e0b1f014f

When adding a phone, choose ‘Exchange’ if given the option.

Email Migration Update – 8-1-18

Phase one of the email migration project is underway. As of August 1st, approximately half of the mailboxes have been migrated. Once the remainder have migrated, we can initiate the cutover to the new server.

If you use the Outlook client, you should notice very little, if anything, different. It will also work from outside school.

If you use the web version, the URL will be changing. It will be updated on the district web site. Instructions will also be available to reconfigure your phone if you use it to check email.