Meridian's high school kids to get email accounts

District officials are looking to improve classroom communications.

broberts@idahostatesman.comJuly 30, 2013 

The new accounts start when students return to school in fall.

The good news: Teachers will have a quick way to get in touch with students about classroom assignments, updates and reminders.

The bad news: It will become increasingly difficult for students to suggest they never knew they were supposed to write that paper on Chapter 7 in the history textbook.

Student email accounts, which will be available through Meridian district's website, are possible because the district has installed Microsoft 365, a cloud-based email system that will allow a virtually unlimited number of email addresses districtwide. District officials say they were able to add the student accounts at no additional cost.

Neither Boise nor Nampa school districts offer similar programs in their high schools.

Emails between students and teachers aren't new. Instructors have tried to cobble together lists of student email accounts with various sites - Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo - and create a distribution group for delivery. But results were spotty, said Eric Exline, the Meridian district's spokesman.

The new student email addresses will be assigned to students combining their 10-digit number - part of the state's system for tracking students - and their names.

District officials say students will be able to link to the email accounts through their smartphones. Those without smartphones or computers would be able to use computer labs at the schools.

Parents who do not want their kids to have email accounts can opt out.

Another advantage of the system is it will allow students to submit some of their work as an attachment to an email.

All of which raises another question: Is the old standby, "The dog ate my homework," now obsolete?

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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