Why Google?

As first announced on January 31, the Office of Information Technology is excited to announce that on April 4, Google will replace Zimbra as the District’s sole email and calendar system.

Why this spring?

The shift to virtual learning and remote work over the past two years has significantly increased the amount of email that District staff and students send and receive. The transition to Gmail and Google Calendar offers improved email performance and better protection against spam and phishing attempts. Currently, approximately 25% of District staff are already actively using Google for email and calendar. We look forward to a smooth transition for everyone else this spring.

What do I need to do?

There is no action required on your part. Your @philasd.org email address will NOT change.

For active Zimbra users:
All email, folder organization, calendar, and contacts information will be migrated for you. Zimbra users will transition to Google for Gmail and Calendar when we make the full transition this spring.

For active Gmail users:
Any email that remains in your Zimbra account will be migrated for you and placed into a designated label in your Gmail mailbox.

Thank you for your partnership and understanding during this transition. The move to Google, and the resulting increased efficiency and security, will enable all of us to better serve Philadelphia students and families.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I access Gmail and/or Google Calendar?

Beginning April 4:

To access Gmail, sign into the Employee Portal (philasd.org/login) and select the Google Mail tile.

To access Google Calendar, sign into the Employee Portal (philasd.org/login) and select the Google Calendar tile.

Is my @philasd.org email address changing?

No. Your @philasd.org email address will remain the same. You will use Gmail and Google Calendar to access email and calendar instead of Zimbra.

I already use Gmail and Google Calendar. What should I expect?

For District staff already using Gmail, email will be the only thing migrated from Zimbra. Zimbra Calendar, Contacts, etc., will not be migrated.

Any email you have in your Zimbra account will be migrated to Gmail under a label called “Zimbra – Migrated Email.” You should see this label at or near the bottom of any existing labels you have in Gmail.

What do I need to do to make sure my mail/calendar/contacts are migrated to Google?

There is nothing you need to do. Your account will automatically be moved from Zimbra to Google.

Will my Zimbra email folder structure move to Google?

Yes! Your existing email folder structure, and the mail in those, will be imported into Gmail as Labels.

  • Certain folder titles will NOT migrate over as labels. These include labels that Google already uses for sorting and filtering purposes (i.e., read, important, star). If you have a folder with one of these names, go back into Zimbra and rename the folder (i.e., StarTest) and send an email to googlehelp@philasd.org. The folder will be migrated over during the next 3-5 days.
  • Filters configured in Zimbra will NOT be moved to Gmail. You can use this stepper or video to create new filters in Gmail.

What will I be able to do in Zimbra after the District migrates to Gmail?

Zimbra will be available in read-only form until June 30, 2022. You will be able to look at your old emails, calendar, and briefcase. You will not receive any new emails or be able to create or reply to old emails.

My team and I use a shared email address for collaboration. How will that work in Google?

Most SDP distribution lists are transitioning to Google Groups. For information about Google Groups, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), steppers, and virtual support hours, visit the Google Groups support page.

We have a school distribution list/list serve. How will that change?

School distribution lists will continue to be populated nightly with all staff employed at the school location and additions managed by the principal via Role Access Delegate (RAD). Staff will be able to see that they are a member of their school’s list in Google Groups.

Additionally, when sharing Google Drive materials (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.), you will be able to share with the list email address to grant access to everyone on the list instead of sharing the document to each person individually.

For example: to share a presentation with your school staff, you would share the document with sch-school-list@philasd.org.

How do I find/log into my email?

To access your email in Gmail, sign into the Employee Portal (philasd.org/login) and select the Google Mail tile.

Once we are migrated to Gmail on April 4, 2022, can I send emails in Zimbra?

No, you will not be able to send out any emails from Zimbra after we migrate to Gmail. Zimbra will be read-only until June 30, 2022.

How can I add Gmail to my phone? Do I need to remove Zimbra?

Gmail can be added to your phone’s existing email app or by downloading the Gmail app from your phone’s app store. If you already have configured Zimbra, you will need to remove the configuration and add a new account.  See the stepper for getting District email on a mobile device for more information.

Will my Zimbra email folder structure move to Google?

Yes! Your existing email folder structure, and the mail in those, will be imported into Gmail as Labels.

  • Certain folder titles will NOT migrate over as labels. These include labels that Google already uses for sorting and filtering purposes (i.e., read, important, star). If you have a folder with one of these names, go back into Zimbra and rename the folder (i.e., StarTest) and send an email to googlehelp@philasd.org. The folder will be migrated over during the next 3-5 days.
  • Filters configured in Zimbra will NOT be moved to Gmail. You can use this stepper or video to create new filters in Gmail.

In Zimbra, I have mail go into specific folders. Will that work in Google?

Filters in Zimbra will not transfer to Gmail. It will be necessary to set up new filters to assign labels in Gmail. Refer to the creating a filter stepper for more information.

I currently use Outlook for email. Will I be able to configure Outlook to use Gmail instead of Zimbra?

No, with the transition to Gmail, Outlook will no longer be a District-supported email client.

Will Gmail have an SDP global address book? Will my SDP contacts auto-populate like they did in Zimbra?

Yes, a District-wide directory will be available beginning April 4.

What information will SDP staff and students see when they hover over my email address?

Similar to Zimbra, your name, email address, school/office name, job title, District phone number, and District fax number will be available as part of your SDP Google account profile.

How do I find/log into my calendar?

To access your calendar, sign into the Employee Portal (philasd.org/login) and select the Google Calendar tile.

Do calendar shares in Zimbra carry over to Gmail?

For existing Google Calendar users, no share settings will migrate or change.

For new Google Calendar users, your Zimbra calendar shares will be migrated along with your calendar events/details. See the stepper on sharing calendars for more information.

How can I check the availability of other SDP employees?

View another SDP employee’s availability by typing their email address into the Meet with… text box on the left side of the calendar.  See the stepper on checking availability for more information.

How can I view a shared calendar?

Shared calendars are displayed under the Other Calendars section on the left side of the calendar. See the stepper for viewing shared calendars for more information.

How do I create an event/invite in Google Calendar?

To create a new event/invite, click Create in the upper left side of the screen. See the stepper on creating calendar events for more information.

Resources

Accessing your SDP Gmail Account
Stepper

Creating, Sending, and Scheduling Email
Stepper

Replying to Messages
Stepper

Creating Email Signatures
Stepper

Creating and Applying Mail Labels
Stepper

Creating Mail Filters
Stepper

Searching Messages
Stepper

Customize Your Inbox Layout
Stepper

Customize Gmail Notifications
Stepper

Attaching Files to Messages
Stepper

Vacation Responders
Stepper

Adding a Star to Mark an Email as Important
Stepper

Snooze Email to be Read at a Later Date
Stepper

Creating a Calendar Event From Gmail
Stepper

Archiving and Muting Messages
Stepper

Preview and Download Attachments
Stepper

Ensuring you are using your correct Google Account (Personal Vs. District Google Accounts)
Stepper

Sending and Receiving School District Email on Mobile Device (Stepper)

Creating a Calendar Event in Google Calendar
Stepper

Responding to Calendar Invites
Stepper

Managing Calendar Events
Stepper

Sharing and Accepting Calendars
Stepper

Creating Additional Calendars
Stepper

Deleting a Calendar
Stepper

Viewing Other Calendars
Stepper

For additional questions, please reach out to googlehelp@philasd.org.