ValleyApps Announces Free Google Apps Migration For One School

Brent Finnegan -- May 7th, 2010

Harrisonburg-based tech company ValleyApps today announced a promotional program that offers Virginia schools a chance to win a free IT migration to Google Apps.

From the announcement released today:

We Want Google” gives all K-12 schools in Virginia a chance to apply for a free deployment of Google Apps. Today more than 7 million students are using Google Apps Education Edition, which enables faculty, staff and students to work together more effectively.

Mike Vanderpool started ValleyApps and Vision Studios, a web design firm, after teaching technology education at Harrisonburg High School for three years. He knew that part of his success would include giving back to the community and his partnership with Google seemed like a natural vehicle. He knows that school systems who make the transition to the cloud will save money, while at the same time increasing collaboration and communication. The Oregon Department of Education, for example, is expected to save $1.5 million per year in e-mail across the state, thanks to their switch to Google.

Although licenses for schools are already provided for free by Google, the migration from a school’s existing platform to Google Apps involves costs, sometimes totaling upwards of $15,000. With the news that funding for schools in Virginia was cut by over $600 million, Mike wanted to offer schools the chance to go Google at no cost and knew that the selected school would realize substantial cost savings over the long term.

The system that ValleyApps is offering will help students, teachers and parents be more involved in their school’s educational activities. ValleyApps will set up all the licenses with Google and will undertake the deployment, migration, and provide training to the selected school, all for free.

The program bears a resemblance to Google’s own high-speed connection contest this past winter, but Vanderpool writes that the idea goes back to his days teaching at Harrisonburg High School.

The idea has been in the works prior to Google launching the fiber initiative. In starting both Vision Studios and ValleyApps, the idea was to give back when we made it to “THAT” point.

My students were the ones that encouraged me to start my own businesses. I struggled with leaving the kids behind but knew it had to be done. They hold a special place in my heart and I want them to still have the best technology at their fingertips, even if I am gone.

Vanderpool, a JMU alum, said his company hopes to select a school by July 1, 2010.

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2 Responses to “ValleyApps Announces Free Google Apps Migration For One School”

  1. Jase Clamp says:

    This is excellent. I would encourage all schools, including JMU (hah) to migrate to Google Apps Mail. We offer this to all of our clients for free as part of our hosting. We used to bundle in-house email service with our hosting but then we just got overwhelmed with all of the spam. Our servers literally were drowning in spam. We did a LOT of research on Email solutions. We tried other companies like and Aside from the fact that Google Apps mail is free, they also have a hands-down better service. The webmail is incredible, full of all the features you need, fast. It’s amazing to me that a web page is faster than an Outlook software on my computer, but it is. We used Exchange in-house for years and I hated how slow it was. I hated how it took 5 minutes to search. It takes no time to search in Gmail. I’ve been using Google Apps Mail myself for 2-3 years now and I’ve never had any problems.

    One thing I’m not sure of though is if people are skeptical because it’s free? I wonder if they think it’s less value?

    I can sync my iphone contacts and calendaring because of Google Apps mail. It just has so many enterprise features that you’d pay an IT provider thousands to setup.

    This seems like a no-brainer to me. So kudos to the people providing this and the people switching!

    BTW, its really easy to host your own domain and set it up with Google Apps mail. It takes me 5 minutes to set it up for clients. I’ll write a blog post on it one day and maybe trackback here.

  2. Jase,

    Thank you for helping to promote Google Apps! As a certified Google partner we love to see adoption at every level. While google standard edition ( a limited free edition) is a good fit for most individuals, premier and education edition offer greater advantages in feature sets, suport, security, and archiving. Premier edition has much more value built in then standard edition and is more appropriate for businesses.

    One of the largest issues with deployment is change management, the actually planning and process of switching, to make it smooth and effective. Issues such as data migration, deployment method, training, security, firewall, retention, compliance, custom development, secure data connections,and disaster recovery are much more envolved than a simple install. We are certified to handle and satisfy these requirements. As Google partners we are qualified and trained from the source (GOOGLE) at Mountain View campus often, to make these advanced processes correctly and efficiently. We are exposed to the proper processes to deploy, migrate, train, and support Apps at a very high level. We have many more resources and tools available to us then the general public whom do free simple installs.

    This story is geared more towards these types of services that we are looking to donating to a school system. With most school systems having staff and students in the hundreds to thousands the “switch” needs to be managed by a certified partner as it is much more complicated than standard edition installs. Most importantly, let us not forget this is a story about giving the students the most recent in cloud technology, saving the school money, and giving back to our community. We have an obligation as businesses to donate to the future of our country. Immagine if we save a school 60K, that is two teacher they can hire!

    Again thank you for your support of Apps, I think we both agree, the Google Apps system ROCKS!


    Mike Vanderpool

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