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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