Hapara Delayed for 2014-15 School Year

We will not be deploying Hapara for the 2014-15 school year. Unexpected setup costs have delayed our implementation until the fall of the 2015-16 school year. Below is a bit more detail on why we made this decision.

The base cost of Hapara is $4 per student per year. So, that’s right around $20,000 annually. Once we got into the implementation details, it was looking like we would need to spend around $50,000-$60,000 to get it setup. With the opening of Prairie Hill, the new alternative HS at Kirkwood, and other physical plant projects around campus, we just could not find enough resources to cover this unexpected setup cost.

The reason the setup was so expensive is that for Hapara to work at its best, we need to have both the student and teacher/staff Google accounts within the same organizational domain. Right now, our students use accounts that belong to the “CCSDstudent.org” domain. Teachers and staff are using personal (consumer) Google accounts linked to their PrairiePride.org email address. Google does not allow us to rename the primary domain name (CCSDstudent.org). We kicked around a number of other creative ideas to create sub-domains with new names, etc…. but these were not feasible for a number of reason. If you want this level of detail, drop me a note and I’d be happy to share it.

The recommendation from both local and national consultants was to start with a “fresh” domain. And, while, the Google will provide us the new domain and accounts for free, the costs came in managing the migration of documents, email, etc… from the old to the new. Google does not provide any tools to move documents from one domain to another. Their recommended practice was to have all of our students manually (one at at time) download all of their content in Drive (docs, sheets, presentations, etc) to a computer and them manually (again – one at a time) upload them to the new domain. They also indicated students would need to manually, one at a time, change ownership of all of their Google Sites from the old domain to the new one. This was not a feasible way to proceed for 5,000 students.

So, we did some research to see what it would cost to have a consulting company help us migrate this content for our students automatically Our preliminary quotes from three vendors to do this was work was $15 per account. That’s around $80,000 when it’s all said and done! I did find two vendors who gave us aggressive educational volume pricing. These quotes came back between $15,000 to $25,000.

However, This was not the only cost, unfortunately. We also have some software that automatically creates Google accounts for all students (and local email accounts for all staff) when they are entered in Campus. This makes it possible for us to manage of 6,500 identities (usernames and passwords) with the staff we have. It’s a critical tool and one that we must have to make our systems work. Without this product, we would have to manually create all 5,000 student accounts (with passwords) and setup all of the staff accounts. It’s not feasible to do this manually.

This is a custom coded solution just for Prairie. I did it with a local consulting company when we first implemented it seven years ago. This local firm declined to take the job again for the revision. So, I looked at two other national competing vendors. These bids came back between $28,000 and $40,000.

So, when we took the least expensive bids for both the migration and the identity management update, that was right around $50,000 of unbudgeted expense. The really tough part is that due to the nature of the implementation, we can’t do a partial rollout. Without the migration services, students would have none of their saved documents unless they manually got them – not feasible. Without the identity manager, we would have the new domain, but no accounts in it. So, again, we really need to both things.

The one positive that I see coming out of this is that we now know exactly how this will work next summer. The other major benefit, which I’ve only implied so far, is that when we are done with this we will have all of our students and staff on the same Google domain. This will have a lot of significant benefits in terms of viewing and sharing sites, sharing calendars with students. This would also mean that Prairie would be creating/managing Google accounts for staff that would have a lot of benefits as well.

I am disappointed that we won’t be able to put Hapara in place for the upcoming school year. Working on this project was like pulling the string on a sweater – the more we dug into it, the more “unraveled” the project became. But, again, we now at least know what we need to do to put our selves in a position to be successful next year. As always, feel free to write me a note or post here if you have questions.

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