Students will use Gmail in 2010-2011.  Teachers' gmail accounts through the google server are not activated (you can send messages, but not receive--the responses will go to your Groupwise).  For the next year, this will be the case, as the district transitions teachers from Groupwise to Gmail.  As students use Gmail, they will be able to email anyone in the world (the system is not closed).  It will be our responsibility to make sure they use it appropriately.  We will set up triggers that can flag certain inappropriate words.  We must take time to teach students the difference between this account, their PROFESSIONAL email, and their PERSONAL email accounts.  The email with the suffix should be used for school-related communication.  If they desire to contact each other about personal issues (for example, to send an invitation to a birthday party), they should be trained to use one another's school email addresses to request the personal email addresses of other students.  Students should know that we have the ability to read all emails in this system.
It is easy to upload contacts from an Excel (CSV) file.  Once the files are created, teachers (and students) can upload everyone's contact information and send emails to everyone (or just people in particular groups that the user can set up.)  We need to discuss who will do this (each team?  a central person?)