From classroom to school–introducing OneNote Staff Notebook for education

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A lot has changed since the beginning of this school year for schools and districts using OneNote. The release of OneNote Class Notebooks has customers like Kirk Wheeler, Head of School at St. Thomas School, saying it has brought about, “The most significant and organic change process ever in the school. Seamless and keeps up with teachers.”

We received feedback from educators about how to make OneNote Class Notebook better for their teaching. We incorporated it almost immediately into the tool, making it available in new languages and markets worldwide and providing training resources and example lesson plans educators needed to get started with OneNote in their classrooms with and Bing in the Classroom lesson plans in OneNote. The excitement for OneNote Class Notebooks has been amazing and we are seeing quite the momentum since launch in October 2014. Teachers have created three times as many OneNote Class Notebooks on Office 365 in the last month than the previous months combined since launch—resulting in more than triple the number of students using OneNote in their classrooms this semester.

Taking OneNote notebooks to the school

In our efforts to reach educators with OneNote Class Notebooks, we have spoken with many school or district leaders (e.g. principals, superintendents, department heads) who see the value of similar organization and collaboration tools for their own administrative needs:

“As a school leader my work is dynamic and varied. OneNote provides the place to bring everything together and helps me focus and prioritize when things are really busy.” —Amanda Prosser, assistant principal at the Silverton Primary School in Australia

That is why, today, we are excited to announce the release of OneNote Staff Notebook for Education to cultivate and manage educator collaboration at the district and school level. Now, an entire school or district can enjoy the benefits of OneNote’s organizational efficiency:

Staff notebooks ingraphic

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Customers are already seeing the potential to build on their use of OneNote with this new tool:

“In Manteca Unified School District, our leadership team meetings are held primarily using OneNote as the platform…Our site administration and staff will embrace the Staff Notebooks for Education due to the myriad of opportunities it will present for collaboration, management, and content areas exclusively meant for them.” —Jason Messer, superintendent for the Manteca Unified School District in California

OneNote Staff Notebook, like OneNote Class Notebook, is an app for Office 365 that lets an education staff leader quickly set up a personal workspace for every staff member or teacher, a content library for shared information and a collaboration space for everyone to collaborate—all within one powerful notebook. With a Staff Notebook, administration and staff can save time, become more organized and collaborate more effectively.  Because OneNote is free and on every platform and every device, you can access your Staff Notebook from anywhere.  Staff leaders might include a principal, superintendent, head of school, administrator, faculty head, department head, or a leader of a professional learning community (PLC). If you fall into these roles and have Office 365 Education, you can get started with Staff Notebooks today.

Get started with Staff Notebook

Want to get started with using Staff Notebooks at your department, school or district? This interactive guide walks you through how to use it as staff leader with your staff members:

For the best experience, we recommend placing this interactive guide in full screen mode.
You can also view this content here and more interactive guides on

Here are just a few of the ways you can use your Staff Notebook:

Collaboration space

  • Staff meetings—For committee, grade level, departmental or PLC, OneNote has tight integration with Outlook and Office, along with rich search capabilities so you’ll never lose track of follow-ups.
  • Initiatives—Plan out school initiatives collaboratively and keep things organized such as school improvements and fundraisers.
  • Tide chart for student highs and lows—Some schools have used this innovative and collaborative way to track student highs and lows during school over time.
  • Cross-grade lesson plan development—Some schools set up a Staff Notebook for a particular grade and do school-wide lesson plan and curriculum development.  For example, 9th grade math lesson plan across 10 teachers to develop and share.

Content Library

  • Policies and procedures—Keep important information like key emails with attachments, school policies and other things all in one place.  Since OneNote is available on all devices and platforms, you can access it anytime, anywhere and even offline.
  • Dates and deadlines—Links, sticky notes, calendars, deadlines, to-dos—you can put all of it in one shared space that everyone can always find.

Private staff member notebooks

  • Professional development—Professional development/professional learning is an important aspect for every teacher and faculty member. A great use of the private staff member notebook is to capture professional development plans and feedback, and then share and gather feedback from the staff leader.
  • Classroom observations—Modern classroom observations can all be kept in a private staff member notebook. Take photos with your OneNote mobile app (any device) and insert directly into the staff member notebook. Record audio with your phone during the observation, or use digital ink to capture handwriting. With the OneNote flexible page surface, there is a much richer environment for classroom observations.
  • Lesson plans and feedback—A great way to gather lesson plan feedback is for a teacher to put the digital lesson plan in his/her private staff notebook. The staff leader can easily give feedback in real-time or while offline, and can use any form of feedback including text, picture, ink, audio or even video. The rich page surface of OneNote allows a much more flexible way to gather and share feedback. If a teacher is absent, the staff leader can have plans can be printed off from here for the substitute.
  • Evaluation—Staff leaders can capture and share private feedback and evaluation information in the staff member notebook.
  • Parent communication—Using the Outlook “Send to OneNote” feature, a teacher can easily send important emails into the private staff member notebook for later reference.

Other uses for Staff Notebooks in education

  • Professional Learning Community (PLC)—OneNote Staff Notebooks are a great tool to enable PLC’s in schools. By using the simple setup, the staff leader of the PLC can quickly set up a notebook in which people can collaborate quickly and efficiently in real-time. Co-owners of the notebook can also easily be added, which enables the option for a principal, vice principal, or other school administrator to easily keep up with what’s happening in the notebook, as well as jump in to collaborate as well.

Thank you to all of the educators and administrators who have provided feedback on how to make OneNote a more valuable tool in education. We are looking forward to hearing how you are personally adopting OneNote as your platform for organization and collaboration. Share with us your stories and questions by emailing or in the comments below.

Next steps and resources

  1. Staff leaders and staff members—For an interactive tour of the Staff Notebook, go to: OneNoteEDUStaffGuide.
  2. Everyone—Visit to learn more about OneNote, including how to install it on all your devices.
  3. Everyone—Visit to experience interactive guides on how to use OneNote in education.
  4. IT Administrators—To learn how to install this app at your school or district, visit OneNoteEduStaffInstall.

For those staff leaders and managers out there who might not be in education, we have good news as well. We will be releasing OneNote Staff Notebook for broader application in business environment or other verticals in the next few months. We welcome your feedback in the comments on how you might use OneNote Staff Notebooks with your companies or teams.

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