The first rule of school email is…
Set up an automatic forward to gmail. If you can set up a server level forward, so that the email will be forwarded directly, without having to come from your email address, even better.
Why would you want to do this you ask? I’m an email packrat. I don’t delete email, I search. When I search, I want to search all my messages, and I want to do it quickly. If you try to search a few thousand emails on most school clients, the client chokes. If you forward all your email to gmail, you get superfast searches.
Furthermore, the chances of you school’s email being as reliable as gmail (unless you are using gmail) is slim. Often, when the webclinet to my school’s email is down, gmail comes to the rescue and I’m still able to read incoming mails.
But the real power is in what you can do with gmail once it’s getting all your school emails. We have a copier that allows users to scan to a pdf and then send that to a local email address. When I do this, that email gets forwarded to my gmail, which is set up with a filter to act on messages from the copier, and it’s forwarded again to a special pdf gmail account I’ve set up. This allows me to scan all of my student work, and have it instantly be archived in a gmail account—it’s super sweet. And as soon as the fine folks at Attachments.me give me a demo account, I’ll be able to browse and search all the pdfs in that account with ease.
If you IT department allows it, you can even set up your gmail account to access your school account via POP, and you can basically use your gmail account as your mail client, which is a pretty big leap over most school email accounts.