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OneNote Staff Notebooks for Education are OneNote notebooks that you can create and share with other staff members! Each Staff Notebook includes three different content spaces:

  • Collaboration Space – A space where the staff leader and staff members of the group can share, organize, and collaborate.

  • Content Library – This is where staff leaders can share course materials with staff members. Only staff leaders can add and edit the materials in this space. For members, this content is read-only.

  • Staff Member Notebooks – These are private notebooks that are shared between the staff leader and each individual staff member. Staff leaders can access these notebooks at any time, but staff members cannot see other staff members’ notebooks.

Staff notebook scenarios in education

Staff leaders and members who teach the same grade may share notebooks to collaborate on lesson materials or coordinate testing schedules. They also may share notebooks if they belong to the same school, faculty, or department and want to distribute and access administrative materials collectively. Staff notebooks can even be used at the district-level for organization and communication initiatives. 

Because OneNote comes on all platforms and all devices, it's easier than ever to learn and collaborate anytime, anywhere, on any device. There are endless possibilities - share your great ideas of how to best use OneNote with @OneNoteEDU on Twitter!

We also have a short, free interactive course on the Microsoft Educator Community: OneNote Staff Notebook: Tools for Staff Collaboration.

Collaboration space

  • Staff meeting notes – Keep all of your meeting notes in one place and track meeting attendance and review minutes at a glance. Staff Meeting, Committee, Grade Level, Departmental, or Professional Learning Communities (PLC's). OneNote has tight integration with Outlook and Office, along with rich search capabilities so you'll never lose track of follow-ups.

  • Initiatives – Plan and organize school initiatives collaboratively, such as school improvement, and fundraisers.

  • "Tide Chart" for student highs and lows – Some schools have used this innovative and collaborative way to track students' learning progress over time.

  • Cross-grade lesson plan development – Some schools set up a Staff Notebook for a particular grade and organize school-wide lesson plans and curriculums. For example, a school might orchestrate lesson plans across five different 9th-grade math educators.

Content library

  • Policies and procedures – Keep important information (i.e., emails with key attachments, school policies, etc.) all in one place. And the best part is, OneNote is available on any device and platform - access your content anytime, anywhere!

  • Dates and deadlines – Links, sticky notes, calendars, deadlines, ToDos — there can be so much to keep track of! Put it all in one shared space where everyone can find it.

Private staff member notebook applications

  • Professional Development (PD) – Professional development/professional learning is an important aspect for every educator and faculty member. A great use of the private staff member notebook is to capture professional development plans and feedback and be able to 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's a much richer environment for classroom observations.

  • Lesson Plans and Feedback – A great way educators can gather lesson plan feedback is by putting the digital lesson plan in their 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, audio, or video. The rich page surface of OneNote allows a much more flexible way to gather and share feedback. If an educator is absent, the staff leader can print plans from here to give 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, an educator can easily send important emails into the private staff member notebook for later reference.

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) – Some schools have considered using private staff member notebooks to capture important IEP information for a student. This allows a private place for the staff member and staff leader to have a private place to communicate and collaborate.

Other uses for staff notebooks in education

  • Professional Learning Communities (PLC) – OneNote Staff Notebooks are a great tool for enabling Professional Learning Communities (PLC) in schools. Leaders of the PLC can quickly set up a notebook in which people can collaborate efficiently in real-time. Co-owners of the notebook can also easily be added, which allows 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.

What you'll need

  • SharePoint Online set up for your school as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription.

  • An organizational Microsoft 365 education faculty account for yourself (the leader).

  • Your staff members must have a Microsoft 365 education faculty account.

  • To get started, follow the steps below to create a Staff Notebook with the OneNote Staff Notebook app.

Open the OneNote Staff Notebook app

Find your Staff Notebooks

Create a staff notebook

Create a Staff Notebook in OneNote

(Optional) Add another co-owner to your staff

Add or remove co-owners in Staff Notebook for OneNote

Add your staff members to your staff notebook

Add or remove staff members in Staff Notebook for OneNote

Start each staff notebook with sections

  1. Keep the boxes checked next to the default sections that you would like created in each staff's notebook.

    Design private spaces

  2. Select Add more to add additional sections in each staff member's notebook.

  3. Select Next when finished.

    You can add, remove, and delete sections directly in your staffs' notebooks after the staff notebook is created.

Finalize your staff notebook

  1. Select Staff leader's notebook and Staff member's notebook to verify how the sub-notebooks and sections will be created for staff members.

  2. Select  Inline b Back Arrow to go back to add or remove sections. When you're ready, select Create to create your staff notebook.

    preview your notebook.

  3. Select the notebook name link (in this example, it's Teachers -6th) to open your notebook in OneNote. In addition to an email automatically being sent out, you have the option of copying the link to send in mail or to keep for your records. You can retrieve this link later in OneNote 2013 by right-clicking the notebook in the notebook list, then selecting Copy Link to Notebook.

    The same link is used by everyone to access the staff notebook; if you make notebooks for several staff teams, each link will be different.

    Now you're done.

    Tip: You may wish to add content by placing it in the Content Library before inviting your staff to open the Staff Notebook. Keep a copy of the link in your records while you prepare the notebook. Share the link with the staff when ready.

Get links to any staff notebook you have

Share a link to a Staff Notebook

How can my staff find a link to a staff notebook?

Find your Staff Notebooks

Managing Staff Notebooks

To manage other capabilities for your Staff Notebooks, select Manage notebooks.

Screenshot of the Notebook Lists icon.

This displays a page that shows Staff Notebooks you've created, as well as information for customizing each one.

Options include:

  • Renaming staff sections — To rename any staff sections, select the little pencil icon, then type the new name of the section. Be sure to select Save after renaming staff sections.

  • Adding staff sections — To distribute a new section to all staff members, select Add section. Be sure to select Save after adding student sections.

  • Locking the Collaboration Space — Enabling this option changes the Collaboration Space to read-only (or lockdown) to prevent any staff members from editing. You can toggle the switch from locked to unlocked at any time.

  • Opening the Staff Notebook — Select Open to open the Staff Notebook.

  • Sharing a link to the Staff Notebook — To send a link to the Staff Notebook to your staff, select and copy the text in the Link box, and then paste it into an email.

Learn More

Create Staff Notebook

Find Staff Notebook

Share Staff Notebook URL

Add or remove staff from Staff Notebook

Add or remove co-owners from Staff Notebook

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