Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Contacts in PowerTeacher

PowerSchool is going through a transition from static and limited contact fields to an unlimited contact model. The problem is many areas of PowerSchool still access the legacy contact fields. There are ways to connect new contact data to some of the legacy fields but it is awkward and perpetuates the use of the legacy fields. 

In the previous post two blank spreadsheet reports were developed and made available to PowerTeacher. Two additional reports have been added; Class Roster Contact 1 and Class Roster Contact 2. These reports list the students first and second custodial contacts respectively. The reports include the student name, contact name, relationship, email address, and phone number. Access these reports the same way as the Blank Spreadsheet reports in the previous post.

We have also added a Plug-in that makes all student contacts available in PowerTeacher Pro. You will see essentially the same information as the office staff.

To access individual student contact information:

  • Open PowerTeacher Pro
  • Select a Student
  • On the right side of  the drop down next to the students name select Contacts

This will display all of the contacts for the student as entered by the office

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Custom PowerTeacher Reports

During a recent PowerTeacher training a request was made to create a spreadsheet like class roster. This report has been created and published to PowerTeacher in two formats. Blank Spreadsheet - 32 will display up to 32 students and Blank Spreadsheet - 40 will handle up to 40 students.

To access these reports from PowerTeacher:

  • Select the printer icon for the class you want to print a spreadsheet roster

  • From the "Which report would you like to print?" drop down select the desired report.
  • Choose any additional options and click on the Submit button
  • The Reports Queue will be displayed
  • When the report is complete the View link will be displayed
  • Click on the View link to open a PDF of the report
                     
  • Right-click to print the report










The report has alternating shaded row with student names and blank columns for your use.

If there are other custom reports you would find useful submit a help desk ticket to get it on the report development list.

Friday, August 16, 2019

PowerTeacher Support

supportStarting a new school year is full of challenges and this year we have an abundance with the implementation of PowerSchool and it's supporting applications. This post is an effort to provide information and consolidate some resources so you can find the help you need quickly.

PowerSchool has several primary components:

  • PowerSchool (Admin) - The admin side of PowerSchool used by office staff and other to manage or access student data.
  • PowerTeacher - This is the Teacher portal into PowerSchool. It provides teacher access to their class rosters, student data, taking attendance, communications, and reports.
  • PowerTeacher Pro (PTP) - This is the PowerSchool grade book for tracking assignments, analyzing student progress, and posting final grades. PTP is launched from PowerTeacher.
  • Parent/Student Portal - This is where parents access student information and where students login to see their own data.


Use the following URL's to access the different components of PowerSchool. Note: you may not need access to all of the components.



Use your network credentials to access all areas of PowerSchool except the Parent Portal. Parents create their own username and password when they setup their portal account. However, students will use their network credentials to access the student portal.

Here are some resources that you may find useful:

The ISD has developed a series of short videos that you may find useful. See the following for links to the videos: Step-by-Step Guides

The following knowledge base article has an organized list of PowerSource videos that may also be useful: PowerTeacher Video Tutorials

We also put together a quick video on Taking Attendance and using School Messenger.

There is a resource page on our website that was developed for community support. You might find some of the information useful. Especially the PowerSchool and School Messenger Apps.

Please note, if you get an error when accessing the knowledge base just click on one of the tabs and then the link should work. You may need to logon to your Caledonia YouTube account to view the knowledge base videos.

I have a feeling PowerSchool will be an ongoing topic for Caledonia Technology News Articles.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Year End Technology Checkout, June 2019

Please complete the following list of items before checking out of your classroom for the summer:

  • Change your password.
    Visit http://password.calschools.org to change your password before you leave for the summer (Note, this link is only available inside the CCS network). This will ensure your password does not expire over the summer. See the following  knowledge base article for more information on changing your password:  https://kb.calschools.org/KnowledgebaseArticle50012.aspx.

    NOTE: DO NOT CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD ON YOUR MAC, IT WILL BREAK YOUR PASSWORD SYNC!
  • Turn off all computers (CPU), monitors, scanners and, projectors in your classroom. Do not unplug devices from their power or unplug your phone or network cables from the wall.
  • All school owned student device screens and keyboards should be cleaned by the last day of school with the screen wipes that were provided.
  • All labels applied to any device by the teacher or student MUST be removed and surfaces cleaned of any sticky residue that may be left behind.  (GooGone works well for this.)
  • All school owned student devices must be returned to their carts. Leave your carts in your classroom so they can be inventoried and receive maintenance.
    • Please attach keys and/or keycards to the cart.  Padlock combinations can be emailed to Amy Jordan; be sure to include your building name, room number and grade.
  • Please submit a work order through the Help Desk if:
    • Any of your Chromebooks are broken or need repair (place the Chromebook on top of the cart)
    • You have broken equipment or work to be completed in your classroom
    • You have unused technology equipment in your classroom that you would like removed
  • Make sure to process and clear pending voicemails from your phone. Consider setting your voicemail message so callers will know if and/or how you will monitoring and responding to voicemails. See https://kb.calschools.org/KnowledgebaseArticle50058.aspx
  • Consider setting the email Vacation Responder to inform people if and/or how you will be responding to school emails. See https://kb.calschools.org/KnowledgebaseArticle50036.aspx
If you do not want to take your laptop home for the summer do not leave it in your classroom. Turn it in to your main office and submit a help desk ticket to let us know. Make sure to put a note on it with your name, room number, and building. We will make sure it is charged and returned to you when you come back.

If you will be leaving the district and not returning for the 2019-20 school year and still have district issued equipment, email your building principal and return the equipment to your main office no later than June 7, 2019.  Principals, please contact Amy Jordan when you have received the equipment, it will need to be serviced before it is issued to another staff member.

If you will be changing buildings for next year you will need to have your laptop inventoried and serviced by the Technology Department. Please contact Amy Jordan to schedule an appointment with Technology Staff to complete the laptop service. There are building specific services that will need to be addressed.

You will want to periodically check your email throughout the summer to keep up with any news or changes. You can also visit http://www.calschools.org/technews  for up-to-date information on Technology Department projects and initiatives.




Have an awesome summer! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

PowerSchool

As you are probably aware, we will be starting the 2019-20 school year on a new Student Information System (SIS), PowerSchool. Teaching staff will technically be using PowerTeacher which provides a classroom view into PowerSchool. From PowerTeacher you can take attendance, access class lists and student demographics, run reports, and use the grade book.

Providing training that meets everyone's needs is going to be challenging. The following is a road map of how we will be supporting you during the transition to PowerTeacher. First, the current school year will be completed using Infinite Campus. Also, most of you have seen a brief preview of PowerTeacher at a recent staff meeting. The high school is scheduled for a preview in June.

Training
PowerSchool has a support website called PowerSource which has a training resource called PD+. The PD+ site features several hundred instructional videos on using PowerSchool and PowerTeacher. The videos vary in length from a few minutes to over an hour. You will need a separate account to access PowerSource.

Within the next day or two your PowerTeacher and PowerSource accounts will be activated. With PowerSource, you will receive an email prompting you to setup your PowerSource password. Once logged on to PowerSource you can view the following video which will give a brief demonstration on using PD+ and finding the videos you want.

https://support.powerschool.com/training/dl/main.action?course.id=225

To login to PowerTeacher go to: https://powerschool.calschools.org/teachers and use the same username and password you use to login to Infinite Campus. Please note, there will not be much to see until your classes are setup but it is important to make sure you can login.

You will have options for training. You can use PD+ videos to learn most of the PowerTeacher functionality. We will also offer hands on training sessions prior to the start of school. The number of sessions will depend upon interest. There will also be an ISD trainer available in each building for a day or two during the first few weeks of school to assist during planning times. Finally, we can schedule additional training throughout the school year on an as needed basis.

We are also working on focused training for staff with more specialized needs. However, regardless of your role PowerSource will have helpful how-to videos.

After you receive the PowerSource activation email setup your account and explore the available resources. Also make sure you can log on to PowerTeacher. If you need assistance please submit a help desk ticket at http://helpdesk.calschools.org.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Student Information System

After an in-depth evaluation by staff and administration the Board of Education has approved migrating our Student Information System (SIS) from Infinite Campus to PowerSchool. Some of the major factors in the decision to make the change include:
  • Local support and hosting from Kent ISD
  • Better integration with our special education and behavior management software
  • Open architecture that supports third party applications
  • Lower cost
While implementation planning is still in progress some considerations and a general timeline are outlined below:
  • We will complete the 2018-19 school year on Infinite Campus.
  • We will start the 2019-20 school year on PowerSchool.
  • The development of a training plan is in progress.
  • You will see a preview of the PowerSchool grade book and attendance at a staff meeting prior to the end of this school year.
  • Comprehensive online resources will be available before the end of this school year.
  • We will start the data migration in May and will run both systems in parallel during the month of June.
  • Trainers will be available in buildings after school starts to assist with grade book and attendance questions.
Migrating to a new student information system is no trivial task. It will affect almost everyone to varying degrees. However, we will have much better local support from KISD and the PowerSchool online resources are excellent. Information on demonstrations and access to online resources will be forthcoming.



Thursday, March 14, 2019

Managed Help Desk



To Begin Immediately After Spring Break

We are planning to restructure technology department operations to establish a full time staffed Help Desk. This position will answer the help desk phone, monitor emails to the help desk, and direct field resources to high priority issues when necessary.

Improved Support
We have a goal in the technology department to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our support efforts. It is key that all support requests are processed through our help desk system. Too many requests are currently made to technology department individuals by phone or email. This interrupts our workflow and skews the priority of what we are working on.

We will be encouraging people to make requests through the help desk, preferably with a help desk ticket. Eventually we will start funneling all phone calls and emails to the help desk for processing.

hours of operation monday through friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm


Phone: 7990
Email: helpdesk@calschools.org
Services
The help desk technician will be responsible for the following:
  • answer the help desk phone 
  • monitor the help desk email
  • assist walk-in staff
  • resolve some issues immediately like resetting a password or voicemail PIN
  • remotely connect to a computer to troubleshoot and resolve issues
  • open help desk tickets
  • monitor help desk tickets and direct field resources when necessary
  • develop documentation
  • develop PD resources
Please note, the help desk phone and email is not a substitute for help desk tickets. It is a method to address higher priority issues more quickly. It is expected that staff still submit a help desk ticket for all technical support issues.

Timeline
The timeline is for this to go live after spring break.

Contacts in PowerTeacher

PowerSchool is going through a transition from static and limited contact fields to an unlimited contact model. The problem is many areas of...