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Administrative Checklist for the New School Year 1-3

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Date:1/26/2015
Source: CRLLCCRLLC Technical Support (RJK)
Question

Is there a checklist of things to do as an administrator to ensure everything is ready for a new school year?

Answer
Yes! 
NOTE: The person following this checklist may need administrative rights or advanced rights provided by your MMS administrator for many of the following tasks.

This checklist is designed to address three parts of the MMS (Modular Management for Schools) Software suite.

  • Generations; aka, the “backend”, “the RDP “, “the office side”.

  • The Web Portals; which include: 1) the Administrative portal; 2) the Teacher portal; 3) the Staff portal; 4) the Parent portal; and 5) the Student portal.

  • Third-Party Add-On Applications.

    1. Scheduling is not covered in this document except for Database Configuration settings.

    2. Refer to Knowledge Base articles based on the super script next to each topic for additional information at the end of this document.

    3. State Reporting is not covered in this document. Most states with automated exports will need to update export dates.

GENERATIONS and 3RD PARTY APPLICATIONS:
A Checklist For the New Year: Items to Update and/or Reset
In the Admin menu:
User Accounts: Use this option to advance staff and teachers to the next school year. If using the portals it is usually recommended to do this after August 01.1, 2
View/Purge Login Log: Use this option to purge Portal log-in data from the previous year. Do this in either the Admin Portal or through MMS Generations.
Database Configuration:
 
It is important to note in past years it was common practice to enable/activate the new year by going to Admin >> Database Configuration >> Database.
 
User-added image

This is not recommended. Doing this creates some default tables in the new year such as the CFG (Database Configuration table), the OBJ (MMS User Defined Screens, Reports and Labels table, i.e. filters and saved settings) and others in the new year. If you want to load configuration defaults in the new year, select Yes. If you do not, select No.

SCHEDULING TAB - Schedule Rotation: Best practice is to turn off Schedule rotation while setting up sections. Turn it back on when ready to view student schedules.
SCHEDULING TAB - Track Entry/Exits: Best practice is to turn on Track Entry/Exits after a “grace period” is over where students can change schedules in the new year. Keep it off until then.

Track Entry/Exits is specific to a school year. Make a note to come back here to turn it on and set the date-range for the new school year. A course/section without an entry date will automatically use the start dates found in School Management Jobs >> Edit Scheduling Term Definitions.

SCHOOL YEAR LOCK tab: You can lock previous school years here and make them Read-Only.
SCHOOL YEAR MAINTENANCE (SYM):3

This operation will roll over the necessary tables from the previous year - there is an Auto-Select Default tables option which helps remove any guess-work involved in selecting the tables to transfer.

SYM will also roll over the existing Database Configuration and MMS User Defined Screens, Reports and Labels tables, which include: the current filters, all saved settings, the current number of days per week, the number of periods per day and the method of taking attendance

EDIT LOGGING: It is recommended that before you start your new school year that you clear the Log Table.

The log table contains all edits to the student tables for both MMS Generations and the Portals. It is “year specific”, meaning it can be turned on/off for each school year. The important thing to remember with this table is, if it is left unattended, it can get very large and adversely affect performance. In addition, leaving data in it from a year that has finished may not be necessary to keep. It is recommended that you setup a purge-schedule that works for you and your school’s activities when deciding how many months of data to retain at any one time, in any year.

DATA INTEGRITY (DI): Some of the functions contained within DI are school and year specific. Others are not. It is a good practice to run DI for each school (for multiple school databases) for the new year after scheduling has been completed. After that there may be an initial period of time when a lot of scheduling changes are made - rerun DI as each school completes these changes.

Running DI on a schedule can be setup as an automated function4 or choose to run it manually once every two to four weeks.

REBUILD INDEXES: Run before and after scheduling for the new year. Run to improve performance. There is no recommended schedule for running this function. Rebuild Indexes can be set to run automatically.4  

In the Biographical Menu:
ADD NEW STUDENTS: Use Biographical Jobs >> Edit Student Biographical Records.5
Update the students’ grade level, homeroom, homeroom teacher, advisor and team; Use Biographical Jobs >> Operations >> Mass Edit.6
Update students’ contact data if updated in the previous year, but not the new year:

NOTE: This is generally required. Many schools use SYM to roll students over into the new year prior to the end of the current school year - generally for scheduling purposes. This process may be done as early as January during the previous school year.

SYM transfers over existing contact data as of the date of the transfer, which includes contact name, addresses and phone numbers. By the time the new school year starts, the contact data in the new year may be out of date. Use the following operation to update that those records:

STEP 1: You will want to be in the school year that finished. If your default school year has been changed to the New Year, change your school year to the past year.  Then, go to Biographical Jobs >> Operations >> Compare and Update for the New Year.  This operation needs to be done in the old school year.

User-added image

STEP 2: Select the 2nd checkbox at the top: "For selected data fields, apply an edit from the current year to the target year(s)." The year selected below should be the new school year.

STEP 3: A student range is not necessary. Under Select Master Table Fields to Update, you will select all tables with a (CON) next to them, as shown in the image above. Use the Control key to select multiple fields. Select Process.
 

In the Attendance Menu:
The following are also available in the Staff Portal:
CREATE/ADD DATES TO THE CALENDAR.7
MASS ASSIGN ATTENDANCE ENTRIES: Enroll your students for attendance in the new school year.8
 
In the School Management Jobs Menu:
NOTE: In addition to editing your course catalog, course sections, adding/deleting teachers, there are several areas where dates need to be added or changed.  
Set dates in SCHEDULING TERM DEFINITIONS.
 
 The following functions are found under Operations:
SETUP PARENT/STUDENT PORTAL: In addition to turning on or off Parent/Student functions such as viewing schedules or grades, date ranges exist for the following:
Attendance: Edit date ranges if necessary.
Class Attendance: Edit date ranges if necessary.
Discipline: Edit date range if necessary.
Scheduling: There are no date ranges, however you can select the term to show for schedules or turn on/off the showing schedules all together.
Grade Reporting: Set the term to show for Report Cards and teacher notes. Also note that if you want to turn off the option for parents or students to see the schedules for the new school year, you will need to do that in here under the Gradebook tab as well.
CONFIGURE MMS/CLASSROLL AUTO-LINK: Change date range to the new school year. Under the Database Setup tab choose the New Year (you need to scroll to the right). Select Save and Exit.
CONFIGURE MMS/IEP WRITER AUTO-LINK: Change the school year and the date range under the Database Setup tab. Select Save and Exit.
CONFIGURE SCHEDULING E-MAIL NOTIFICATION AGENT:
Prior to the start of scheduling, Select View/Clear Scheduling E-Mail Notification Log. Select all the files listed. Select Delete. Exit.
After scheduling is completed, go to Configure Scheduling E-Mail Notification Agent setup. Change the starting/end date range to the New Year.
Change the school year (bottom right in grid).
Select Initialize at the upper right. Select Save and Exit.
CONFIGURE MMS/ONE CALL NOW AUTO-LINK: Change both the school year and the range of dates to those for the new school year under the Database Setup tab. Select Save and Exit.
AUTOMATED ADMIN UTILITY SETUP: You will need access to the MMSGE directory on your server.9
In the root directory of MMSGE open the file named ADMSETUP.EXE. Change the school year to the new year. Select Save Settings and Exit.
 
MMS Grade Book ADMIN PORTAL:
SITE ADMIN SETTINGS: These are saved from the previous year. Make edits if necessary.
GRADEBOOK SETUP: Not saved from the previous year.
Select Configure Gradebook. (Change the year to the previous year if you wish to see how it was setup in the previous year.) Setup all that apply.10 Select Save Settings. Select Overwrite - Yes.
Select Setup Marking Period Dates.11
GRADE AVERAGING: Setup grade averaging rules, availability and weighting. This includes enabling the Current Final Average (CFA).12
SKILLS SETUP: Set marking period dates. Overlapping the dates is not generally recommended as the skill grades from upcoming open bins may show up on Skill report card. Setup Subject Grade entry if desired.
Additional Information

Links to Knowledgebase Articles related to this document:

1 "How to setup and apply teacher user templates."
2 "Assigning long or short term subs to the Teacher Portal."
3 "Starting the New School Year."
4 "Configuring Administrative Utilities."
5 "How to add a Student."
6 "How to Load Student Homerooms."
7 "How to Add a Calendar".
8 "How to Mass Assign Entry Code."
9 "Configuring Administrative Utilities."
10 "Setting up Gradebook for the new year I - Override school year and configure MMS Gradebook."
11 "Setting up Gradebook for the New Year II - Set marking period dates."
12 "How to configure Grade averaging in the Admin Portal."

Applies to VersionsMMS Generations – All versions, MMS Grade Book - versions 4.0 and above
KeywordsAdministrative checklist, Admin setup, Starting the new school year, Database Configuration, User Accounts, 3rd Party application setup, new year.

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