Use Case: Term Grades

With the release of Sprint E21 in late November, the option to access previous term final grades in the gradebook was made available in QuickSchools. In case you are wondering the benefits of this new feature, here are a few use cases you can reference as an example:

Compare Current Grade with Previous Term

The previous final grade can simply be added in to compare with the student’s current final grade.

In the example above, we see that the current Q2 grade has fallen compared to Q1.
Term Grades Averages

With the previous final grade added to the gradebook, custom formulas can now be created to calculate the student’s current semester average (previously only accessible via report card calculations).

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The A-Ha / Eureka Moment

So we had a chance to visit a few schools in Boston last week, as we made our way from Albany to Louisville for conferences. We don’t usually come on-site to meet with schools, seeing as QuickSchools is primarily an online service/product (to keep costs low). But when the opportunity presented itself, we were greatly appreciative of the hospitality provided to us.

First off, one consistent feedback we get from schools we spoke to is that the Live Chat support is super responsive. It’s there when you need it, all day every day. The support personnel are knowledgeable and understanding of the issues faced by users. Thank you for letting us know. It warms our hearts that we’re heading in the right direction when it comes to support. But I digress…

The other common theme that we’ve encountered, which is the topic of this article, has to do with the vastness of our product. There’s so much that the system can do, coupled with the fact that new improvements are being released on a regular basis, schools don’t necessarily realize the full potential of our product. 

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Interventions App

We have just released the new Interventions app in the QuickSchools app store. This app allows you to track notes and files related to academic interventions for students:

You can also use this app to track notes or details on student information that may be specific to your school such as Immigration/VISA information, logging parent communications, etc.

When adding interventions you can track start/end dates, notes, attachments and intervention type:

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New Admin & Principal Meetings

If you are a new principal or administrator using Quickschools for the first time, we’d like to invite you to schedule a free training session. In your account, you may have noticed the following announcement that was posted today:

This announcement will be available over the next 2 weeks. In order to schedule a meeting, click either the red “Request Form” button, or the “CLICK HERE” link, to complete the form:

We hope to get you up to speed with all of the available features in your account. We’d also like to take this opportunity to learn about the features you are interested in, as well as gather any feedback you may have about your current experiences with Quickschools.

Do note that a typical meeting can range between 20-40 minutes. If you are unavailable to meet, please click here for a helpful guide.

Teacher Attendance App

Attendance data management is not just about the students – it’s also for teachers. To create a holistic view of attendance statistics, attendance tracking extends to the entire ecosystem of the school. This means for your teachers too. 

The Teacher Attendance App essentially allows you to:

  • Take attendance for all your teachers in your school
  • Tabulates an attendance history so you can see a summary of attendance for the active semester
  • 3 types of attendance available (present, absent, tardy) 

Configuring Access

Here you can configure access for the Teacher Attendance  App depending on which users you want to be able to take attendance for the teachers. Only users who have been configured here will see this app appear on their menu. 

Taking Attendance

Just like taking attendance for students, the Teacher Attendance App works in a similar way. Just click the “Take Attendance” button and begin tracking your teachers. 

 Once the app is installed, it will automatically pull the teacher names and auto populate them into the app.

Just click on any of the 3 predefined options (present, absent, tardy) and the status will update from “not yet taken” to your selected option. 

Hit the “clear” button to change the status back to “not yet taken”. This is useful if you’ve accidentally pressed the wrong button or incorrectly marked attendance for any particular teacher. 

Viewing Attendance History 

So now that you’ve taken attendance, you can see the attendance summary per teacher for the active semester. This is a valuable snapshot for your school to identify teacher absenteeism for your active semester.

Your feedback is always valuable for us to serve you better. So do drop us a message to share your thoughts via the chat function or write to us at: support@quickschools.com! We hope this app comes in handy and look forward to hearing from you.

The results are in!

Thank you for participating in our little survey about renaming the Parent Messaging menu in QuickSchools. We really appreciate the feedback. Looks like more than half of our respondents are okay with the proposed name change to “Messaging”:

Survey Results for Renaming Parent Messaging

There were a few alternate naming suggestions like “Communications”, but the second most popular response is actually to keep the menu as-is. We’ll likely be posting other surveys to get feedback on other areas of our software. As always, if you have a suggestion for us, please let us know via email or chat.

It’s not just Parent Messaging

We started off QuickSchools building an awesome Student Information System (SIS) specifically for small schools. In the early days, our messaging system was primarily for Parents, although we quickly included functionality to broadcast messages to teachers and students as well. But 10 years later, the simplicity and flexibility of our product has allowed our customer base to expand to include a variety of schools, not just K12. We now have language schools, prep schools, colleges, trade schools, vocational schools, and more. So we’re going to change the module name from “Parent Messaging” to just “Messaging”. We think that makes a lot of sense.

But before we make this change, we thought we’d take one final poll. If you have access to the “Parent Messaging” module in your QuickSchools account, you should see a link to take a short survey:

Please do check that out. We’d love to hear your feedback. We’ll be removing the link in a couple of days.

Onboarding with an Expert

Most of our customers start on QuickSchools on their own with a little help from support from time to time.

But onboarding into a new school management software can be quite intimidating if not at least a little confusing at times. Even the most experienced school admins might find themselves frustrated if the new product do not have the same menus or options that they are used to in previous systems.

I just want to start taking attendance!! Where are my classes? How come my students are not showing up??

For schools which are on the small side and fairly new, starting on QuickSchools could not be any easier. You can add students, teachers and subjects on the fly and using the ready templates available, you’re firing on all cylinders on Minute 3 of your journey. 😉

However, if you are a school with a few hundred students and more and have established many core processes to manage your day-to-day operations, things might need a little bit more organization in order for you to experience QuickSchools more smoothly. We recognize there is a need for a more structured approach to the onboarding process and we want to help!

We have since established a highly collaborative process to onboarding for schools who need it. We work with you to discuss your objectives so that we can prioritize the areas that should come first, second and so on.

We will use a common checklist that contains all the documentation and the timeline that starts from kick off through training and going live. What is great about this approach is the clarity that it brings you and to the team at QuickSchools right from the start. Any questions are dealt with at the beginning and in a very timely fashion so that we are both always 2 steps ahead during the implementation phase.

The line items that we review look a little bit like this:

THE BIG CHECKLIST!!
School logo
Add Teachers/Staff
Will the school need to separate teachers and staff as a category?
Configure Settings
A lot goes on here once you start exploring options.
Enable Features
Always exciting to see the features come to life!
Configure Access
Never granular enough! 😉
Add Students/Parents
Will you be using student id numbers, naming convention, access? The list goes on…
Add Subjects
Have more than one section in a grade? We support that!
Add Enrollment (subject enrollment)
And here’s where it all comes together.
Additional Setup/Customizations
Report Cards
So many to choose from and of course, we customize to you!
Transcripts
Ditto for transcripts.
Scheduling
Easy straightforward scheduling for elementary right through complex master scheduling can be implemented in QuickSchools!
Advanced Config.
More configuration. This one is usually for the most complex of schools. We do have many obscure capabilities that we deliberately hide from the stock account as we think that will just confuse the bulk of users most unnecessarily.
Other (See Notes)
Historical Data/Additonal Imports
This is probably the most costly part of onboarding whereby we assign an engineer to work exclusively on your data sheets and importing those in.
Attendance
How do you like it? Daily? By period or subject? Any other rules. This is when we find out.
Gradebook
The centerpiece in many SIS is the gradebook. Ours have plenty to offer from grading scales edits through fancy formula customizations.
Fee Tracking
Another area that could and maybe should be a standalone software on its own!
Others
Yes, we have a place for the catch-all others. 🙂
Training
Session 1 – Admin
We recommend working with a team of 3-5 people who can then help all other users use QuickSchools more effectively.
Session 2 – Teachers
Here’s when we do a direct training for the rest of the team.
Project Management
Frequent, regular touch base
We work with the person in charge at the school to track the progress of how things are going on a weekly basis. Progress, issues are highlighted at these meetings.

In closing, if you think your school will require a more programmatic approach as you onboard with QuickSchools, let us know and we can craft a plan out for you. Prices start at a super affordable $2,000 for the base case.

Support for Alternate Bell Schedules

The QuickSchools Master Scheduler app now supports rotating schedules via the Alternate Bell Schedule function. This can be used for rotating schedules, A/B day schedules, test days, etc. 

The alternate bell schedule is used to tell the system when certain periods are offered. You can move periods around, update the times, uncheck the boxes to remove the period, etc.

In the example below there are two bell schedules one for “A Day” and one for “B Day”:

8.1 Blog 1

Once the schedule is copied over you can show a daily schedule or show a schedule based on the bell schedule:

8.1 Blog 2

Simplified Scheduling vs. Master Scheduler

For schools looking for a Scheduling module, QuickSchools actually offers 2 such modules. The first, called “Simplified Scheduling” has been included with our Athena Plan since our early years, and can also be added as an app for non-Athena subscribers. The second, called the “Master Scheduler”, is a more recent addition, and caters to more complex situations. Both offer a drag-and-drop interface, conflict tracking and personalized scheduled in PDF format for students and teachers. But their applications vary quite significantly.

Here is a rundown of the key differences between the two modules:

Simplified ScheduleMaster Scheduler
Mainly used for Elementary Schools where students know what subjects they’ll be taking.Mainly for High Schools where students will be requesting the subjects to take.
Consists of ONE new screen, where you can easily drag-and-drop subjects (or rather sections) based on existing subject offering.Consists of SEVERAL new screens, where you can drag-and-drop courses based on future course offerings, as well as assign sections to students based on course requests and available sections.
No additional modules needed.In addition to sections, supports courses, departments, subject areas and rooms.
Students cannot request courses. The school admin will simply enroll students directly into subjects.Supports ability to bulk create / assign Course Requests (Course Packets), as well as the ability for students to submit Course Requests via the Student Portal.
Essentially, a single process for assigning subjects to periods (students are assigned subjects by the school admin).A 6-step process for creating a schedule, with one step dedicated to setting up sections, and an additional step to assign students to sections based on their course requests.
Simple algorithm for assigning subjects to available slots. Most schools simply use the drag-and-drop function to build the schedule.Flexible algorithms for assigning sections based on Singletons, Doubletons, and Block Sections / Courses. Can also use drag-and-drop function to assign courses to teachers and periods, or use the built-in algorithm.
10-step undo capability while schedule is being edited.  Undo resets every time you reopen a schedule.Can create multiple save-points which can be accessed any time.
Supports multiple period structures, but each grade level can only have ONE period structure.Supports multiple alternate bell schedules, as well as calendar-based bell schedules.

If you’re looking for a scheduling module, please chat in with us. We’d be happy to discuss both options with you, and recommend the better module based on your specific scenario.