By Ramiro Zuniga, Ed.D.
(Part 2 of 2)
As I discussed in Part 1, the 2014-2015 year-end has long since figuratively arrived for those who work in the IT Department. This being the case, the IT Department has already started the process of Next Year Scheduling, as I discussed in Part 1. In Part 2 of this two part series on IT Year-End, I will discuss two other processes; Student Rollover and Next Year Configurations. For the sake of brevity, I will offer an abbreviated explanation of the processes.
The Student Rollover is the process of preparing student registration records for the next school year within the Student Information System (SIS). When done correctly, this process can actually save countless hours of data entry by campus personnel.
The first part of this process is identifying whether students will be promoted to the next grade level or be retained in the same grade. IT personnel can assist with this process by running a process often called a mass update. In short, a mass update is an automated way by which to update multiple records without the need for data entry. IT personnel can mass update all students so that they are “rolled over” to the proper grade level. Campus personnel can then follow up and correct the records of those students who have been retained.
In certain situations, a student may be moving from one campus to another in the subsequent year. For example, students may have been promoted from a junior high school to a high school campus or may have already informed their current campus that they will move during the summer and therefore will be enrolled at a different campus the following year. IT personnel can mass update all student records to the expected campus based on current grade levels or make the necessary corrections.
Other student information can be mass updated in much the same fashion through the rollover process. Students who have graduated can be inactivated and coded with graduation information. Entry dates for the subsequent year can be established for students who were enrolled on the last day of the current school year.
As with any process, consideration for the timing of each process must be given. The year-end processes begin in late spring and go through summer.
And finally, IT personnel have to ensure that the SIS is ready to be used by all campus personnel.
This process, Next Year Configurations, is the most difficult part of the year-end process. Calendars have to be set for the next year so that attendance can be taken during the following year. Student and teacher schedule information need to accessible as well. Information that is not relevant for the upcoming school year must be deleted. Access must be provided to district and campus personnel accordingly.
There is no doubt that the IT Department is an integral part in preparing for the subsequent school year. Even given the brevity of this post, it is easy to see how the IT Department can truly save many hours of data entry by campus personnel.
Keep in mind that the IT Department also has to assist in the preparation of other software systems, such as those utilized by the Child Nutrition Department, Special Education Department, school libraries, etc. Often, student data has to be exported from the SIS and imported into the software programs used by these departments and personnel.
Perhaps someone will consider sending the IT Department a tray of chocolate chip cookies as a thank you.