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Quick Tips for Back to School Student Data Automation with SPS

July 31, 2018 | Keith Larson

Back to school spsWe are getting very close to the busiest time of year for anyone in education, whether that is K12 or Higher Ed. Staff will be starting to come back any day, and they want to know that everything is ready for the first day of school. The technology staff want to be sure that the automation they have put in place with SPS is going to do its job and everything will go smoothly as we watch our hard work pay off.

It will pay off, but it turns out there is a time when the data is ready for our automation to start, and it isn’t as early as you might think. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help with the anxiety related to making sure that everything is ready from an IT perspective.

 

The Roll-up

First, each hosting provider of every SiS has a process that they go through to promote all students to the next grade. Most everyone refers to this process as the “roll-up” which is when students are moved into the grade that they will be in for the upcoming school year and last years graduated seniors are officially purged from the SiS. Some may disappear sooner, like two weeks after graduation, but some districts have them active until the roll-up happens. If you didn’t see our blog post “To Delete or Not to Delete”, you read it here. 

Providers like SPS need to wait on the roll-up because we use the current year to calculate graduation year from the grade. This only matters if a district is using the graduation year in some way in their process. This could be a gradyr OU or the two-digit graduation year could be a part of the students' username/email address. If we have the wrong school year, we will calculate this wrong and potentially rename every single student. It is a relatively simple fix if this happens, but it is very easy to avoid.

Most providers like SPS and Clever ask that our automated processes are paused while we wait for the roll-up and new enrollment to happen. Even when the roll-up has been completed, we still might not be ready to access the data to start the school year and turn our automated process back on. For SiS applications where we have direct API access, we can start sooner than others because we only need student profile data. Our direct API access also allows us to offer a new feature where we can push the email address that we generate for a student back into the SiS so that other vendors can take advantage of it for other applications. You can read more about the new integration here.

 

If your using the Clever Integration

Those districts that are taking advantage of our Clever.com integration have a few other things to deal with to get the process started up again. The first issue is to be aware that the first sync with Clever after the roll-up will trigger alerts that too many things are changing at once.  That is primarily because every single student record is changing. You have to be aware and tell Clever that it is OK this time. Second, Clever will continue to throw an error until students are enrolled in their classes. Therefore it might be much closer to the start of the new school year before the criteria have been met for our Clever customers to turn everything back on.

When everything is ready, we do a simple preview of our process to verify that the student counts match what we expect (total student count and the number of new students that will be added). If this looks good, we go “live” and then put everything back on the normal schedule and back on auto-pilot. For many districts, it means running our process three times a day.  Once in the middle of the night to get yesterday’s changes made, another mid-morning and another mid-afternoon, making it so that a new student is setup and ready to go within two or three hours of being enrolled.

If you still haven't automated your student provisioning,

 

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