Turning PowerSchool’s Parent/Student Portal On and Off

It’s the simps: In the District, under Setup select District. On the next page, under District Information, select Miscellaneous. At the very bottom of the page, find the checkbox for Disable Student and Parent Portals/Mobile Apps and check/uncheck as appropriate.
If turning the portal off, be sure to edit the message just below the checkbox.

Get notification when Autocrat fails to run

We have several leave request forms that get processed by the Autocrat Add-on. Inevitably, Autocrat seems to get stuck and fails to run. This is an issue for us when staff are submitting forms expecting that they will be acted upon while our crack team of support staffers remain unaware that the requests have been submitted.

Whenever Autocrat runs, it adds a note logging successful completion into the cell in the last row, last column of this spreadsheet. If this cell is blank, Autocrat has failed to execute. So, I came up with this little script. It checks the form responses spreadsheet’s last row and column every 6 hours (adjustable). If that cell is empty, indicating an Autocrat failure, an email is sent to me which looks like this:

To use this yourself, click here for the script. Copy the code and paste it into a new script in your form’s spreadsheet (Tools > Script Editor). Then set a trigger for the script to run at your preferred time interval.

PowerSchool – Teams for Teachers, Students, Courses and Sections

PowerSource article 6185 walks the user through setting up Teams in PowerSchool. Of particular interest is the comment from Laura Cowart about mass assigning students to teams (below). Team lists with ID numbers are found with the “Teams” link on the left of the PowerScheduler page.

Select all the students for Team "A" by hand from a larger group, say 8th grade, then navigate to the main PowerSchduler page. Select Functions and choose Update Selections. 

This is a mass change utility so you'll want to take some care here. Set your table to Students and verify that you have the correct number of students (the number you just selected by hand) in your current selection of records. If you're not sure, click on the blue link List Students to see the students included in your current selection. Click on Scheduling Functions from the breadcrumb trail, then Update Selections again from the Functions menu to return to where you can update the records.

When you're ready to make the change, click on the blue link Modify Records and choose Sched_NextYearTeam from the dropdown menu. Set the value to the ID number of the team you want to populate (find the number by clicking on Teams, under Parameters, on the left of the main PowerScheduler page) and then click Modify Selected Records on the lower right.

To retrieve a list of students from a certain team, use a search like this on the Students page: Sched_NextYearTeam=2781.

Pre-filled Google Forms for verifying student/demographic information

Our school’s PowerSchool data is jacked. Student names that should be separated with first, middle and last names are all inconsistent and we don’t have one field for preferred or “English” name. Parent email addresses and phone numbers change over time and our data has not been updated regularly.

To address this, we will send a pre-populated Google Form out to parents asking them to verify and update the data in our system. Once we’ve received the updates, we’ll upload changes into PowerSchool.

To create the prepopulated forms, we first export our current student and parent information into a spreadsheet. Then we create a Google Form with questions that match up with the various fields from the export. In the Form Responses spreadsheet, we paste the information from our data export and add a custom script (evenBeterBuildUrls()) taken from this stackoverflow question from user Mogstad. The script is also posted here.

This script creates a new column in the Form Responses spreadsheet with a link to a prepopulated version of the form containing our current demographic information (student & parent names, email addresses, street addresses, phone numbers, etc.). The link to the prepopulated form then gets emailed to parents using a mail merge on that spreadsheet.

Parent responses get appended to the spreadsheet and I use a Conditional formatting rule to highlight information that has changed. Changes are pulled into another sheet which we massage a bit before uploading again to PowerSchool.

Once completed, we’ll have correct, current information necessary for communicating with our community. This process will be repeated each fall to ensure that we’re working with accurate, current data.