Every summer, the MCAS Service Center provides the student long compositions (what the students actually wrote!) as PDF files (grades 4, 7, and 10). However, these documents don’t always make it into the hands of teachers and administrators for analysis and review. Only administrators have access to the MCAS Service Center, and downloading the files and making them available to teachers in an organized way has not been easy. Loading these files into the Documents side tab of the student record in Aspen provides a history of a student’s writing, and makes the documents easily accessible to the educators who work with that student. Keep reading to see how you can load these files into your district’s Aspen database.
Hanover High School recently updated its graduation requirements to include a community service component. Starting this year, every high school student must log 10 hours of community service each year from grades 9 through 12 in order to graduate. As the school year progressed and students started submitting paper forms for their service hours we knew we needed something better than a spreadsheet to track the data. After some basic configuration, a few small customizations, and one workflow we were able to enter, view, and summarize the community service data all from Aspen. Keep reading to learn how we got all this up and and running.
In Plymouth, at the end of the year, our schools print all of the students’ report cards and then file them away as an official copy. There are times when this system gets a little messy and we were noticing some of the following issues:
- Because each school was responsible for printing these instead of one administrator, there was a possibility that the report cards were being printed at different times with different inputs
- All of these copies were stored in different locations (at each school)
- It was difficult for users to find these copies when needed
Of course you could run a report card for a previous school year and get the results right from Aspen. However, depending on the fields being displayed on the report card, some of the values may no longer be what they were (for example, homerooms and grade levels). We needed a better solution. Keep reading to see what we did.
Like most Aspen districts, we have several external systems that we regularly need to send files to for various student information. State reporting, messaging systems, assessment systems, and nutrition systems to name a few. The standard way to accomplish this in Aspen is:
- Create a job that executes the export to generate the data file
- Create a job that executes the SSH File Transfer Procedure to send that file
While this works, often times you are exporting multiple files to the same site at roughly the same time, and it would be much easier to export all the files and then send them all together with a single transfer job. For example, if you are using a messaging system to send absence notifications, you might have all your elementary schools sending at 9:00 am. Scheduling an export job for each elementary and a single SSH file transfer would be easier.
Is there anything more boring than the “gruntwork” of selecting individual records from the list view in Aspen so that you can “Show Selected?” Have you ever clicked 50 records and lost your work when you viewed a student detail page to make sure you selected the right record? A light bulb went off in my head the day it occurred to me that an Excel function could concatenate fields in a spreadsheet to create a SQL query from a list of any length. Since then, I have used this method to create queries for as few as 5 records, and as many as 4500, based on such elements as local/state ID, course IDs and conduct incident numbers. This has been particularly useful when troubleshooting state reports. To adjust the length of the query, all that is needed is to adjust the number of rows in the Excel sheet.
Secondary Details Pop-up — what in the world is that?
Beginning in version 5.0, Aspen unveiled the ability to put a customizable pop-up on list screens. In Hanover, we have utilized it in several places. Principals and secretaries access a template-based pop-up on the Student list, as seen here: