Managing the configuration and publishing of your academic documents to parent and student portals can feel like a huge undertaking - have no fear, the quick-start guide is here! This guide is designed to get you up to speed with the new academic documents publishing process without breaking a sweat. You can also use this guide year-over-year as a quick refresher when it comes time to publish again. Read more about the Academic Documents homepage.
The big picture of publishing report cards falls into three stages that proceed from left to right and top to bottom on the Academic Documents homepage:
- Configuration (complete at least 4 weeks ahead of publishing)
- Publishing Prep (complete at least 2 weeks ahead of publishing, then review just prior to publishing)
Watch It in Action
To get up and running, watch this nine-minute video:
Stage 1: Configuration
Configuration can be completed and revisited at any time but we advise doing this at least 4 weeks prior to your first publishing date.
The configuration stage is all about ensuring that the correct academic document records exist and are properly set up. Academic document records are essentially header records that tell the system what document to render for which student(s) in a particular grading period/school year combination.
Preliminary Question: Do You Use Custom or School-Configurable Documents? Until very recently, all academic documents were customized by Veracross. We recently released the ability to create your own school-configured ones. Unless you have proactively switched to school-configurable, you are likely still using Veracross custom ones. If you use VC-configured ones (system type of "VC Custom"), you do not need to configure layouts, but if you do (system type of "School Configurable") then you need to configure layouts.
- Verify existing academic document records, if applicable. Find existing academic document header records for the current school year via the "Current Year Academic Documents" query on the Academic Documents homepage. If you use pre-existing custom documents, you will find that academic document records have been created on your behalf for the 20-21 school year, based on your existing document structure.
- Add additional academic document records, if applicable. Click the "Add New Academic Document" link on the Academic Documents homepage.
- Academic document records need to exist for each publishing context in order to facilitate the publishing of a document. Put simply, a publishing context is a combination of school year, grading period, and visual design. Depending on the needs of you school, you may have few or many academic document header records - the functionality is flexible and built to be scaleable. Read more about publishing contexts.
- Add/Edit Document Categories. Categories allow you to define the description and icon for the "buckets" your documents appear in when published to the portals (screenshot below). This step can be completed at any time but it may be helpful to get a full sense of all the academic document records you use before deciding what your categories should be.
Stage 2: Publishing Prep
Publishing Prep can be done at any time but we advise doing an initial pass at least 2 weeks prior to your publishing date and a secondary pass on your publishing date, prior to publishing.
The publishing prep stage is primarily about ensuring that students are associated with the correct academic document header records and that the documents generated as a result are correct.
- Define Category and Report Titles: Each academic document header record has a category designation and a report title. These values determine which "bucket" the document will show up in on the portal and what text is displayed for the link, respectively. The Sort Key value is used to determine the order of the links displayed in your category "buckets".
- Determine Whether or Not These Documents Should Display to Faculty: If you want a specific academic document to display to the students' teachers, toggle the "Include in Faculty Portal" value to YES on the Configuration tab of the Academic Document record. These teachers must also have the View Report Cards or View Progress Reports permission enabled on their class permission record.
- Define Default Publishing Status: Because document publishing can be controlled on a per-student basis for the parent and student portals independently, it is also now possible to control the visibility of the document placeholder links within the parent and student portals independently. Each academic document header record has a default publishing status for both the parent and student portals, which is used to determine if a non-clickable placeholder link displays (Unpublished) or if nothing is displayed (Not Published) when filters are committed.
- Configure Filters: Choosing which students an academic document applies to is now something that you can control using stackable, include/exclude filters. You can even filter based on school-defined groups! The "Academic Documents Missing Filters" link on the homepage will provide you with a count of academic document records without configured filters. These records should be reviewed, as missing filters often indicate that students have not yet been associated with the academic document record.
- BE AWARE: lists generated by filters are not dynamically refreshed - you must run the "Refresh Filters" action from the action menu in order to pull in students who now fit the filter(s) but did not when filters were last refreshed. For this reason, we advise refreshing filters and double-checking existing records as part of your publishing day activities.
- Review Records & Confirm Filters: The process of fine-tuning your filters may take some back and forth between the "Record Review" tab queries and the filters themselves and does not need to be completed in one sitting. Iterate as much or as little as you need to and know that you can use the "Delete Record Mismatches Based on Current Filters" action and the "Delete All Records" action to help reset any filter change artifacts you don't want to commit. The "Academic Documents With Pending Records" link on the homepage will provide you with a count of academic document records with pending records. These records should be reviewed, as pending records will need to committed before they are eligible for publishing. Once you're happy with the pending records listed in record review, run the "Confirm Filters" action to make them eligible for publishing.
- Review Student Data/Review Student Documents: Once you have committed your filters and defined which documents you want to publish and for which students, you can shift focus to verifying the data that will be displayed by the document using the homepage query links under the "Student Data Review" heading. The "Find Person Academic Document" query link allows you to see exactly how that underlying data will be displayed on the document before you clear it to be published, making document spot checks a breeze.
Stage 3: Publishing
Publishing is typically done on a designated day at a designated time but you now have the ability to differentiate your publishing strategy on a student-by-student basis and on a portal-by-portal basis, making it easy to selectively test publishing or do staged publishing as you see fit.
The publishing stage is all about getting your documents published to the parent and/or student portals in an effective and efficient way.
- Refresh & Confirm Filters: Prior to doing a final confirmation of filters and publishing, filters should be refreshed to ensure that all students matching the filters on the publishing day are included. Records that have not yet been verified/committed will be listed in the "Ready to Review" queries.
- Confirm Not Published: Records that should be completely hidden from the portals for any reason should be assigned the "Not Published" status and be excluded from batch publishing via query results.
- Confirm Unpublished: Records that should display a non-clickable link in the portals for any reason should be assigned the "Unpublished" status and be excluded from batch publishing via query results.
- Publish: Publishing documents to portals is as simple as changing the publishing status. This can be done three ways for parent portal, student portal, or both simultaneously:
- Manually for a individual students (e.g. test publishing)
- Batch update via query results
- Batch process via action menu on the academic document record