Launching Parent & Student Portals for the First Time

Overview

Launching the Parent and Student portals is a significant event for the school and for Veracross.  It is a very public facing event and it involves a lot of coordination between multiple parties.  This slice is intended to provide an overview of the process for launching the portals.

When to launch the Portals

1. If you have recently completed the initial implementation of Veracross, it is important to first ensure the completeness and accuracy of public facing data (i.e. family information) prior to launching the portals. Also, make sure schedules and rosters have been entered and reviewed for the upcoming school year. Data accuracy improves the initial portal experience for parents and students.

2. Another factor to consider in deciding when to release the parent and student portals is whether your teachers have been trained, and their level of familiarity with Veracross and use of the portals.

3. Schools should also consider security options surrounding the visibility of assignments, assignment grades, and final grades and should also determine if this is something decided by administration or teachers. For example, some schools have found it useful to hide class information for a period of time to allow their teachers to become familiar with Veracross prior to granting access to parents and students.

4. Finally, we recommend adding as much information to Veracross as possible before launching the portals. For example, it is helpful for parents and students if there are events on their calendars, upcoming assignments or messages from the school when they first log in.

General Process

The basic process involves gathering requirements, setting the proper portal configuration, creating accounts, testing accounts, and sending welcome emails.  This process involves coordination between the school, the project manager and the engineer.  As a result, here are some expectations you should have about the process:

  1. It is important to note that accounts will only be created for people with email addresses. People without email addresses will not receive an account until the night after their email address is entered. Alternatively, schools can create accounts for these people and communicate their login information to them either by phone or mail.
  2. Between creating accounts and notifying users of their accounts via the welcome email, the Veracross Project Manager and School Project Manager should test multiple accounts before feeling confident about having the welcome email sent to users. In testing, the following grade visibility settings within the system should be verified:
    1. Class Grades Portal Visibility Settings
    2. Grading Period Portals Display
  3. See more about configuring class visibility in the portals

  4. If any account usernames need to be changed, this should be done prior to sending welcome emails. To rename a portal username, run a Veracross User Accounts query from the System page. In the Security Detail column, click on the Security Admin link for the person whose username you would like to change. On the Person Security detail screen, type in a new username and click “Update Person Security” when finished.
  5. Welcome emails should not be sent on Friday. Sending welcome emails earlier in the week allows everyone to be more available to respond to any issues and answer questions that may arise.
  6. We assume that you want the Veracross portals as-is (i.e. no additional customizations). If customizations are desired, a specification will need to be drawn up and approved before any firm commitments and deadlines are agreed to.

Parent Portal

  • Customize the Parent Welcome Email Template (found via the “Email Templates” link on the System Homepage).
  • Verify the Parent security role primary and secondary username convention via the Security Roles query on the System homepage to ensure the proper username format is used.
  • Run the “Create Parent Accounts” procedure from the Action menu option on the System homepage. This will create user accounts for all parents who have “Portal Access” on their relationship to a student.

Note: Custody alone is not sufficient for access to the Parent Portal. The “Portal Access” flag on the relationship between parent & student must be set even if the Parent has Custody of the student.

  • Test the parent portal (both the Veracross Project Manager and School Project Manager). Click on the calendars, directory, schedules, classes and family update form to ensure these links work properly.
    • Test as both a “pure” parent as well as a parent who is also a faculty/staff member.
  • Run the “Send Parent Welcome Emails” procedure from the Action menu in Axiom. This will send the VC_Welcome_PARENT email template. The ‘Welcome Emails’ section below addresses the qualifications for receiving a welcome email.

Student Portal

  • Customize the Student Welcome Email template (found via the “Email Templates” link on the System Homepage).
  • Decide which grade levels will be eligible for the student portal and enable them on the Grade Levels query on the System homepage.
  • Verify the Student security role primary and secondary username convention via the Security Roles query on the System homepage to ensure the proper username format is used.
  • Run the “Create Student Accounts” procedure from the Action menu on the System homepage.  This will create accounts for new students after the start school year procedure has been run. This will create accounts only for students in grade levels that have the student portal enabled.
  • Test the student portal (both the Veracross Project Manager and School Project Manager). Click on the calendars, directory, schedules, and classes to ensure these links work properly.
  • Run the “Send Student Welcome Emails” procedure from the Action menu on the System homepage. This will send the VC_Welcome_STUDENT email template. The ‘Welcome Emails’ section below addresses the qualifications for receiving a welcome email.

Welcome Emails 


Welcome Email Link Expiration

The set-up account link will expire 72 hours after being sent. If the link is expired, the system will automatically email the user a new set-up account link when the expired link is clicked.

Who Receives Welcome Emails?

The batch “Send Parent/Student Welcome Emails” procedures will send welcome emails to those meeting the following criteria. Persons receiving welcome emails:

  • Must have an existing user account that is NOT set to ‘Portal Account Disabled’
  • Must have a ‘Parent’ security role (if parent)
  • Must have a ‘Student’ security role (if student)
  • Must have an email_1 address
  • Must not have an existing Individual Event on their person record called “VC Welcome Email Sent” (in other words, they cannot have previously received a welcome email).

Note: One can view the list of users who receive welcome emails by running hte “Review Parent/Student Accounts with no Welcome Email” menu options.

 

Active Directory Integration/Custom Usernames

If you currently have Active Directory enabled and would like new accounts created in the appropriate format, please be sure that prior to creating any user accounts you verify the necessary security role primary and secondary username convention(s) via the Security Roles query on the System homepage to ensure the proper username format is used.. Be sure that you have all of the appropriate information communicated with Veracross for active directory integration.

If you do not have Active Directory integration setup and would like to begin using Active Directory integration, there are several steps that need to happen prior to launching portals with this integration.  Please follow the steps on the active directory documentation for specific details and talk with your Veracross Account Manager.

If your school is integrating with Active Directory, be aware that in order to guarantee unique usernames, we will append the school domain onto the end of the username (e.g. jon.doe@theschool.org). Note that it is entirely possible to create Active Directory logins for just staff members and/or students. Parents do not need to have Active Directory integration.

Read the full documentation about active directory integration.

Website Provider Integration

The Veracross portals do not require a front-end website integration as they are completely sufficient to stand on their own to serve your school’s needs, including school news, class websites, calendars, family directory, etc. However, if you would like to discuss integration with your front-end website, please contact your Account Manager for further information.