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Getting Started with OpenAdmin

This is an outline of the things to do to get started using Open Admin (OA), after a network administrator has installed it for your school. As part of the installation process he/she may have imported the student information into the system if you had information stored previously.

Add the Students

If he/she did not, then you may also enter student records by uploading a spreadsheet file containing student data. This will be somewhat faster than entering student information one record at a time.

Start a spreadsheet program and type in student information with one row for each student. It should include lastname, firstname, birthdate, gender, grade, homeroom, and any other important student information. This spreadsheet can be saved (normally in a comma separated value (CSV) format).

The button/script to do that is located on the Export page (the Export tab on the top of the screen. Then select the 'Import Students' button, and upload your data file using the next screens.

There is also an older import program provided (called ) that can import csv data. It must be used by your system administrator and is found in the utility folder of the OA download.

If your system already has student information, then you only have to do a couple of things to get ready to start using the program. These are both located on the Start of Year / End of Year Page which is the farthest right tab on the top of the screen.

Add the Staff

You add staff members by clicking on Add a Staff Member and filling in the fields. The userid is a single word to identify that person (ie. rich, dougd) and must be unique within all staff records.

The password is single phrase (with no spaces) which is not a dictionary word. (fastrust, bigtree) It can be letters or numbers based on a phrase or sentence (All Cows Eat Grass - aceg). The system has a password policy (set by the installer) in terms of the maximum and minimum length a password must be as well as the use of capital letters and symbols. The system will suggest a password, which you may override with your own (but you must pass the password policy for it to be accepted when saving the staff member information.

The userid and password are used by the staff member (normally a teacher) to enter attendance and assessments, print reports, etc. on the teacher admin site and are required.

The homeroom field can be up to 8 characters long and matches the homeroom field in some of the student records. If more than one teacher teaches the same homeroom (ie. job sharing) then one record should be entered for each teacher with the same homeroom value in this field. Both of these names will then show up on the report card.

If the teacher teaches a multi-graded classroom (ie. a split) then the homeroom field would have a single value such as '5/6' for a grade 5 and grade 6 split; both grade 5's and 6's in the same room). However, there should be two grades entered; one for 5 and one for 6. For example, Mr. Fine, teaches a 5/6 split in a homeroom called fine5/6. He should have a homeroom field that has fine5/6 both a 5 and a 6 in the grade field separated by spaces 5 6.

The basic idea is that for all students in the school there will be at least one teacher that has a homeroom matching a student (in an elementary school). This is not necessarily the case in high schools and middle schools with subject specialists, but not a homeroom, per se.

As a result, in elementary schools, we can match teachers to students since they will have the same homeroom fields.

As well, the combination of homeroom and grade allows us to break these students into groups for reporting, attendance, etc.

For high school teachers and subject specialists, they will not have any values in class or grade, unless they have a homeroom. Normally subject enrollments will link these teachers to particular student groups.

The email field is the email address for that teacher and the grade field has been dealt with above.

The Does Attendance field is used by the teacher attendance checking script to make sure that this staff member will be entering attendance daily. If the attendance is done by the office, or attendance is only done weekly, or it is the teacher's responsibility and the office doesn't care, etc. this field may be ignored. (and left at Y or N)

The Certificate is used by Saskatchewan schools to record the teacher's certificate number, if she/he is submitting marks to Saskatchewan Learning via the SDS system (built into this software). Otherwise, this field may be ignored. The new versions have 8 certification fields in the staff table and may be used for a variety of purposes. The names associated with these fields may be changed by the network admin (or secretary) using a simple web interface.

The position field describes that person's job/role in the school. You may pull down additional positions for administrators who are also classroom teachers, etc. If a necessary job description is missing for some staff members, it can be added by editing the metadata for the staff on the Start/End of Year page. Use the 'Edit Metadata' button, and put in another value for the position field in the 'staff_multi' table.

This position information is used by the division wide IEP (Special Ed) system when building teams for special ed students, as well as teacher site access, etc.

The address fields are used to store staff address information, if required. Other emergency contact information and vehicle and driver information is also available.

The staff table also has additional contact information for international schools for permanent teacher contact information in his/her home country including phone and email information. This is not included by default in distributed staff templates, but can easily be added. See the section on Customization.

Complete adding all staff members.

Adding School Dates

The school year should already be correctly defined in the master configuration file. Check this, by using the View Dates button, to make sure that schoolyear, schoolstart and schoolend are correctly defined. As well, the variables defining the term start and end dates (g_termstart and g_termend) should be defined for each term. These are seen in the View Dates screens, and also in the View Configuration files screen (in the lower part of the admin.conf file).

A Term, as defined by OA, is a period of time that has a reporting event at the end of it (i.e. exams, and possibly parent-teacher interviews). Report cards are printed at the end of each term.

There should be no holes in these term dates between terms. If a term ends on Friday, the 12th, then the term start entry for the next term may be either Saturday, the 13th or Monday, the 15th (the next school day). However, if set to Monday, teachers working on Sunday would be 'between terms'.

Failure to do this may result in confused date calculations, and problems with attendance entry by teachers when the date is in the 'hole'.

This system assumes that school runs Monday to Friday from schoolstart (defined above) to schoolend. Any holidays, inservices, etc. that a school is not in session (Mon-Fri) must be added as dates that school is out. Do this with the Add Dates function. For example, if the Christmas Holidays run from Saturday, December 20th to Monday, January 5th, you would have to put in dates for Monday, Dec 22, then Dec 23, 24, 25, 26 as well as the following week (Dec 28 - Jan 2). One record for each day. Hint: One you have saved one day for this, use the web browser's Back Button, change the date and save again. This speeds up the date entry process.

The description fields are used to describe that date, such as a couple of words about the nature of the inservice, etc.

The Day In Cycle field is used to indicate whether this date is included as a date in a rotating schedule such as a 5 day or 6 day cycle or not. Normally when the school year is designed, inservice days do not count as days in the cycle. If a Thursday is an inservice day with no students, and the day before (Wednesday) was Day 2, then Friday will be a Day 3.

However, if a school sets a professional development day later, after the division wide schedule is already set, then the Thursday PD would have a Y for Day in Cycle value. This would mean that Wedneday is Day 2, and Friday is now Day 4. Thursday was Day 3, even though no students came. This is done in order to stay in sync with a division wide schedule.

If there is no division wide schedule, then all dates can be safely left at N, the default.

Student Attendance

Student Attendance is normally done by teachers in OA. However, on the attendance tab, there is button to add attendance for a single day (New Attendance Entry) or a week (Multiple Date Entry). You can also enter attendance for a missing teacher using the single date method.

Using Partial Functions

The main core of OA is the demographics section with information stored in a student table. Enrollment changes (students coming or going) are stored in a separate transfer table. Once you have done the things outlined above, you can go ahead and use the demographics system and the attendance system. (both on the main admin site and the teacher site), assuming no use of the subject method for attendance. The discipline system may be used as well, if desired, with no further setup.

If you wish to use the attendance method that tracks subject attendance or would like to use the report card system or the schedule function that tracks where students are located now (if parents come to pick up students, etc), further setup is required. You must create the subject records, and then enroll the students in those subjects. This process is outlined in the report card system documentation.

You are now ready to begin. Attendance may be entered and reports printed. Student reports of various kinds may be printed. New students may be enrolled and others withdrawn. Discipline information may be entered, etc.

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Next: Student Demographics Up: Open Administration for Schools Previous: Contents