Blog - Welcome to 2018

Welcome to 2018

 

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9th February 2018

Welcome to 2018

PCSchool wishes to welcome back both our current and new users. The start of this year has been particularly busy as we bring onboard new schools, as well as work with our first set of live Freedom schools.

This year the primary focus for our development is based around migrating various aspects of our finance functionality to Spider in preparation for our conference later in the year. This, alongside converting schools to the Freedom model, means we will have a full year ahead.

2018 Data Structure Changes
As part of the move towards Freedom, a necessary data structure change needs to take place. It is important you undertake this as soon as possible. No further follow-ups for version 2016 will be done, and all future releases will be based around the 2018 data structure.

It is CRITICAL you do not download the 2018 Follow-up until you have completed the 2018 Update.

2018 Update programs and instructions are AVAILABLE HERE.

2018 Spider
The 2018 Spider is nearly ready for release offering a host of new features. Of particular note is the new pop-out menu allowing very quick access to all aspects of Spider (see next article) and changes to the Payment Portal.

Please ensure you update your data structure to the 2018 version (as per the above article) prior to implementing the 2018 Spider Update.

For more information about the up and coming changes, visit the recent help documents and updates page on our website.

Spider Interface & Payment Portal Changes
The most notable change in the new 2018 Spider will be the Side Pop-out Menu format, this removes the menu options along the top and the notification panel and creates a cleaner more streamlined experience. We suggest you advise your staff of these changes and provide them with the following link so they can familiarise themselves with the new interface – Information on the Spider Interface

The Payment Portal used by parents to pay fees or via the eform shopping cart will also have significant changes in the 2018 Spider. We recommend that schools visit the Payment Portal Changes help information and share the necessary links with staff / caregivers.

Required changes to Student, Family, Staff Codes
As all of our users are now using the SQL version of PCSchool, BackOffice is now utilizing the speed of being able to call SQL procedures directly. This has given us the ability to dramatically speed up aspects of PCSchool, which was evident with some of the End-Of-Year procedures.

For one of the procedures we will be using in the next Follow-up 2018, it is critical that the FAMILY CODE does not contain an apostrophe. If you do have a student, family or staff key with an apostrophe in it, please use the Scholastic > Administration > Global Change option to rename it to the equivalent without the apostrophe. This will not affect the surname fields which may continue to contain them (Eg O’NIAL to ONIAL).

'Key' fields must not contain apostrophe
‘Key’ fields must not contain apostrophe

This will first be noticed whilst using the Debtors module when running the Account Validity Report or performing a Debtor End of Period.

If using the Creditors module it is recommended that you also remove apostrophe from the Creditor Code via the Creditors > House Keeping

NOTE: for schools using the Spider then the apostrophe issue will be automatically corrected by the next Spider Update.

Freedom Conversions
Now that we have several schools live using the Freedom model, we will soon be able to start producing more detailed documentation for all remaining schools. We are refining many of the screens and have learnt a lot thanks to the work of the trial schools. We are very appreciative of their tolerance and for the invaluable feedback that they have provided.

Deciding to convert to the Freedom model needs to be carefully planned as it involves re-training your enrolments staff. Once the Freedom model is adopted, the Student View in Back Office becomes read-only and all student data entry must be completed within Spider. Our next batch of schools are scheduled to be converted in the Term 1 holiday break.

If your school is planning to have their data converted, there was a pricing schedule provided in your 2018 Agreement which was emailed to your school in December – or contact accounts@pcschool.net for pricing information. Please ensure you liaise with PCSchool to arrange your conversion date for 2018 (term break time is recommended). This process will take the best part of a day initially, with follow-up work required.

Route Map App – Expressions of Interest
PCSchool will soon be releasing “Route Map”

An App enabling parents to follow the current location of:
*   bus to and from school
*   returning excursion/camp transport

How it works:
*   Bus driver sets tracking active on their mobile phone
*   Parents use the app to follow the progress of the bus from their mobile phone

No more waiting at bus stops, anticipate the early or late arrival of the bus.
Track return progress of children on an excursion.

PCSchool 'Route Map' App
PCSchool ‘Route Map’ App

 FREE TRIAL

Please register your expression of interest to participate in a first semester free trial.
Contact brendan@pcschool.net to register your interest.

Recommended Backup Strategies
It is very important to ensure you have reliable backups of your PCSchool files, both the SQL Databases, as well as the Document Management files. In addition to locally available backups, it is highly recommended to have off-site backups. Having worked with a school hit by a Krypto virus, they realised too late that all connected devices on the network were equally susceptible.

For information about backing up, view our Backup Strategies Document

We have been approached by several schools in regards to off-site backup. PCSchool cannot offer this service, however, the company we use for hosting our schools does have this capability. The arrangements you make with Greenlight are independent of PCSchool. If you wish to investigate this option, Click Here

Attendance in Back Office
With the introduction of Attendance Flow into Spider last year, PCSchool will be phasing out the Attendance functionality from Back Office at the end of Term 1 this year (2018).

It is important that all users working with attendance familiarise themselves with the web interface prior to this changeover. If there are any aspects of attendance that are not catered for in Spider, please advise us immediately so we can ensure it is accommodated for. The attendance reports you use will need to be web published for Spider.

Help documentation for Spider is available at:
http://help.pcschool.net/help-category/attendance/
http://help.pcschool.net/help/security-setup-attendance-flow/

Government Reporting and Submissions
A new year brings a new round of government reporting and submissions, including NAPLAN, STATS, Census and Roll Returns.

Information for schools on how to setup for and generate these submissions for each state / country can be found on the PCSchool Help Page here, Government Reporting Help

Kind regards,
PCSchool Team
E: helpdesk@pcschool.net
P: 07 4939 5995 (Aust) / 09 974 9624 (NZ) Fax: 07 4939 3315
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