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Scheduling

Power Scheduler Steps
  1. Edit Course Catalog for coming year.
  2. Auto Scheduler Setup
  3. Set Schedule Year, PowerScheduler - Tools - Functions - Set Schedule Year
  4. Create new Term in PowerSchool to match PowerScheduler Term
  5. Update Students' Next School Indicator.
  6. Keep scheduling information up to date
  7. Use the Auto Fill Student Info Function
  8. Update Course Credit
  9. Create or edit Course Groups
  10. Setup Student Request Screens
  11. Add Requests
  12. Use request totals to set class size, determine offerings and FTEs
  13. Copy Master Schedule
  14. Setup Faculty - Departments and Assignments
  15. Alter Master Schedule
  16. Schedule Students In Classes
  17. Reports
  18. Visual Scheduler
  19. Repeat steps 15 - 18 until most students are completely scheduled
  20. Modify individual schedules
  21. Commit Schedule
PowerSchools helps in the scheduler are excellent and should be used in conjunction with this list. If more than one person is working on scheduling in a school it is wise to use the Checklist found in the left menu under tools.



Step 1 Course Catalog

Begin editing your course catalog in PowerScheduler. Add new courses to meet projected needs. Don't remove courses from the catalog until after coping the current Master Schedule into the scheduler. Then delete sections before removing courses fro the catalog. The red warning symbol is resolved when PowerSchool and PowerScheduler's Courses are reconciled.


Click on Edit Course Catalog to view courses available.

Step 2 Auto Scheduler Setup

Use the Auto Scheduler Setup to create a new scenario and terms for the coming year. This wizard will walk you through Creating a new term, scenario and linking to the course catalog.


Unless you are using the scheduler for the first time or don't plan on using this years Master Schedule as the basis for next year's catalog choose Full Year. not semester, trimester or quarters at this time. 

Click Continue, Continue and then enter the year start and end dates and Continue again. Don't worry too much about the dates when you copy the master schedule later in the process it changes what you enter. Before committing the schedule at the end of the process make sure the dates are perfect.


Now set up the Scenario, Select Load Only unless you are going to build from scratch. We suggest adding the schools initials or name and the year to the Build name and Description. Make sure and choose the Course Catalog and you are ready to submit and continue. There are other things to do with the scenario but they can wait until later.


When you are finished go to years and terms and edit the year named Full Year with the dates matching the scheduling year. Something like 2014-2015 should do.


Step 3 Set Scheduling Year

Set the scheduling year by going to Tools - Functions - Set Schedule Year. Choose the year created in step 2 and submit.


The new Scheduling Year should now be displayed near the top right of the screen just above the dark blue bar.

Step 4 Create a new year term in PowerSchool

Add next year to PowerSchool's Years and Terms. In School - Years and Terms set up the scheduling year, just the full year. The other terms will be created when you commit the schedule at the end of the process.

Step 5 Set Next School Value
Set next school values for students involved in the scheduling process. Only students pointing to your school can make requests and be scheduled. Start by mass setting active students in PowerSchool. From PowerSchool's Home Page select all students who will be returning next year. A grade_Level search works well followed by a select students by hand to remove students not returning.


Select Next School Indicator and choose your school. 
    

Use the same process to set the Next School Indicator students moving on to other schools. Finally contact your feeder schools and make sure they set the Next School Indicator for students moving to your school.

Step 6 Keep Scheduling Information Up to Date
Keep scheduling information up to date. When new students are enrolled make sure and set the Next School Indicator and the other scheduling fields, Schedule This Student, Next Year Grade, Allow students to submit requests etc. When a student leaves your school remove requests and update the scheduling fields. 



Step 7 Auto Fill Student Info Function
Use the PowerScheduler Function Auto Fill Student Information to complete the student setup phase. 


If you allow students enter requests you may need to mass set the Sched_AllowRequests value to 1.

Step 8 Create or edit Course Groups
Course Groups are used by the Student Request screens. If students are not entering their own requests and school staff will not use the Modify Request Screens then this step is optional.

To make it easier for students, parents, or staff members to enter requests, you have the option of creating course groups. Course groups represent the courses that are available to a student for a specific request.

For example, when eighth-grade students select a ninth-grade elective course for the next school year, they are presented with a list of valid ninth-grade elective course options. Students must make their selection from the list of courses that you determine are valid for a particular selection.

Note: It is recommended that course groups for scheduling use should only contain courses that require the same number of student course requests. For example, you should not combine single semester courses with year-long courses, as this could lead to an inaccurate count of requests and credit hours.

Create the lists by making a course group for all predetermined requirements. For example, in the case that you need to create six course groups for a particular grade level, you might create three groups for core courses, one for semester electives, one for year-long electives, and one for no credit electives.

The image below is the top portion of elective courses assigned to a high school. Only checked courses will be available for students, staff and parents on the request screen.


Step 9 
Update Course Credit

Use the courses link to select and edit course credit.
 

Step 10 Setup Student Request Screens
Create course requirements and student course request pages for each grade level in the school. The course request pages contain courses you select for the various course groups from which students can make their selections. The request pages require students to select only courses and electives that have been approved for their grade level. If you need to make an exception, you can do so manually. For more information about grade-specific requirements, see Requirements.

Course Request Screens are relevant to whatever is selected as the scheduling year. The scheduling year also determines which Request Screen appears to parents and students. For example, if the current school year is 2011-2012 and the schedule year is set to 2012-2013, students who are in tenth grade during 2011-2012 will use the Grade 11 request screen. For more information, see How to Set the Schedule Year.

In most cases, course request screens must be recreated each year. However, if you wish to use the same screens from year to year, modify the YearID of the appropriate records using the Update Selections function. Always back up the data file before attempting this procedure. For more information, see the Knowledgebase article regarding how to reuse student request screens available on PowerSource.

Below is a sample 8th grade request screen:


The image below is an example of a single course requirement for 8th Grade Language Arts. It is associated with the Course Group named 8th LA. This request will generate one request.


The next image is an example of a Multi-Course Request connected to the 8th Electives Course Group:


Note the number or requests to generate is usually 1. If a course is semesterised and each student making a request should have the class in each semester then a 2 would be selected in the Number of Requests to generate. This option is not the number of selections a student should make. Use the Min - Max boxes on Number of courses a student must select to meet this requirement to constrain choices.




Step 11 Add Requests
Course requests can be entered manually by staff or students and parents can enter requests using the Student/Parent portal. To allow student requests the page must be activated in the scheduler and the parent/student portal must be enabled.



Student entry window for a single course request item.


The image below is part of a completed student request form. 


How to Enter Requests in the Scheduling Area

In addition to the Requests Modify Future page in PowerSchool, you can use PowerScheduler to enter student course requests for a future school year. That school year is determined by the setting on the Set Schedule Year page. For more information about setting the schedule year, see How to Set the Schedule Year.

  1. On the start page, choose PowerScheduler from the main menu. The Scheduling page appears.
  2. Under Resources, choose Students from the PowerScheduler menu. The Scheduling page appears.
  3. Select students for scheduling. For detailed information, see Schedule Search and Select.
  4. Click the name of the student you want to work with from the students menu.
  5. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Requests from the pop-up menu.
    • Click the Requests tab.

    The Requests page displays the percentage scheduled calculations for the student:

    % Scheduled - Percentage of requests successfully filled
    % Core Scheduled - Percentage of requests for core classes successfully filled
    % Primary Requests Satisfied - Percentage of primary requests (non-alternate requests) that were successfully filled
    % Total Requests Satisfied - Percentage of total requests including alternate requests that were filled

  6. Click New. The Edit Course Request [student name] page appears.
  7. Click Associate to select the name of the course. Press and hold COMMAND (Mac) or CONTROL (Windows) to make multiple selections.
  8. Click Submit. The Requests page appears.




Step 12 Use request totals to set class size, determine offerings and FTEs
There are 13 pre build reports providing data for scheduling decisions. Perhaps the most important is Course Request Tally. All of the scheduling reports allow the user can choose to run the report for the current student selection or all students. Using the counts provide determine how many section to offer.

How to Run the Course Request Tally Report

The Course Request Tally report lists the number of primary and alternate student course requests by course. Use this report to determine how many sections of a course you need.

  1. On the start page, choose PowerScheduler from the main menu. The Scheduling page appears.
  2. Under Tools, choose Reports from the PowerScheduler menu. The Scheduling Reports page appears.
  3. Click Course Request Tally. The Course Request Tally page appears.

Below is a sample of the report.

Course Request Tally

Build: 2014-2015    Catalog: SCMS 2014-2015

CourseCourse NamePrimaryAlternateElective AltTotal
00102323 Learning Strategies LA Lab1001
00122323 Study Skills Lab6006
001M2323 Learning Strategies Math Lab 12002
00332323 Life Skills240024
0200Release Time24000240
0400Excel1001
0821Learning Strategies2002
0822GRASP2002
1160General Art2040190394
1190Art Found II1070143250

Step 13 Copy Master Schedule
There are 13 pre build reports providing data for scheduling decisions. Perhaps the most important is Course Request Tally. All of the scheduling reports allow the user can choose to run the report for the current student selection or all students. Using the counts provide determine how many section to offer.

How to Copy the Master Schedule

Copy the current year's master schedule to another year. After copying the master schedule, do the following:

  • Regenerate bitmaps from the Functions menu.
  • Align the active scenario to the imported master schedule in terms of years and terms, periods, and days. For more information, see Build Scenarios.
  1. On the start page, choose PowerScheduler from the main menu. The Scheduling page appears.
  2. Under Tools, choose Functions from the PowerScheduler menu. The Scheduling Functions page appears.
  3. Click Copy Master Schedule. The Copy Master Schedule page appears.
  4. Choose the year from which you want to copy the master schedule from the School pop-up menu.
  5. Select the checkbox to proceed.
  6. Click Submit. The Changes Recorded page appears.


Once last year's Master Schedule is copied go to years and terms and correct term names and dates. As of this update year names do not copy correctly and last year's dates overwrite the settings entered by the Auto Setup.

You will also need to go to the current Scenario and Associate the terms again. Click on the scenario name and then click associate. Then check the appropriate level for your school. Copy schedule changes the association to the lowest level usually Quarters or Trimesters.


Step 14 Setup Faculty - Departments and Assignments
To take advantage of the visual scheduler Teachers need to be associated with Departments. The teacher screen also offers a Matrix and a list view of the schedule.

Step 15 Alter Master Schedule and Course Information
Modify the Master Schedule copied in step 13 to create a schedule for next year. Use the Master Schedule, Visual Schedule or Sections Links in the left menu to access and modify schedules.
  1. Delete sections not offered in the scheduling year.
  2. Add new sections and courses not offered in the following year.
  3. Edit sections to reflect teacher, period and term changes for the scheduling year.
Step 16 Load Students In Classes

Run a Load

Currently PowerSchool's Load Function does not work with Chrome. Download Firefox and use it for the Load Process.

Adjusting the master schedule potentially affects and causes conflicts for many students' schedules. For example, moving a course section to a different period may satisfy a number of unmet course requests, but this action can cause problems with others course requests.

As a result, whenever you change the master schedule, you need to reload students. You can also load students to see if the system can create better schedules for all students. Do this after you finish building a master schedule or if you made a number of changes to the schedule.

After running a load, import student schedules and then analyze the results. For more information, see Analyze the Results. After analysis, proceed with one of the steps outlined in the section Post-Load Options.

When performing a load, consider the following:

    • Load priority is used to determine which substitutions should be made as well as which requests should go unfilled, if that is necessary. The engine always prefers to use substitutions instead of leaving a request unfilled, even if that means using a substitution on an important course instead of leaving an elective course unfilled.
    • Load priorities are not a rank ordering. They are an importance rating. One request for a course with a load priority of 5 is equivalent to two requests with a 10 priority, three with a 15 priority, or four with a 20 priority. That means that, while these courses may have a priority of 5 and other courses have a priority of 10, it is just as good for the engine to leave the priority 5 unfilled as it is to leave two priority 10 courses unfilled; it is actually better for the engine to leave one priority 5 unfilled than to leave two courses with priority 9 or lower unfilled.

For example, if a student has two 7 requests and one 5 request; while neither of the 7 requests can be filled outright, they both have substitutions; the substitutions, however, conflict with the 5 course, so the student can't get both. Therefore, it is better for the engine to miss the 5 and fill the two 7 requests with substitutions than it would be to leave the 7s unfilled and get the 5.

    • To rate a course as really important, assign it a load priority of 1 or 10. For all other courses, rank according to how important they are relative to that 1 (or 10) course (even if that means using numbers like 1000). Then, as a second pass, double or quadruple their load priorities if any of those are semester or quarter courses.

How to Run a Load

    1. On the start page, choose PowerScheduler from the main menu. The Scheduling page appears.
    2. Under Processing, choose Load from the PowerScheduler menu. The Load Student Schedules Queue page appears.

After processing a load look at the loges to find errors and scheduling problems. 

Step 17 Use Reports to Analyze Schedule
After you build or change a master schedule, use the post-build reports to help you correct any errors in your data, such as non-scheduled course requests, non-scheduled student requests, and under-scheduled students. You can also use these reports to view your room utilization, a list of student schedules, and your new master schedule. For post-build reports, see Build the Master Schedule Reports.

Step 18 Visual Scheduler

The Visual Scheduler provides PowerSchool Scheduling administrators the ability to create the master schedule using drag-and-drop capabilities. The Visual Scheduler functionality incorporates the scheduling principles presented in Pearson’s Master Schedule Build Workshop, including satisfying student course requests, balancing classes, and satisfying teacher schedule requests.

The Visual Scheduler is built into PowerSchool, so there is no need to reenter your teachers, students, or courses data, saving you time. Use the PowerScheduler engine to build your initial schedule and the Visual Scheduler to make final adjustments. Or, build your entire schedule with the Visual Scheduler. Try out as many scheduling scenarios as you’d like, and once you are satisfied with your schedule, you can make it available for your school in just a few simple steps.

Use PowerSchool's Help to learn more about the visual scheduler.

Step 19 Repeat steps 15 - 18 until most students are completely scheduledStep 7 Auto Fill Student Info Function
No master schedule is perfect and the process of producing an acceptable number of complete schedules may take some time. There is also a point of diminishing returns when changing the master schedule will not produce a significant increase in complete schedules. At this point it is time to modify the remaining student schedules by hand using alternates and experience to create a schedule that will help the student toward graduation and learning.

Step 20 Modify individual schedules
There is also a point of diminishing returns when changing the master schedule will not produce a significant increase in complete schedules. At this point it is time to modify the remaining student schedules by hand using alternates and experience to create a schedule that will help the student toward graduation and learning.

Use one of the reports to identify students with incomplete schedules and modify the schedules using PowerScheduler - Resources - Students. Choose the Schedule Tab to modify student schedules. Use enroll and select a period to add a class. 

Manually Adjust Student Schedules

Manually adjust and fine-tune student schedules only if you are certain that the master schedule will not change and that student schedules are correct.

Note: Running a load will cause manual modifications to be lost. Instead, choose the Reschedule the selected [x] students option when loading. For more information, see Run a Load.

You can also manually enroll students in courses based on their course requests. For more information, see How to Manually Schedule Students.

Note: If you use the Balance Adjustment constraint to pre-load a section with a certain number of "placeholder students," you need to manually schedule students into those seats after loading the rest of the student schedules. For example, if you use this constraint in a section of a math course to hold five seats for Special Education students, you need to schedule those Special Education students into the math section after loading the other students' schedules.

How to Enroll a Student in a Course

  1. On the start page, choose PowerScheduler from the main menu. The Scheduling page appears.
  2. Under Resources, choose Students from the PowerScheduler menu. The Scheduling page appears.
  3. Select students for scheduling. For detailed information, seeSchedule Search and Select.
  4. Click the name of the student you want to work with from the students menu.
  5. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Schedule from the pop-up menu.
    • Click the Schedule tab.

    The Schedule page displays the percentage scheduled calculations for the student:

    % Scheduled - Percentage of requests successfully filled
    % Core Scheduled - Percentage of requests for core classes successfully filled
    % Primary Requests Satisfied - Percentage of primary requests (non-alternate requests) that were successfully filled
    % Total Requests Satisfied - Percentage of total requests including alternate requests that were filled

    Note: To determine which student course requests have yet to be filled, see the "Unfilled Requests" section of the page.

  6. Choose from the Enroll pop-up menu the period in which you want to enroll this student in a course. The Available Courses page appears.
  7. Note: For information about the filter options, see How to Filter Manual Schedule Options.


Step 21 Commit Schedule

When your schedule is as good as it can possibly be and school is no longer in session, commit the master schedule. When you commit a master schedule, it replaces any existing master schedule for that school year. Don't get in a hurry and make sure to inform involved with the scheduling process when you plan to commit. It is never good to have one counselor continue to modify schedule in the Scheduler and the other modify schedules Live Side. There is no way to reconcile the differences.

To ensure that attendance is set up properly, your "live side" school year should be created before committing your schedule in PowerScheduler. Also, when committing a master schedule, course information, including credit hours, is retrieved from the district level in PowerSchool.

How to Commit the Master Schedule

  1. On the start page, choose PowerScheduler from the main menu. The Scheduling page appears.
  2. Under Processing, choose Commit. The Commit Master Schedule page appears.
  3. Select which schedules to copy:
    • Sections Only: Select this option to commit only sections.
    • Student Schedules Only: Select this option to commit only student schedules.
    • Sections & Student Schedules: Select this option to commit both sections and student schedules.
  4. Click Submit. The Verify Commit Master Schedule page appears.
  5. Click Submit. The Commit Master Schedule Warnings page displays if there are any conflicts or unavailable courses. If there are no conflicts or unavailable courses, skip to Step 6.

    Note: Only school calendar conflicts are committed as part of the master schedule; unavailable courses are not.

  6. If you are certain you want to commit, click Submit to proceed. The Changes Recorded page appears.


Note if the commit has problems the Section Meetings may need to be reset.

In some instances, for example after new section information has been imported, or a sections schedule is modified, the section meetings table is not correctly updated. This issue can result in missing expressions, courses and sections, incorrect schedule matrix views, and an inability for teachers and admin staff to take attendance, among other things.

With PowerSchool Premier version 5.1.1.6, a special operation is available to reset (delete and recreate) Section_Meeting records in PowerSchool Admin.

Use the following procedure to reset the Section_Meeting records:

  1. Navigate to Start Page > System > Special Operations.
  2. Select Reset Section Meetings from the Operation drop-down menu.
  3. Enter the value of the school year (such as 2007 for the 2007-2008 school year) in the Param 1 field. 

    Note: If a user enters nothing or characters other than numbers, the value becomes zero (0), and the Special Operation will not run.
  4. Type resetsm in the Code field.
  5. Click Submit.

Note: The current school setting determines which school(s) records are processed. If set to a school, only that school's Section_Meeting records are recreated. If set to the district office, all school's section_Meeting records are recreated.

Note: This special operation should be run after hours.

This feature is included in PowerSchool Premier versions 5.1.1.6 and above.