Closing the School Year

Closing the school year is the process designed to finalize current school year academic activities and prepare the database for the new year. The “Closing the School Year” Wizard will walk you through the process.  Please plan ahead and reserve several business days just in case you may need support from PCR Educator in closing the school year.

Note: The close of the school year needs to occur before the start of the next academic year. The school year may be closed at any point between when PCR Educator makes it available prior to the start of the next academic year. 

Note: If you are operating a Summer Camp in PCR Educator, then you will wait to close the school year until after Summer Camp has finished.

Note:  If you wish to share next year schedules in the CMS Parent/Student Portals prior to closing the school year, the widget properties can be switched to show the next year schedules.

Note: The close of the school year wizard may be restricted if your school exceeds the purchased database storage amount.  Please contact support@pcreducator.com to help you address this.

Note:  Closing the School Year is a one-time process that affects every division in the school. There should be one person at the school who coordinates and performs the Closing of the School Year for the entire school. While the Academic Divisions are most affected, the school-based coordinator should understand the process and should ensure that ALL divisions are ready before proceeding.

Note:  Each summer, PCR Educator will open the “Close School Year” for advancing to the new academic year.

Note:  Closing Finance Fiscal Years operate independently of Closing the School Year.  Finance can close their Fiscal Years at their discretion.  

Contents

“Closing the School Year” Wizard
Pre-Close Checklist
    - Archiving Individual Student Reports
    - Copying Scheduling Data
    - Setting Next Year Student Fields
    - Updating Status/Substatus for Next Year
    - Enrolling Incoming Students
    - Adjusting the Parent Portal and Student Portal
    - Confirming Teacher Categories
    - Setting BC Trax Month Field (BC Schools Only)
Scheduling Next Year
Fixing Different Courses with the Same Name
Confirming Include on Transcript 
Reviewing Orphaned Grades
Reviewing Grades to History 
Reviewing Attendance to History 
Fixing Overlapping Marking Periods
Archiving Database 
Closing the Database Year Step
Reviewing Post-Close Checklist 

“Closing the School Year” Wizard

 To begin Closing the School Year process navigate to Security > Maintenance > Close School Year.  You need the Security Full role to access this page.  Note: If the Close School Year function is not available, there will be a message at the bottom indicating that you cannot close the school year.  Note: The second to last step of the Close School Year will have you contact PCR Educator to make an archive.  This may take 1 business day so please plan accordingly.

Closing the School Year does the following:
     - Copies Next Year Student Fields to the current year
    - Moves students to their next grade level
    - Archives student grades to Historical Marks
    - Archives student attendance to Historical Attendance
    - Purges processed notifications, except emails associated with:
        - Inquiry records with an academic year greater or equal to the current admissions year.  Example:  You are closing the school year for 2017/2018.  An inquiry is applying for 2017/2018 and has 3 notifications, 2 of which have already been processed and 1 of which is unprocessed.  The 2 processed notifications will be deleted.  Example:  You are closing the school year for 2017/2018.  An inquiry is applying for 2018/2019 and has 3 notifications, 2 of which have already been processed and 1 of which is unprocessed.  None of these notifications will be deleted.
        - Inquiry Actions Note: Notifications that were associated with an inquiry action where the inquiry action has been deleted will be treated like an Inquiry notification.
        - Finance
        - Financial Aid Awards
        - Student Health Visits
        - Development
        Note: Purging notifications deletes processed Notification Jobs from the date you close the school year which includes removal of the individual notification information as well as any attached files stored in the database.


Note: Once you finish Closing the School Year, the following records will be permanently removed from the database:
    - Gradebook grades
    - Marks for any report
    - Comments for any report

Note: Once you finish Closing the School Year, the following records will be purged and you may not have access to individual details:
    - Attendance records  Note:  Discipline records are retained, but Daily and Period Attendance are purged.
    - Student Pictures for students that do not have a status of Enrolled for any division in the current or next year.
    - Inquiry Pictures for inquiries/applicants with an academic year prior to the pre-close admissions year.
    - Daily rotations with dates prior to the close date.  Future daily rotation dates will be kept intact.
    - Student Check In / Check Out records.  If you are billing for Check In / Check Out records, records that have already been billed for will be removed.  If you are not billing for Check In / Check Out records, all records with a check out date will be removed.   Note: Invoices are still retained, but the association to the original Check In / Check Out record will be removed.

You may want to consider exporting your data using a DAT Query if you may need these details in the future.

Pre-Close Checklist

There are tasks that must be completed by each and every Academic Division prior to closing the school year.  Note: The following tasks MUST be completed BEFORE you close the school year.

- Archiving Individual Student Reports
- Copying Scheduling Data
- Setting Next Year Student Fields
- Updating Status/Substatus for Next Year
- Enrolling Incoming Students
- Adjusting the Parent Portal and Student Portal
- Confirming Teacher Categories
- Setting BC Trax Month Field (BC Schools Only)
- Exporting Data (If Applicable)

Archiving Individual Student Reports

Registrars should archive, print, and/or save PDFs of Progress Reports, Report Cards, and Transcripts prior to closing the school year.  Archiving Official Reports can be performed through a multi-action with the files optionally made available to the Parent Portal.

Attendance reports, discipline reports, gradebooks and other reports involving data which is reset year to year may be generated and retained by the school.

Copying Scheduling Data

Closing the school year will replace the current year's schedule with the next year's schedule.  If you do not have a schedule in the next year, then when the school year is closed you will have no schedule in the current year.

Note: The automatic scheduling functions that allow for using the Master Schedule Builder and the automated “Load Students” DO NOT EXIST in the Current Year. If anyone in the school still needs to use those features, you should not close the school year.

1. Copy the current year Block Codes and Period Codes into the Next Year.  The should be performed in each division that has a schedule.

2. Copy the current year Course Sections to Next Year. Each division may decide to copy the current course sections for next year (and modify them as necessary) OR the division may decide to build all the course sections from scratch. Copying the sections must be done prior to Closing the School Year or thee will be no sections when the school year is closed.

For more information about Copying/Moving Schedules, please see the section on Scheduling Next Year below.

Setting Next Year Student Fields

Ensure that the next  year grade levels for your students are correct.  

Note:  The Next Year grade level fields can be seen on the Admin > Students list or the Scheduling > Students list, and the column is titled Gr NY.  If you do not see the field, click the gear above the details column and enable it.

Note: There are other next year fields which may need to be set including Day or Boarding Next Year, International Next Year, and more.  Advancing student grades can set the next year grade level for students as well as these other fields.

Note: Once the grades are properly advanced, you can begin the scheduling process. Note that in Scheduling, you will be working predominantly with a student's “grade next year.” The “not returning” students and students without a “grade next year” will not appear in your scheduling lists.

Updating Status/Substatus for Next Year

In Admin > Students, users can view the current and next year status/substatus for their student.  Note:  The next year status and substatus may be different depending on which school division you are currently accessing.  Another way to evaluate students and their status' is to create a DAT report using Students and linking in the Statuses By Division table.

The administrator can update student status/substatus for next academic year to indicate students who are graduating, returning, or withdrawing.  These changes are configured by Recording Student Actions which determine the Status/Substatus Calculation - Student.

One method is to find all students who are currently newly enrolled and mark them as Active or Returning for the next year. Similarly, all non-returning students can be marked as Withdrew for next year and all Pre-Enrolled students can be marked as Enrolled/Newly Enrolled for next year. Each school may have its own preference for handling this workflow.

Note: The next year student status and substatus will become the current year status and substatus after Closing the School Year.

Note: For students access the CMS Portals, the student user must have a role of Student.  For parents to access the CMS Parent Portal, the parent user must have a role of Parent.  These roles are calculated according to the Roles Dictionary.  Any student whose status next year is “Graduated” will lose their access to the CMS portals when the school year is closed. To temporarily give students and parents access after Closing the School Year, you can create an action named something like “Portal Access” with an “Enrolled” status modifier, and give it to the student for the next academic year. That way, their status will remain “Enrolled” until you decide to revoke their access by removing the “Portal Access” action at a later date.

Note: The Graduated date on the transcript is usually based on an action of the same name.  It is possible to have a Graduated action configured to not change the status, and instead use a different action to change student status' to Graduated at a later date.  This way the correct graduated date is shown on the transcript while the student status temporarily remains Enrolled until another action changes the status to Graduated.

Enrolling Incoming Students

This component can be completed before or after closing the school year. The Admissions staff can enroll incoming students by Applying Enrollment Profiles. Enrollment Profiles may also be applied automatically for students submitting (Re) Enrollment Contracts.

Adjusting the Parent Portal and Student Portal

If your school is using the CMS Parent/Student Portals, you need to consider the information you are displaying to the parents and students currently and the information you want them to have access to once the school year rolls over. Once the school year is closed, the next school year's information is going to be displayed (schedules, homerooms, etc.). Make sure you adjust the portals according to what you want the parents to have access to over the summer.  Note: You can temporarily “disable” pages on these portals by requiring a role like “Security Full” to access the page.  Remove the role requirement to allow access again.  

Confirming Teacher Categories

The CMS Teacher Portal has a widget which allows teachers to map their Gradebook Categories associated with a current year course section to a corresponding section for next year.  This widget is usually placed at the bottom of the Class > Gradebook Settings page.  If the widget isn't present, it can be added to the page via the Course > Gradebook Next Year option.  Note: If a teacher is teaching the same Course and Section next year, those course sections will automatically be considered mapped and associated gradebook items will be retained.

Example:  A teacher may be teaching Math section 01 this year, but next year they will be teaching Math section 03.  They can match their Math section 01 to next year's Math section 03.

Teachers that do not have their course sections mapped to a corresponding next year course section will have the following gradebook items cleared:
    - Gradebook Preferences for unmapped course sections
    - Gradebook Assessments for unmapped course sections
    - Gradebook Assessments no longer associated with any course section
    - Gradebook Categories no longer associated with any assessments

Setting BC Trax Month Field (BC Schools Only)

When determining the Trax month for a student and a course, PCR Educator will first look at the student course override for the student, then the course month (specified on the course), and then the mark type exam percent's month or mark type school percent's month.  Setting the BC Trax Month for a  Mark Type Marking Period involves Configuring Mark Types associated with the courses.

Scheduling Next Year 

Please confirm with the individuals responsible for scheduling each division that they have completed scheduling, or have at least copied the minimum required to next year.  Note:  The master schedule builder and master load student functions are only available as Next Year functions.  If any school division still requires use of these functions, do not close the school year.

Every academic division which contains scheduling information should complete these tasks prior to Closing the School Year:
1.  Copy the existing Blocks to next year.
2.  Copy the existing Period Codes / period code groups to next year.
3.  Copy the Course Sections to next year.
Note:  If these are not copied, then the school division will be creating entirely new ones after the close.

Note: You can set up daily rotations for next year in the current year configuration.  You can do this by going to Scheduling > Blocks > Daily Rotation.  When you close the school year, all rotation days assigned to dates prior to the close of the year will be removed and all future rotation dates will be kept intact.

If there are items that have not been taken care of or that need to be adjusted, you can exit the wizard and attend to those items. You may also click one of the links on this step to take you directly to the records in the current school division.

The chart at the bottom of this step indicates the existing blocks, period codes, and sections for each division. Please make sure that you have either copied that data or built new data for all divisions for the upcoming school year for any divisions which have schedules.

Fixing Different Courses with the Same Name 

This step is to help you clean the data that will be placed into historical marks for the students. If there are no students and courses listed, you may proceed to the next step. 

If a student has two or more courses with the same name but different ids, these will be recorded as multiple different records in historical marks, and these records will show as 2 or more separate lines on the transcript.  Example: A student has grades for courses Algebra I - ID 123 and Algebra I - ID 456. The student will have 2 rows appearing on the transcript, both showing “Algebra I.”

- You have the option to export the list and correct the records records after the close.

- You have the option to leave the wizard and handle the courses prior to the close.  Options might include:
    1. Moving all report card grades to one version of the course
    2. Manually recording a historical record for the student regarding this course, then removing their grades from the current year courses.
    3. Migrating Single Student Current Year Marks to History and correcting the historical record.

Confirming Include on Transcript 


The “Include on Transcript” step allows you to locate courses which might be incorrectly excluded from transcripts and history.

The grid shows courses that have mark types that would ordinarily be found in historical marks (Term or Final grades) but the checkbox Include on Transcript is unchecked (which means that the grades would not be moved to history if the setting is not fixed).

The checkbox can be checked directly in the grid.

Reviewing Orphaned Grades

A student may have switched from one section of a course to another without using the “Transfer” button on the Conflicts screen.  In the case of a course set up as a single semester course, both the Orphaned grade and the student current grade (if any) will both be moved to history.  In the case of a full year course, one of the marks will be chosen arbitrarily.  Review any marks appearing in this list and note the “Orphaned?” column.  Note: If the “Orphaned?” column says “yes” then the student is no longer enrolled in that section of the course for that marking period.

If the student has both an Orphaned and non-Orphaned mark for the same course name, the orphaned mark should usually be deleted.

Note: This step shows any students who have more than one grade for the same course and marking period, but different section.  A student may be legitimately taking multiple different sections of the same single semester course.

Reviewing Grades to History 

Historical Marks are those grades that will be saved and used for future transcripts for your students.  The “Reviewing Grades to History” step lists all the grades that will be archived to history.

The listing in the wizard is performed by Division and then by the Mark Types associated with each grade. Check to make sure that the grades will be placed into history correctly.  Note: It is difficult to fix them once they have been archived by Closing the School Year, though there are methods for Updating Historical Marks individually and in bulk.

For Coordinators who are Closing the School Year, make sure that the staff in each division works with you and has “signed off” on this data to ensure that the grades are properly stored. 

Review the total number of marks to be moved, particularly for any counts that seem unusually low or different.  This could indicate that a new courses' mark types were not set up properly.  Otherwise, confirm that the totals for the various grade types are consistent with the number of students taking graded courses.

Note:  Term grades for course sections meeting only one term will be copied to the final grade for the course section unless a separate final grade mark type is present.

Note:  If you make changes when Configuring Mark Types, double check the Confirming Include on Transcript step doesn't include new courses.

Reviewing Attendance to History

This step highlights the Attendance Types that will be summarized into history for transcripts.

The four types of daily attendance that are summarized are Absent Excused, Absent Unexcused, Late Excused, and Late Unexcused based on their Historical Meaning.  Attendance types without a Historical Meaning are not summarized.  If you have daily attendance types that do not have historical meaning showing on this step and that need to be stored, please modify those records here.  Note: Period attendance is not summarized to history.  Note:  Period Attendance can be converted to Daily Attendance by navigating to Admin > Attendance > Period Attendance, selecting the desired period attendance records, and using the “Generate Daily” multi-action.

Fixing Overlapping Marking Periods 

Overlapping marking periods are not permitted.  A daily attendance record that appears during an overlap would be counted multiple times - once for each overlapping marking period.  The marking periods are shown by division with the overlapping periods shown side by side.

To correct bad data in the marking period information, leave the wizard and fix the overlaps in the Marking Period Info

Archiving Database

All previous steps in the wizard should be completed prior to completing this step and all divisions should be finished with any data corrections before completing this step.

This step directs you to contact PCR Educator to request that our representatives archive your database.  Note:  You do not need to remain on this page while waiting for the archive to be made.  Note: It may take up to 1 business day to create the archive. 

Once the archive is made, you are able to proceed to the step for Closing the School Year.

Closing the Database Year Step

This step will Close the School Year and is not reversible. 

Number of Days School was in session - If your school lists the number of school days on transcripts, please make sure to enter the correct number in the box provided. 180 is the default number displayed.

When you are ready, press the Finish button to proceed.  Note: Depending on the amount of data involved, the closing process can take several minutes.  PCR Educator recommends performing this step during off hours for your school. Note:  Do not press the back button on your browser or close your browser.  Please wait patiently until you are directed to the last step to confirm that the close was successful.

Note:  If an error is reported during the close process. Please contact Support at 301-947-7380.

Reviewing Post-Close Checklist 

After Closing the Database Year Step is finished, please complete the following steps to ready the database for the next Academic Year.
1. Confirm the student status' for the current year.  Corrections can be made by Recording Student Actions
2. Confirm Homerooms and Advisors for students
3. Update year specific attributes if applicable.  Example: You may be tracking Student groups through attributes.
4. Update the Marking Period Info for the new year
5. Update the Daily Rotation
6. If you are using development, check development campaigns.  Make sure you have the next year Annual Fund created if applicable.  Note: Development fiscal years are independent of the school year and do not get updated through this Close of the Year Process.  This is only a reminder.  Annual Fund campaigns may be created at any time.
7. If you are using Development, run the Alumni Wizard for graduating students.
8. Update online donations to use new year campaigns/products.
9. Check the admissions academic year in School Info
    - Check the Apply Online Academic Years for your Inquiry/Apply Online
    - Follow Advancing Admissions Records for the next admissions year if applicable.
10. Delete/deactivate old Users.  Note: The User article has important information on handling staff users.
11. Remove Purchase Options for former students/faculty

Note: After Closing the School Year, every student's grade next year will be the same as their current grade.  This is desirable because of how the (Re) Enrollment Contract works. The (Re) Enrollment Contract Profiles should be looking at the grade next year field to determine which version of the (Re) Enrollment Contract is shown to the parents. If your (Re) Enrollment Contract Profiles operate like this, then you should wait before Advancing Student Grades in the new year until you stop accepting contracts for the new academic year.

Note: After Closing the School Year, the School Year is Closed checkbox will automatically be checked in the (Re) Enrollment Contract Application Setup and the (Re) Enrollment Forms Application Setup.
 
PCR Educator K-12 School Information System is an online database engineered for independent and private schools to deliver the highest level of flexibility, unique experience, transparent communication and customized design. Being a complete cloud-based solution, PCR Educator system guarantees convenient access anytime, anywhere.

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