Excellence in Education ... By Putting Students First.
The Scholar's Choice Update Listing
April 8, 2015
  1. My grades now defaults to the current tri for student / parent view

  2. Missing attendance report excludes teachers for whom admin has filled attendance instead

  3. Layout issue is due to how the scroll bar is displayed on different screen resolutions.  It has been found and fixed, but we can't update the file during the day, and possibly not until tomorrow evening.  My engineer is in the middle of updating the grade book for speed, we can't publish that half-way done for the sake of layout problems.

April 3, 2015


Many updates; please read carefully.  If teachers report layout issues in the grade book, tell them to refresh their browsers.  It is likely some teachers will have caching issues with the new design (#4 below).  Refreshing should fix it, and if it doesn't, clear the cache.
We have settled on a new approach for calculating grades that will stay updated regardless of whether or not teachers use their grade books on a regular basis.  It will take the weekend to implement.
  1. There is a seating chart on the attendance page of the class pages (second tab, next to attendance tab). http://gifx.co/zbn5

  2. It is now nearly impossible for teachers to make recommendations for the wrong year unless they go out of their way to do so.  The scheduling year selection defaults to the next year, which is the year teachers should be making recommendations for.

  3. Teachers can now print a roster from their class pages.  They can choose exactly the fields they would like to appear from options for grade level, picture, homeroom, homeroom teacher, counselor, and blank cells for attendance or notes.

  4. The grade book now scrolls all students under the assignment names, so teachers are able to see the assignment names even when they scroll down.  As mentioned above, some teachers are likely to experience caching issues; tell them to refresh.

  5. When grading standards, teachers can see the standards grades they gave in previous terms so they don't have to go back and forth. http://prntscr.com/6owetb
March 12, 2014


  1. Grade level added to class schedule report.

  2. Attendance summary report added.

  3. Honor roll minimum grade mode added (as opposed to percentage).

  4. DRA scores can exclude grading period benchmark and reflect term administered instead of date administered.

  5. SPED data imported.

  6. Teachers can see attendance tallies in the category modal so they can anticipate grade reduction.  You may get questions about this, and it comes down to reading carefully. If teachers are in the "final" grading period, the attendance summary is for the whole year, and if they are in a specific grading period, then the attendance tallies are for just that term.

  7. Teachers can edit assignment grades in the per-student modal instead of only in the grade book.

  8. Category averages in the modal are ignoring blank grades rather than treating them as zeroes.

  9. Grade book loads faster by loading some students, displaying those that have already loaded, and then continuing to load more students; it displays a "loading" notice while it is working.  This will resolve some standards-based grade books at MDS that were timing out before they loaded and generally improves the user experience.

  10. Report cards that are not an even number of pages add a page to make them print correctly when the user chooses double-sided printing.

January 19, 2015


  1. Dropping grades individually resolved

  2. Grade book speed improved

  3. Absent marks appear red on attendance widget

  4. Attendance report aggregated by daily marks

  5. Attendance letters automated.  I went ahead and built a simple letter generator that will serve your purposes for attendance.  It will need to be expanded upon to work for other types of letters.  I've set up letter templates for each school but only uploaded a letterhead for JB, so you will have to upload the rest of the letterhead images (see the "Letters" tab in the reports area).  This will generate all of the attendance letters with a click instead of secretaries having to fill in those numbers.  See below the options you should pick.  Also, here's a movie: http://gifx.co/7qvr


December 15, 2014


  1. Reporting server: new features

  • Loading and scrolling through large data sets is lightning fast

  • Header stays locked in place as you scroll through the records

  • You can resize the columns by dragging them

  • You can re-order the columns by dragging the heading and dropping it in a new position

  • You can filter the entire data set based on values in one or more columns; just click the arrow to the right of the column name and select the values by which you wish to filter; text below the grid area will report how many results are returned with your selected filters applied.

  • Columns are still sortable by clicking the column heading, including much-improved sorting for numbers and dates.  Note: sorting, filtering, and column re-ordering will not impact data output on CSV or HTML.

  • You can edit values (where applicable) and save your changes right in the report output instead of having to go to users' portal pages.  This should be useful for state reporting.  Once you save these changes, they will be reflected in output on CSV or HTML.

  • Empty cells are highlighted pink to alert you to missing data.

  • Cell validation checks alert you when you have entered invalid data; you cannot save changes or move to another cell until you have corrected the error.

  • Navigate around the grid just like in Excel, using your arrow keys and 'tab' key to move from cell to cell.

  • You can re-size the grid area to show as many or as few records as you like; click the right or bottom edge or the bottom right corner and drag.

  • Transcripts: You asked about withdrawn courses not showing up  I originally defaulted it to exclude withdrawn courses not thinking you'd report them.  I've added a filter at the top so you can select enrollment status to control which courses show up.

  • Transcripts and report cards: CEEB code now showing up.

  • Transcripts and report cards: Course level is now course-driven.  You can manage your course levels in the "Master Course Catalog" area and only from the district context.  Course levels are assigned only in the master course catalog and not editable in the annual catalog.  I have updated the database so all courses reflect their levels based on what they would have been given the assigned grading scale.  I've thought more about your "V" level and went with the abbreviation "Excl." for now, which you can change easily, but I think that communicates better that the grade has been excluded from the GPA than "NL" does.

    December 1, 2014


    1. Grade book: green flash indicates grade has saved correctly, red flash indicates there is an error.  We've added checks to confirm requests are not sent to the database before all data is received, which is what was causing the problem (sometimes, the request was sent too quickly while some data had not yet been received).

    2. Grade book: lowest/highest category scores evaluated by percent rather than points earned

    3. Report card design vastly improved.  You can now choose any order, and page breaks will behave properly.  I've attached a JB report card with the new design; you should let me bulk update the N/As as they do not fit well, and the gray boxes do a more elegant job.  Reordering content can now be done using drag-and-drop rather than entering numbers: I would appreciate if you would share this interface with Kathy; I think she will understand the value of this flexibility; you can design your own cards and change your design at-will.

    4. Transcripts: same design improvements pushed to transcripts also.  I've attached Parish's as an example.  Options to add test scores, attendance summary as percentage of all marks received during full time at school, grading scales, and free-text note added.  Filter improvements.  On both report cards and transcripts, the grading scales to show are determined by student based on which grading scales were used in classes they took.

    5. Transcripts: Credit data-entry complete.  Credit earned is attached to each student's final grade in the course.  If the grade the student received is marked in the grading scale as graduation credit = yes, then I inserted the full credit value in that student's grade record.  If graduation credit = no, I inserted 0 credits.  In the "My Grades" widget, you can alter this value by student.  Going forward, when grade records are saved, students will automatically be assigned either the full value of credits possible or 0 credits in this same fashion, after which you can alter on an individual basis.

    6. In conjunction with the above, I created a "Final" grading period for your 2014-15 school year, added it to AHS, and attached it to every section. Then, I inserted a final grade record for each student for each section in that grading period, which will now update as teachers add new assignments and grades.  In future, remember to create your final grading periods at the beginning of the year, and this will all stay in sync from the start.  You mentioned that you were seeing the same grades in all three trimesters of the current year ... a result of this not being in place ... so, I am still working on cleaning that old data up, but you can print transcripts correctly now before that's done by selecting only "final" grading periods (in-progress or completed) from the grading period selection box.

    7. Transcripts and report cards: Course level is now an option as well.  You set what appears in this column in the abbreviation field in the Grading Scales widget.

    8. Transcripts and report cards: GPA concerns resolved; we were factoring in standards-grades and have removed them.

    9. My Grades widget now shows a visual break down of how the GPA was calculated.  Click on any GPA value, and you'll see the following:  http://prntscr.com/5bgsm5  This snapshot from Ben Jarvis, so you can tell his mother :)  It does look like some individuals did some funky things with entries for credits earned; should any class be worth 10 credits?  There are several I've come across.

    10. Missing attendance report checks dates and terms instead of only the date

    11. SCS Local ID value populated.  I still need to talk to you about how you will map your grades for SCS12 since you do not use the state's letter grades.

    12. EPIMS staff attendance calculations set up.

    13. EPIMS work assignments automated for section assignments; other work assignments must still be entered manually. I'm not filling all fields yet; it's hard to know what the values should be for some of them, so I'd like to talk to you about that.

    November 24, 2014

    1. Report card updates: 

      1. Override grades and comments appearing correctly

      2. Terms ordered by start date

      3. Attendance summary in two columns

      4. Can select which grading scales print (on grading scales tab)

      5. Teacher's name added to header for narrative comments

      6. Formatting: I have fixed some issues, but there are still ways to break the layout.  Chrome, oddly, does not yet support some newer formatting techniques to fix the multi-column problem, so Bryan is currently re-writing the formatting script using another approach.  I hope we'll have it done by the time you need to print these, but for now, keeping the high school order and line count as defaulted and setting the elementary line count to 56 seems to work well.  When Bryan is done, you will have the flexibility to change more of these settings without breaking the layout.

    2. DRA date defaults to today's date

    3. Attendance report revised to show count of same periods with absent marks (loss of credit report).  You can choose  more than one type of mark; the report will be ordered by student, and if you choose more than one mark and some students meet criteria for several marks, then you will have several rows for that student, one right after the other, showing the total for each mark in each period.  All the other features of the attendance report are available to you, like limiting which periods and setting a threshold for the number of marks to return.  http://gifx.co/-J69


    November 21, 2014

    1. DRA test scores can be entered in the teachers' grade books.  I've granted your teachers permission group access to the widget, which is on a new tab in the grade book.   Benchmarks are at the bottom of the page for reference.

    2. You can now separate stock grading comments by school, and only comments for that school appear in the grade book as options.  I've copied over your current comments to the high school.  You can now add more comments and assign them to the desired schools.

    3. MA course code is editable in the course catalog at the school level.

    4. You can now specify the mode for your honor roll generation; minimum average will require that students have at least that average in all courses.  Here's how to set it up: http://gifx.co/4ezl

    5. Re-enrolled students filtered from attendance report
    6. Failure report is available now ("Course Grades" report).  You can either select the specific grades you want to detect or a certain grade below which you want to find all matches (e.g. all grades lower than 50).  http://gifx.co/sNS2

    7. I've copied information from master to this year's course instances and sections.  I spot-checked some high school classes, and it looks like you've got scales and standards correctly assigned.


    November 19, 2014
    1. You can print all students' report cards at once and should never get a white screen

      I'm going to qualify this by saying you can do this with current data load, and I have required that you at least limit results by a grade level.  Printing all students in the school takes too much memory for a single report.  All students in a grade level currently runs about 70 MB, which is a lot.  Filtering by a homeroom teacher reduces the memory load to around 30 MB, which is still a lot, so I encourage you to filter by teacher when possible.  Once you have standards data in for middle and high school and try to run a whole grade level there, we could see even higher memory usage and have to make further adjustments or further limit the number of report cards.

    2. Withdrawn students do not show in standards-based grade book

    3. Final page-breaking issues when printing many report cards at once are resolved

    4. You can now filter by homeroom teacher to generate report cards for kids only belonging to a specific teacher

    5. Behavior report now shows consequence start and end date and duration in days

    6. DRA score display on report cards revised http://prntscr.com/57wiv7 (grade book entry in progress).  Please get me an answer from Kathy on the scoring scale.

    7. Teachers can change from not include in grade book to include

    November 17, 2014


    1. "All" button added for standards grades

    2. You can now print generic labels with any of the data from user data export.  This took longer because I did not make it work just for the DIBELS label request but for any user data, which I think will be more useful in the long run.  It's under the "Labels" report, which now creates both mailing labels and generic labels depending on which options you choose.

    3. You can now set the order for individual standards as well as for the categories of standards.  The individual standard order will be reflected in the grade book, so if your teachers prefer to see standards in a certain order there, you can control it.

    4. Honor roll lists will generate as soon as you add your GPA thresholds, which you can do yourself under "Grading" >> "Honor Roll".

    5. Report cards:
      1. Grading scale display is complete
      2. Homeroom teacher is an option
      3. Next year's teacher is an option
      4. You can add a plain-text note, e.g. to explain the meaning of *, or for any other purpose
      5. DRA score display has been added
      6. You can define the order in which all the sections appear

        You can see all of the options here.  http://prntscr.com/579g9l  I'm down to fixing a few minor layout issues, but since we're going into the school day now, I'll update the server in the evening.

    October 27, 2014


    1. Users can view class pages without logging in.  The non-logged-in view displays the class name and basic information (teacher, room, time), any html/slideshow widgets the teacher posts, and the announcements widget.  To see other content, users have to log in.  Now, it's incumbent on the teachers to add content, or the pages will be boring.  

      I've added a class directory to each school page; we're still making some design improvements to the directory so it's easier to find a particular class.  Please confirm that this resolves at least this part of administration's concern and let me know what else she wants.

    2. Foster children issue is done; e.g. you can include relationship on user data export report.

    3. We think the issue with creating homework drop boxes has been resolved.

    4. You can now create pre-defined comments in a comment bank and allow teachers to use those as report card comments, e.g. "A pleasure to work with; Lacks motivation; etc."  To access the comment bank, look under Grading >> Comments.  To use, the teacher need just click the overall grade, as when they want to override the grade. Users can still modify the pre-defined comments or add to them.

    5. SIMS discontinued fields set to values you indicated.

    6. I've set the SIMS last_name field to report last_name suffix with no punctuation in the suffix as you indicated.  I left punctuation in the last name, e.g. the apostrophe in D'Olimpio.

    7. SIMS now checking and excluding students who entered after indicated attendance date.

    8. I've copied all the courses from 2014-15 back to the 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 school years, so you should be set to continue data entry for transcripts.

    9. Calendar permissions have been restricted for more control: only admins can add events to school/district calendars; only admins and teachers can add events to section calendars.  Eventually, we will do something more sophisticated.



     October 17, 2014

    1. Can now generate progress reports for whole school at once without server load issues

    2. We need to do a little testing once your historical data is complete, but I believe transcripts are set to go.  You can select which grading periods appear on the transcript; I think you will still need to adjust your grading periods to include "Final" periods to get the grade calculations you want.

    3. You can delete narrative comments if you choose by editing and deleting the text from the box

    4. Grade book accepts accented characters in assignment name and description

    5. If you change a grading scale after a course has started, all existing grades will be overwritten with grades from new grading scale

    6. If all of a student's grades have been dropped, no grade is calculated

    7. Log in not required to view phone number in public staff directory

    October 6, 2014

    1. Progress reports are done.  21 students in the high school are missing graduation years.

    2. Include term, day, and period on section_list report

    3. Course description not required in course catalog

    4. Users can set grades for historical classes or change grades for current classes if you grant 'edit' permission on the "My Grades" widget

    5. Guardian contact fields available on user data export report (should solve the printing biographical and parent info for police officers issue)

    6. Grade book: no grade shows if no assignment grades have been entered

    September 29, 2014


    1. Guardian verification random values for students resolved.
    2. On User Data Export, return only guardians with "Lives With" or "Has Custody" status
    3. Handouts updated to check permissions for editing
    4. SIMS export report is up.  I've added a "Summer Withdrawal" checkbox to the enrollment history widget and set all of your 08-07-2014 students to use that.  From now on, you'll use the checkbox instead of us trying to coordinate some date criteria.



    September 25, 2014


    1. Group page for year book created; group template set; to add new groups, you need simply "add group" on the Groups page on the admin panel.  Moderators are allowed to edit page content in the body area.  (Eric)

    2. Assignment information can be called from grade book for a single student (you saw this earlier this week)

    3. Show/hide inactive students in grade book

    4. Print a list of students on a single bus route or all routes

    5. Settings for how far in past/future class and admin attendance can be edited are now separate settings for period and daily.  You asked about this the other morning, whether 'copying on' would cause daily marks to copy.  No, because I set class page daily editing to '0 days' -- meaning only the current day.  But should you want copying to occur when teachers change past/present period marks, you can do so, and you would change this value to allow it.  http://prntscr.com/4q4n43

    6. EPIMS fields SR13-17 set to "99 - Not Applicable" and "0%"; SR28-35 set to "99 - Not Applicable."

    7. Data issue with AHS course 2612-2 resolved.

    8. Now showing attendance records for withdrawn students on their portals.

    9. "View" permissions access now displays the portal link in the directory.

    10. There are settings under Concern Types and Incident Management to choose whether or not staff have the option to notify parents when submitting concerns/incidents.  You can also choose whether or not students and parents accessing the portal can see narrative comments.  Staff at the school will be able to see the comments regardless, so if a staff member is a parent at the same school his/her child attends, then s/he will be able to see those comments either way, but if the staff member's child attends some school in the district where the staff member does not work, then those comments will be blocked if you choose not to show them.



    September 15, 2014


    1. SQL error when users copy assignment from one class to another resolved (Eric)

    2. Faculty directory on site pages keeps its filters (Eric)

    3. Parent usernames have been assigned.  I did firstnamelastname (just like this; all lowercase) and removed spaces, periods, and apostrophes.  I thought some more about how to make the names unique and decided to append the system's user_id to the end.  I don't think it's too much to ask them to remember a 4- or 5-digit number if they aren't going to use an email address (which is the ideal).  I've attached a spreadsheet with the assignments.  This still requires some clean up as there are names with notes included like relationships or "do not use" notes.

    4. Free & Reduced Lunch: all of the students who are already marked for free and reduced lunch (565 actively-enrolled students) show up on that page (inactive students do not show up) as well as in SIMS, and you can change their status in either place.  I also added a button to print that list as a csv if you do need to give the list to someone else.

    5. Behavior module complete.  This includes several parts.  There is the incident / consequence set-up and incident management (for admins).  There is the "submit incident" page (for staff).  There is the "my behavior" widget on student portal pages; much more limited in terms of the information available; users cannot see actors here to protect identities of all involved.  If you set up incident or point guidelines, consequences will be automatically assigned as you specify (counters are reset once a consequence has been assigned).  Otherwise, consequences are manually assigned on the student portal page from the behavior widget.  If you check the box to notify parents, we send an email to the parents who are marked as "receives mailings" and send to their primary email address.

    6. Concerns/commendations module also set up, and need you to enter your concern types; there is a corresponding widget on the student's portal page that shows concerns entered relating to them.  As with behavior, if you check the box to notify parents, we send an email to the parents who are marked as "receives mailings" and send to their primary email address.

    7. Grading scales set up and ready to be assigned to courses; regarding pass/fail graded courses, we should talk once more.  Massachusetts fields (course_code, instructional_level, and credit_type) have all been moved to master catalog.  So, when you go to edit, you can edit those fields, course description, grading scale, and grade settings all from within the master catalog.  When you are set with this, we will copy those settings to this year's courses since they have already been imported, and next year, it will take care of itself because we'll be doing it in the right order from the start.

    8. You can set (in "Attendance Setup") the option that marks made on the admin panel may not be changed on class pages.  This should answer the request to make Lisa "gatekeeper," and the feature can be turned on/off (at the district level).  Teachers will see that the mark is not editable if they attempt to change it.  Note, however, that this will not prevent teachers from changing a period mark and having that mark copy to the daily mark if the period or daily mark was not set on the admin panel (e.g. the daily mark was originally set through the copying mechanism and no admin has made any change).  If a mark is set while the lock is on, it will remain uneditable by teachers when the lock is turned off.

    September 4, 2014


    1. Section rosters report now includes term, day, and period filters.  Leave any of the options blank to return all sections.  All filters are cumulative.  If you select term and teacher, you will get that teacher's sections in that term, etc.

    2. I also broke out relationship permissions by page type (profile vs. portal) which is an extra level of control I believe you need.  I think I have things set as you would like, but you may want to check the page with the checkboxes again (in the permissions area) and make sure that makes sense for you.

    3. Text color change selection fixed. (Eric)

    4. From your list last night:
    • Added course filter to master and school catalogs
    • Changed homeroom and grade level display on user export report



     September 3, 2014

    1. Section rosters report now includes term, day, and period filters.  Leave any of the options blank to return all sections.  All filters are cumulative.  If you select term and teacher, you will get that teacher's sections in that term, etc.

    2. I also broke out relationship permissions by page type (profile vs. portal) which is an extra level of control I believe you need.  I think I have things set as you would like, but you may want to check the page with the checkboxes again (in the permissions area) and make sure that makes sense for you.

    3. Text color change selection fixed. (Eric)

    4. From your list last night:
    • Added course filter to master and school catalogs
    • Changed homeroom and grade level display on user export report

    September 2, 2014


    1. You can now filter to one or more specific users on the attendance widget

    2. Resolved file upload regressions due to DNS

    3. Max. file upload size increased to 25MB (increasing handouts file size restriction)

    4. Locker number added to user schedule report

    5. Local ID is not editable on EPIMS when using TSC system ID

    6. List of students by homeroom (#3 lunch request) was resolved with print section rosters by course, but I thought I'd call it out here so you're aware

    7. Mailing label spacing fixed; be sure to NOT select "fit to page" when printing (which Chrome selects by default)

    8. Report filter automatically collapses on filter submission to maximize space

    9. Teachers can now add assignment categories and grade book colors to multiple sections at the same time

    10. "Missing Attendance" report shows who has not taken attendance on a specific date in one or more selected periods

    11. "Attendance Report" now allows for the selection of particular marks, modes, and periods, as well as the selection of a "threshold" to select users with a minimum number of certain marks in the date range; the report now includes comments and the arrival/dismissal time.  This should also solve Lisa's request to "know when a student misses 5 classes".  She should choose: "All students, Absent marks, Period Mode, no period selection needed, a single date, and 'at least 4 or 5' or whatever number of periods she wants as the threshold".

    12. Co-teachers can now both add and grade assignments

    13. Sections can now be created without meeting times

    14. The "Student Census" report now allows you to tally student by gender across sections or grade level cohorts.  You can run these reports at either the individual school or district level.  This should answer Ailaine's request.  It's kind of interesting to sort on M:F ratio by section in the upper grades.

    15. Grade book can now save '0' grades

    16. iPad usability improved: <select> fields now work

    17. Ms. Mahoney's grade book fixed



    August 28, 2014


    1. Period attendance set up sorted out, and first-of-the-day period marks copy to daily mark

    2. Administrative control over how period marks copy to daily

    3. Dismissal time has been added to attendance

    4. Heading of relevant period is bolded, and others are lighter in color so teachers are alerted to where they should be filling attendance on class page in period mode

    5. Top navigation updated to list courses by term and in period-order

    6. Click the student's name on the attendance interface to see schedule and parents' contact information

    7. Roster report now includes teacher name and room

    8. Roster report can be batched into several or all sections and selected by teacher or course; csv array issue resolved

    9. Roster report can include a number of date columns between a start and end date

    10. Nickname field can be cleared from directory



    August 20, 2014


    1. Report: student and staff schedules can be spooled for all users and all terms

    2. Report: Biographical / Guardian Verification report is done and can be spooled for all students in a school

    3. Report: User Data Export.  This report lets you choose any set of users via filters and then choose from among common data fields to include in an export.  This replaces the "Student Enrollment" report but should still serve that purpose as well as report requests #1, #2, and #4 for lunch.  As regards #2 and #4, you can choose and entry/withdrawal date range here.  We may still need to refine this further or add more field options depending on your needs.

    4. In "Section Search", you can search by house.

    5. In section search results, we are showing the house, and current and max enrollment for each course and indicating full courses with red background and "FULL" indicator by the checkboxes.

    6. If applicable, the student's house assignment is indicated in the "Assigned To" widget.

    7. Concern management is limited by school, but district personnel can see concerns submitted in any school.  New concern types are added at the district level and then used by all schools.



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