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Chancery SMS®

Version 6.3 and higher

Master Scheduling Best Practices for Schools Using Secondary Scheduling

January 2006 CSL - 12647

The Chancery SMS Documentation Team: Sarah Hewson, Karin Jensen, Linda MacShane, Sharon Russell, Trish Vingelis © 2006 Chancery Software Ltd. Information in this document is subject to change and does not represent a commitment on the part of Chancery Software Ltd. For up-to-date information, call Customer Service at 1-800-999-9931. Chancery SMS, Chancery Student Management Solutions, Win School, Mac School, eClass, and Open District are registered trademarks of Chancery Software Ltd. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and Internet Explorer are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. SQL Server is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. Apple, Mac, and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. Crystal Reports is a registered trademark of Business Objects SA.

C ONTENTS

Master Sched uling Best Practices ........ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . 1

Schedule Structure ................................................................................................................ 1 Data Mapping ................................................................................................................... 1 Term Sets ......................................................................................................................... 2 Meeting Patterns .............................................................................................................. 2 Planning Schedules ......................................................................................................... 2 Courses .................................................................................................................................. 4 Course Offerings .............................................................................................................. 5 Course and Alternate Requests ....................................................................................... 5 Course Request Tally ....................................................................................................... 6 Conflict Matrix ............................................................................................................ 8 Teachers ................................................................................................................................ 9 Reservation Labels .......................................................................................................... 9 Placeholder Teachers ...................................................................................................... 9 Teacher Allocations ........................................................................................................ 10 Building the Master Schedule .............................................................................................. 10 Classes ................................................................................................................................ 11 Loading Students ................................................................................................................. 11 Balancing Class Sizes Across Classes .......................................................................... 13 Clearing Student Schedules ........................................................................................... 14

Contents

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Chancery SMS Master Scheduling Best Practices Guide

M ASTER S CHEDULING B EST P RACTICES

The purpose of this document is to provide our customers with "best practices" that will help when creating a master schedule for schools using secondary scheduling in Chancery SMS. For detailed information about scheduling in Chancery SMS, see the Chancery SMS Scheduling Guide.

Schedule Structure

Keep your schedule structure as simple as possible. · If your school uses the same bell schedule every day in the day cycle, use a one-day relative day pattern rather than a days-of-the-week day pattern. With a one-day relative day pattern, you only need to set up the bell schedule and attendance rules for a single day. In general, the fewer days of the week, the better the schedule structure will appear on attendance screens and reports. If your school requires some days to have different bell schedules, use the least number of days possible. Only use multiple scheduling groups if your school really needs to have different bell schedules for different groups of classes. Although multiple scheduling groups gives you the flexibility to group classes, if required, it also increases the complexity of reports and attendance by adding extra sections, page breaks, and columns, and requires longer headings, and so on. Although Chancery SMS is flexible and can accommodate complex scheduling scenarios, consider whether it is necessary to replicate an entire complex schedule in Chancery SMS. For example, if your school uses a complex lunch schedule spread over three periods, you may be able to block those periods for lunch and manually assign lunch periods to students.

·

·

·

Data Mapping

If your school uses data mapping, be sure you understand the scheduling restrictions for data mapping. For more information, see "Data Mapping Constraints for Scheduling" in the Chancery SMS Scheduling Guide.

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Term Sets

Create a term set for each way you want to schedule courses. For example, create a full year term set for courses offered as full year courses and semester term sets for courses offered in semesters. Do not plan to schedule full year courses by using multiple rows of scheduling information (i.e., the Add More Details on the Master Schedule page is for limited, special uses only).

Meeting Patterns

· Create a meeting pattern to accommodate each way you want classes to be scheduled. For example, if you want to schedule classes in double-blocked periods, create meeting patterns that include those periods.

Note Do not use the Add More Detail option on the Master Schedule page to create blocked classes -- blocking periods inside meeting patterns produces much better results.

·

Minimize the number of meeting patterns you create. Unnecessary meeting patterns can make it difficult to analyze problems with your schedules, such as why students did not receive a schedule, and makes it more difficult to set up course offerings. Since meeting pattern codes appear on student and teacher schedules, when you create meeting patterns, enter codes that make sense to counsellors, students, teachers, and parents who use these schedules. For example, use P1 for a meeting pattern that meets in period 1.

Note On Student Schedule and Master Schedule pages, meeting pattern codes sort alphabetically. When creating meeting patterns, use codes that will sort in a logical way on these pages.

·

Planning Schedules

When you create a Planning Calendar, Chancery SMS automatically creates a blank planning schedule. You can create additional planning schedules, as required. Create a new planning schedule for the following reasons:

1

To copy teacher preferences from the Active Calendar. When you create a Planning Calendar, the initial planning schedule does not include the teacher preferences defined in the Active Calendar. Although teacher preferences are not included as an option to copy when you create a planning schedule, they are automatically copied when you create a planning schedule based on the Active Calendar's schedule.

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To copy the schedule structure from the Active Calendar.

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The initial planning schedule does not include the schedule structure defined in the Active Calendar. When you create a new planning schedule, you have the option to specify which elements of the schedule structure you want to copy from the Active Calendar.

3

To try out different scheduling structures. Although multiple planning schedules allow you to try out different meeting patterns, day patterns and so on at your school, this process can require extensive set up activity in each planning schedule. Only use this option if you are familiar with Chancery SMS and are comfortable with the scheduling setup process.

4

To try out different Student Loader options on the same schedule. You can copy the same schedule structure to multiple planning schedules and then change Student Loader options, such as attribute rules, overfill options, and so on in each planning schedule. Then run the Student Loader to determine which options produce the best student schedules.

If you create additional planning schedules, use the following precautions: · Before making changes to the schedule structure or student schedules, make sure you are working in the correct planning schedule. Changes you make in one schedule cannot be copied to other existing planning schedules. Delete any unused planning schedules to avoid confusion. For example, if you create a new planning schedule to copy teacher preferences and scheduling structure from the Active Calendar, delete the initial (blank) planning schedule. If you want to try out different loader options, finish entering student course requests in one planning schedule before creating other planning schedules. Once a planning schedule is created, you cannot copy changes to course requests between planning schedules. For more information about course requests in Planning Calendars, see the table below. Assign one person to work with planning schedules. Assign the permission to change planning schedules to a minimum number of users so you can coordinate working in different planning schedules. If one user changes the planning schedule, it changes for all users.

·

·

·

Creating and switching planning schedules can affect student course requests. The following table describes how actions in the Planning Calendar affect course requests:

Action Effect on Course Requests

Create a planning schedule

Course requests are copied to the new planning schedule from the planning schedule selected when you click New.

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Action

Effect on Course Requests

Create a planning schedule as a copy of an active schedule or historical schedule Create a planning schedule as a copy of another planning schedule Switch to another planning schedule

Course requests are not copied from these schedules because old course requests are not useful in a planning schedule. The course requests in the currently-selected planning calendar are copied to the new planning schedule. All the course requests in the other planning schedule are copied to the new planning schedule. Also, any course requests that only exist in the currently-selected planning schedule are copied to the new planning schedule. For students who have no course requests at all in the destination planning schedule, the planning schedule you switch to will inherit the course requests assigned to the student in the planning schedule you are switching from. Changed course requests are not copied. This allows you to have different planning schedules with different course requests.

Courses

Keep the course catalog and scheduling properties as simple as possible. · To avoid the need to create multiple course numbers to accommodate different types of students, use class constraints to control which students are scheduled into particular classes for a course. For example, rather than creating separate courses for regular math and ESL math, create one math course and assign constraints to the classes created to control where ESL students are scheduled.

Note In other scheduling and grading situations, creating multiple course numbers for similar courses is the best solution. Using constraints when possible allows you to create multiple course numbers when necessary without overloading the course catalog.

·

When setting scheduling properties, be as unrestrictive as possible. For example, specify a room type that a course can be scheduled into rather than specifying a specific room. Also, make sure the course room type is compatible with teacher room preferences. If a teacher's room preference does not match the course room preferences, the Master Schedule Builder will not schedule the teacher to teach that course. If you plan to schedule classes and teachers manually (i.e., you are not using the Schedule Classes option in the Actions menu), it is not necessary to select Room Required and specify Course Room Preferences. You can manually assign classes to rooms even if the Room Required option is not selected.

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Course Offerings

· When you assign term sets to courses, you can specify a default offering, as well as allowed offerings. When you schedule classes, only assign classes to the default offering. For example, if you specify a full year course as the default offering and semesters as an allowed offering, do not schedule classes for the same course as both full year classes and semester classes. Chancery SMS cannot support both credit scenarios using a single course. For more information, see the Chancery SMS Grading Best Practices Guide.

Tip If you want to offer a class as both a full year course and a semester course, create two courses and assign different default offerings to each.

·

If you want to allow students to request part of a full-year course, assign the full-year term set as the default offering and a part-year term set, such as semesters, as the allowed offering. Do not schedule classes in the semester term set. When you enter student course requests, you are able to specify a single semester of the full-year course. To quickly assign the same term sets and meeting patterns to multiple courses, use the Copy link on the Course Offerings page.

·

Course and Alternate Requests

· Do not overload primary requests with the intention of leaving some unscheduled. To give the automatic scheduling processes, like Student Loader, more flexibility for generating student schedules, assign alternate requests. To quickly enter course requests for multiple students, use one of the following methods: · From any Student Search Results page, from the Actions menu, click Assign > Course Requests.

Tip You can also use this method to remove requests for multiple students. For example, if several students requested a course that was subsequently removed from the course offerings for the school, you can select those students and remove that course from their primary or alternate requests.

·

·

In a student's schedule, from the Actions menu, click Copy Fields > Course Requests, to copy the course requests entered for that student to other students.

Note When you copy course requests from one student to another, the course request settings (required/elective status, priority, and term settings) are also copied. You cannot copy alternate requests.

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·

Create a saved list of courses and assign them to students as course requests. If desired, you can even assign the course requests to a saved list of students. When you retrieve a course saved list, you can work with the individual courses in the list; for example, you do not need to assign all the courses in the list as requests for one student.

Tip When courses occur in a sequence (e.g., students who take Math 1 in grade 9, take Math 2 in grade 10), you can create a saved list in the Active Calendar for students in Math 1 and then retrieve the save list in the Planning Calendar and assign Math 2 to the students in the saved list.

·

To import large numbers of course requests that were entered through a different source, use the Chancery SMS import functionality. For example, you may want to import course requests in the following situations: · · · You were using a different system (including Win School or Mac School) and are transferring to Chancery SMS. You want to scan course requests to a file and import them into Chancery SMS. You set up a web interface to a database for on-line entry and need to import the course requests from the database file into Chancery SMS.

For detailed information about using the import functionality, see the Chancery SMS Import/Export Guide. Use the following overall steps to import student course requests:

1 2

Create an import template using the Secondary Scheduling Course Requests record type. Import student course requests using scheduled imports.

Course Request Tally

· Before using the Course Request Tally, make sure course offerings and meeting patterns are assigned to courses. Course do not appear on the Course Request Tally until they have been assigned a default term set and meeting patterns. Use Choose Columns to customize the information displayed on the Course Request Tally page for different stages of the scheduling process. For example, before you build the initial schedule, when your school is having initial departmental discussions about class offerings, materials

·

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required, class placements, and so on, you may want to view the following information: · · · · · · · Course name Course number Number of primary requests Number of alternate requests Number of classes needed Maximum class size Optimal class size

After the initial run of the Student Loader, when you are analyzing which courses need adjustments on the Master Schedule, you may want to view the following information: · · · · · · · · Course Name Course Number Number of primary requests Number of unscheduled primary requests Percentage of scheduled primary requests Number of classes created Average class size Optimal class size

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After subsequent runs of the Student Loader in which alternates were used, when you are analyzing the use of alternates, you may want to view the following information: · · · · · · Course Name Course Number Percentage of alternates used Percentage of primary requests scheduled Number of alternates used Number of unscheduled primary requests

Conflict Matrix

In addition to identifying potential conflicts between courses that students requested, you can use the Conflict Matrix to find incorrect course requests. For example, you can select courses that students should not be taking simultaneously, such as Math courses for the same grade level in the same term. You can also use the Conflict Matrix to quickly determine whether students have duplicate requests for the same course. If your district does not allow duplicate course requests, you can use this information to correct those student's requests before loading schedules. If your school allows duplicate course requests, you can use this information for planning, e.g., to identify the number of students requesting multiples of the same course rather than requesting other courses.

Note At this time, Chancery SMS will not allow students to be scheduled into the same graded course more than once in the same grading period. Students can be scheduled into the same course in different grading periods, e.g., if a student enters two requests for a Phys. ed course, they could be scheduled into Fall semester and Spring semester Phys. ed classes. If a course does not collect grades, students can be scheduled into the course more than once in the same grading period.

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On the Conflict Matrix, duplicate course requests appear on the diagonal.

Numbers that appear in the diagonal indicate the number of students who requested the same course more than once. Click the number to view the students' names.

Teachers

Keep teacher properties as simple as possible: · When setting teacher preferences, be as unrestrictive as possible. For example, add as many rooms as possible to the available rooms list. Also, make sure the teacher room preferences are compatible with the selected course room types. If a teacher's room preference does not match the course room preferences, the Master Schedule Builder will not schedule the teacher to teach that course. If you plan to schedule classes and teachers manually (i.e., you are not using the Schedule Classes button), it is not necessary to specify teacher room preferences.

·

Reservation Labels

Use reservation labels to assign teacher preparation periods and other non-teaching time patterns, such as teacher duty assignments, lunch, and so on.

Note Use teacher time restrictions to indicate when part-time teachers are available. Time restrictions are not tied to a specific schedule and do not print on teacher schedules. If you want to reserve specific periods in a teacher's schedule for other activities such as meetings, lunch, class preparation, and so on, use teacher reservation labels. Reservation labels are tied to the scheduling structure and can be printed on teacher schedules. For more information about setting up reservation labels, see the Chancery SMS Scheduling Guide.

Placeholder Teachers

When working in the Planning Calendar, create placeholder teachers for any positions you plan to have available in the next school year, but have not yet hired for. Set the scheduling load, course and room preferences, and time

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restrictions for the placeholder teacher as applicable. When you hire for the position, you can convert the placeholder to a staff member and transfer the placeholder's scheduling properties to the staff record.

Teacher Allocations

· If you plan to schedule classes and teachers manually (i.e., you are not using the Schedule Classes button), it is not necessary to enter teacher allocations. If you already know what the teacher loads are in your environment, manually enter the numbers on the Teacher Allocations page rather than tweaking the scheduling loads until the numbers on the Teacher Allocations page are correct.

Tip When working on the Teacher Allocations page, use the Tab key to quickly move between fields.

·

·

When allocating teachers to classes, you have two options: By Class or By Teacher. If you enter teacher allocations by class, review the allocations by teacher to ensure that all teachers are allocated to the correct number of classes. If you enter allocations by teacher, review them by class to ensure all classes have been allocated a teacher. To make the FTE numbers easier to work with and understand "at-a-glance", use simple numbers for Course Scheduling Load Factors and Maximum Teaching Load. To see department FTE totals, use the Full Time Equivalent Summary Report.

·

·

Building the Master Schedule

· Schedule the entire school rather than selecting a subset of classes. The scheduling algorithm generally processes singleton classes and other difficult to schedule classes first. If you schedule only a portion of the classes, the Master Schedule Builder bases the schedule only on the selected courses and does not consider the requirements of other classes. As a result, you may be scheduling non-single offerings before singletons and creating potential conflicts for students. Manually schedule "non-negotiable" classes and lock them on the schedule before using Master Schedule Builder. When you run the Master Schedule Builder to schedule the remaining classes, select all classes (both locked and unlocked) so they are all considered by the algorithm when determining conflicts.

·

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Note When you run the Master Schedule Builder, always select all classes for the school (after locking the classes you do not want to change), even if you are only adding one class to the schedule.

·

The Master Schedule Builder assumes that teachers will be fully scheduled (i.e., that teachers will have a class in each period). If there is a lot of excess capacity, it may not create balanced schedules for teachers, for example, most teachers may be heavily scheduled in the first five periods and have no classes in periods 6 and 7. To improve the schedule balance, create reservation labels that represent free periods, teacher prep time, lunch duties, and other activities. Allocate a combination of classes and reservation labels that will "fill" the teachers' schedule for the day.

Classes

· Use reservation labels to create lunch periods for students and teachers, study hall times, student early releases, and so on.

Note If a significant number of the school's courses are in term sets that are less than a full year, assign the reservation labels to the same term sets to provide the flexibility for a student to have, for example, a different lunch period in each term.

·

Do not use the Add More Detail option on the Master Schedule page to create blocked classes. If you want a class to be offered in multiple periods, create a meeting pattern for the blocked periods and assign it to the class.

Tip When working with classes in the Master Schedule Builder, open multiple instances of Chancery SMS so you can move to different pages without losing your place.

Loading Students

· If your school schedules students by teams and you want to assign students to specific teams, use reservation labels. When you use reservation labels to assign students to teams, the team name prints on reports and schedules. The following procedure describes the overall steps required to use reservation labels to assign students to teams. For more information about working with teams, see "Setting Up Team Loading Rules" in the Chancery SMS Scheduling Guide.

1 2

Create a reservation label for each team. For example, Tigers, Lions, and so on. Associate the reservation labels with teams.

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3

Assign a meeting pattern to the reservation label.

Note Create and assign a special meeting pattern that meets outside school hours.

4 5

Assign a primary request for the reservation label to students. Load student schedules

·

Use reservation labels to print counsellor assignments on student schedules and to have a roster of students assigned to each counsellor. The following procedure describes the overall steps required to use reservation labels to assign counsellors. For more information about working with reservation labels, see the Chancery SMS Scheduling Guide.

1 2

Create a student reservation label for each counsellor. For example, C-Mr. Jones, C-Mrs. Smith, and so on. Assign a meeting pattern to the reservation label.

Note Create and assign a special meeting pattern that meets outside school hours.

3 4

Create a class for each counsellor reservation label. Assign a primary request for the reservation label to students. OR Assign a reservation label class to each student.

5

Load student schedules

·

To easily identify students who have not been assign specific classes, assign unique scheduling loads. For example, to identify students who have not been assigned a lunch period, assign a scheduling load of .1 to the lunch class or reservation label. After loading students, students who have .1 added to their scheduled load have been scheduled for a lunch period. When running the Student Loader for the first time, turn off the Use Alternates option on the Student Loader Options page. Disabling this option forces the Student Loader to schedule primary requests only. Turn on the Use Alternates option for subsequent runs of the Student Loader.

Note To save time entering alternate requests, you could run the Student Loader before entering alternate requests. Then, if some students cannot be scheduled into all their primary requests, enter alternate requests only for students without full schedules.

·

·

When the Student Loader attempts to schedule students into classes, it will try a limited number of possible schedules before moving on to another student. Plan to run the student loader several times, each time

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selecting the remaining unscheduled students. This is a way to get the loader to "try a little harder" on the hard to schedule students. The results vary, but several extra runs like this can often squeeze out quite a few more fully scheduled students. · To find unscheduled students, on the Student Loader page, search for students whose Scheduled Load is less than the value you consider to be a full load. OR On the Student Detailed Search page, search for students whose Unscheduled Primary Requests equals true. Create a saved list for those students, then open the saved list on the Student Loader page.

Balancing Class Sizes Across Classes

· After running Student Loader, if you find that some class sizes are not balanced across all available classes (e.g., classes sizes for a course with three available classes are 35, 35, and 20), adjust the maximum size to be closer to the optimal class size and rerun the Student Loader for all students in the changed classes. For example, you might set the maximum class size from 35 to 30.

Tip If, after adjusting class capacities, re-running the Student Loader doesn't produce the results you would like, try creating a new planning schedule as a copy of the current planning schedule and clearing the students' schedules before running the Student Loader. Running the Student Loader without any students scheduled may produce better results. For information about clearing student schedules, see "Clearing Student Schedules" on page 14.

Once the class schedule is created, set the maximum class size back to its original value to avoid receiving overload messages when adding and dropping students throughout the year. · If you are concerned about balancing class sizes for all courses, before you create classes, use the Course Request Tally to adjust the maximum class size so all courses have just enough space for the number of requests you have (e.g., if you have 100 requests and you plan to offer 4 classes, set the maximum class size to 25). After you finish loading student schedules, manually readjust the capacity of each class (through the Master Schedule) back to the "real" level to allow for walk-in scheduling at the start of the school year.

Note If class sizes are not balanced across classes, the number of students may be out of balance due to conflicts in the Master Schedule. Adjusting the class capacities may force one set of classes to balance but throw other classes out of balance.

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Before you invest the time in adjusting capacities as indicated above, make an effort to ensure the problem is not being caused by conflicts on the Master Schedule.

Clearing Student Schedules

If students are scheduled for a class and the meeting pattern for that class is changed, the class appears on the student's schedule in the new meeting pattern, which may conflict with other classes on the student's schedule. To reschedule classes for those students, re-run the Student Loader. If you need to make numerous changes to the meeting patterns assigned to courses that have already been scheduled, you can avoid receiving repeated messages about the effect on student schedules if you clear the students' schedules before changing the meeting patterns. The Student Loader may also produce better results when starting with empty student schedules.

TO CLEAR STUDENT SCHEDULES: 1 2 3 4

Create a course that cannot be scheduled, for example, set the Max Size for the class to zero. Assign a primary course request for the created course to the students whose schedules you want to clear. On the Student Loader Options page, set the "If a student has more than x unscheduled requests, do not schedule at all" option to 1. Run the Student Loader.

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