Last updated 9/4/20 at 3:20 pm


New features have been added to Aeries to assist districts in tracking student attendance, engagement and participation in order to meet the requirements of SB-98 during the 20-21 school year. There are several components that will go into the successful documentation of Daily Participation and Weekly Engagement reporting.


TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview  


This article demonstrates how to set up and use the new Aeries Attendance features added specifically to track Distance Learning during the 2020-2021 Pandemic school year. The CDE has recommended creating new Attendance Codes (also referred to as Absence Codes) specifically for Distance Learning to help track engagement. The CDE is particularly interested in tracking students who do not engage in Distance Learning on a regular basis, and there are requirements for a re-engagement plan for students who are not engaged for 60% of the distance learning days. 


Attendance Codes  


The page to add and/or edit Absence codes can be found at Attendance Accounting > Configurations> Update Absence Codes.


NOTE:  Prior to receiving updated guidance from CDE on tracking participation and engagement, we had recommended creating several new Attendance Codes to try and handle the anticipated reporting requirements. After consultation with CDE regarding the published requirements, we have now refined our suggestions below, placing lesser emphasis on Attendance Codes and more on Attendance Notes. 


We recommend establishing at least one additional Absence Code to track specifically students who do not engage in Distance Learning on a given day of instruction: 

  • DL-Not Engaged: This code will allow tracking of students who are persistently Not Engaged and may need to be place on a re-engagement plan. This code will make it easy to comply with SB-98 requirements.
    • The teachers should enter an Unverified Absence code (usually "A") for any student who is not present when expected, either via Distance Learning or On Campus. 
    • If subsequent attendance verification procedures do not identify a valid reason for the student's non-engagement at any time during that school day, and and there is no parent contact, the "A" code should be changed to DL-Not Engaged as an Unexcused Absence-Verified.

If your district wants more granular data on absences specifically related to Distance Learning, you may want to consider additional Absence Codes. Here are some suggestions:


  • Distance Learning-Excused: Reasons for this code would be for lack of internet or equipment, if the student does not have control, or any other reason determined by the school board.
    • If the School Board desires more granularity to track specific reasons for the Distance learning-Excused absences, Attendance Notes could also be used.
  • Distance Learning-Unexcused: If attendance verification procedures result in contact with the student or parent, but the absence reason does not qualify for an Excused absence, the DL-Unexcused code should be used

    • If the School Board desires more granularity to track specific reasons for the Distance learning-Excused absences, Attendance Notes could also be used.

  • DL-Engaged: (Verified Not Absent) This code is for Teachers to document that a student was engaged in distance Learning at some point during the day.
    • If more refinement is desired, instead of Distance Learning-Engaged,  you could create separate codes for DL-Synchronous and DL-Asynchronous.

  • On Campus (Verified Not Absent) 

    • This code allows Teachers to document students who were physically present at some point during the school day. This could be useful for Hybrid situations where one group of the students are engaged via Distance Learning and another group are on campus during the same school day.

Here is an example of how to set up the Distance Learning-Not Engaged Code:



Once they have been added to a school, the Push/Pull Setup Tables process can be used to copy them to other similar schools. The same codes should be used at all schools, so there is not confusion of what the codes mean when analyzed at the district level.  Click on the link for more information on this topic: Push and Pull Setup Tables.


Attendance Notes  


Attendance Notes are fully customizable, and can be used by the teachers to document how they engage with a student each day. Attendance Notes are managed on School Info > Configurations> Update Code Table. by selecting Table-ATN and Field-CD, Any codes edited or added to Attendance Notes will be available at all schools in the district. 


Here are the ones Aeries created to document the various ways the teacher could engage with the students during Distance Learning:


Click on the link for more information on this topic: Attendance Notes


Portal Options  


Once the new Attendance Codes and Attendance Notes are defined, they can be enabled on the Portal Options page for each school to allow teachers to assign these codes to their students daily. They are found under School Info > Portal Management > Portal Options and must be set separately for each school. 



Here are the options that should be set up and/or reviewed:


Attendance Tab SectionOption NameNotes
Date Range 

# of Days Teacher Can Back Post Attendance

Increase the value from 0 days based on district guidelines

Attendance Codes

Additional ATT Codes  Populate with the new attendance codes (ABS.CD) to allow teachers to select new codes (up to 5)   
Student Fields on Attendance Screen    STU table fields OnlyPopulate with the designated STU field(s) for grouping students  (up to 5)    
ATT Note Codes for Quick Entry    Enter Attendance Note Codes (ATN.CD) separated by commas    Allows teacher to change Verified codes already submitted - Optional, please discuss with admin
Other Attendance Options    Allow Teachers to override verified absences    Allows teacher to change Verified codes already submitted - Optional, please discuss with admin

Teachers can Add & Update Attendance Notes    

Necessary if you have created and identified Quick Attendance Notes for teachers to use.


Teachers Can View Attendance Notes Added by Others

Could be valuable in secondary schools. Attendance Notes Documentation


Click on the link for more information on this topic: Portal Options-Attendance


Full rights to the Attendance Notes table (ATN) also need to be given to the Teacher Portal Group, including Mass Update if that function is going to be allowed for the teachers.



Class Attendance Page  


When the day or class begins, the teachers are required to take attendance as they normally would, and use the designated Unverified Absence code (usually "A") to indicate that the student was not present as expected, either On Campus or via Distance Learning. 


This Unverified Absence code should be updated to the appropriate Verified Absence Code as part of the normal Absence Verification Process. If it was for a day of Distance Learning, and there was no subsequent contact with the student or parent, it should be changed to Distance Learning-Not Engaged (Unexcused Absence-Verified). This will allow schools to track students who may need to be placed on a re-engagement plan. 


Also, the Additional STU fields that are visible on the Class Attendance page are now sortable, to assist teachers who have students in a class with different learning methods for that day to sort them together. 



In the Attendance Notes section, the teacher can click on all the different ways that they engaged with a student on a specific day. As long as the student engaged in some fashion during the day, they are NOT considered absent for that day. 


By using these two enhancements (Additional Absence Codes and Quick Attendance Notes), the students' participation can be tracked to comply with the SB-98 reporting requirements. 


NOTE:  We are working on several enhancements to this area, including the ability to allow teachers to mass add Attendance Code and Attendance Notes.


Attendance Management


The Attendance Management page can be used not only to manage Unverified absences, but can be used to find students with other specific Distance Learning attendance codes: 


Click on the link for more information on this topic: Attendance Management


Reporting

General Absence Reports can be used to track students. Also the general process to verify absences should be followed, but staff should pay attention if the students were expected to attend in person, or via Distance Learning in order to select the correct verified absence code.



NOTE:  We are working on the Student Participation and Weekly Engagement Reporting requirements for SB-98 tracking and hope to release these documents in mid-September.