These FAQs were compiled from the webinars presented on September 1-3, 2020 to announce SB 98 - Aeries Adjustments for Daily Participation and Weekly Engagement Tracking and Reporting for Distance Learning.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- When will planned enhancements be made available?
- The planned changes are the highest priority development being worked on. As items are completed and tested they will be immediately released in an "out-of-band" Aeries Update. The 3 items currently in development (as of 9/1/2020) should be ready for release before 9/10.
- Can you switch from daily to period attendance after school has started?
- Yes, although be aware that the periods for the past days will not be populated. A school may want to go back and clean up information.
- If a district is not approved for electronic attendance, is an application for electronic attendance needed this year (2020-21)?
- A school must only get a letter from their auditor indicating that the school is following the prescribed CDE guidelines. However, once all the settings have been made and approved by their auditors, the district may consider submitting an application to try and get it approved to use in the 21-22 school year, when this special accommodation expires.
- When is a "wet signature" required from teachers?
- If any of the prescribed items from 1-7 can not be achieved for a school or teacher during a specific week, a Daily Participation and Weekly Engagement Report must be printed, filled out, and signed by a teacher. This should should be kept for any possible future audit.
- Are there any changes to Independent Study procedures for the 20-21 school year?
- No, full Independent Study that utilizes asynchronous or online learning systems should follow the normal procedure of teachers assigning attendance days dependent upon submitted packets of work.
- Can data be back-filled to the beginning of the school year?
- Yes. And data SHOULD be back-filled to the beginning of the school year. CDE is fine with back-filling information as these features are being added after the school year has begun.
- Can I have a single section with different students being delivered instruction in different ways.
- This is not recommended. Instructional methods and strategies should be consistent for all students in a section. In necessary, multiple sections in a single teacher-period can be created. This is also important for state reporting purposes.
- Does the All Day Code need to be maintained this year in period attendance schools?
- You can, but technically it is not necessary. CALPADS reporting of STAS data this year will support analyzing attendance based on periods instead of the all-day code. Additionally, truancy reports can also process period attendance data.
- If we are already approved to use electronic attendance with a certain time frame for teachers to take attendance and we change that this year so that teachers can change attendance throughout the day do we need to submit a new form to our county auditors?
- The rules have been relaxed this year to allow some backdating of attendance in order to allow teachers to accurately track engagement across several systems. This is only possible because attendance will NOT be a factor in calculating ADA this year. The CDE will provide Audit guidance allowing this for the current year ONLY. It is important that the original teacher attendance settings should be changed back at the end of this year.
Class Calendars ↑
- Are Class Calendars in Aeries the only way to track the types of instruction being given each day.
- No, your teachers can record this information in the Aeries Gradebook or could use specific Attendance Codes or Attendance Notes Codes. An external system could also be used.
- Who completes the class calendar? Teachers? Office Staff? How many class calendars can be created?
- It is designed for Office Staff to create them and assign them to the teachers/sections. Although an unlimited number of Class Calendars can be created, they do NOT need to be unique to each teacher or section. They are designed to document what days the class/section meets each specific week, and what methods of learning took place on that week. If the school or district has made decisions specifying how different groups will be handled, i.e. Group A attends in person Mon/Wed and participates in DL on the other days, Group B attends in person Tue/Thu and participates in DL on the other days, and Group C participates in DL on all 5 days, only 3 Class Calendars are needed, and should be assigned to the classes/sections that they apply to. If the instructional day is going to have some portion of DL occurring synchronously, and some portion asynchronously, then both selections should be made with choosing "Partial"
- How do Class Calendars work for Elementary Schools w/o a Master Schedule?
- Class Calendars will be able to be assigned to the TCH record.
- How can I set Class Calendars in mass?
- Aeries Query can be used to change the "Class Calendar Sequence Number" field in the MST table (and TCH table in Elementary Schools).
- If we are using calendars to identify sync/asyn days, do teacher still need to mark attendance notes with sync/async?
- The purpose of the Class Calendar is to specify what METHODS of Distance Learning engagement were offered. The purpose of the Attendance Notes is to record the means by which each individual student was present and how they engaged.
- Do assignments need to include their delivery method (In-Person, DL Async, DL Sync)?
- No. Recording this information on the Class Calendar is enough.
- Do assignments need to include the amount of instructional time they account for?
- No. Teachers must only certify that what they assigned represented a full day or full class worth of instruction. They do not need to detail how their assignments added up to that amount.
- How should a teacher handle days when no student work product is assigned (ie, days when there is only instruction and learning)?
- It is recommended that the teacher indicate that on their daily lesson plan or syllabus. The teacher may also create a no-credit assignment indicating what occurred on that day. An attendance Notes may also be used to record this information.
Teacher Attendance ↑
- Can we change an attendance code to Distance Learning Engaged if the student was previously marked absent (or Not Engaged) but made up the work?
- No. Students who do not work on assignments on the day they are assigned are still considered Not Engaged, even if that work is performed on a different day. The purpose of tracking Daily Engagement is to ensure students are actively engaged in classes every day. Work done by students on the date assigned can still count towards that day for Engagement even if the teacher does not evaluate or know about that work until afterward. It is in those circumstances that teachers can be allowed to back post attendance to previous days.
- Is it necessary to use unique attendance codes for In-Person, Distance Learning Asynchronous and Distance Learning Synchronous?
- No, as long as Class Calendar information is maintained to indicate the type of instruction on a given day in a given class. Attendance Notes can also be used to identify specific types of positive and negative attendance. That all being said, a school/district can choose to have different attendance codes for different instructional models if they do not wish to perform these other data management tasks. A school might also have other local reasons for needing or wanting to use specific attendance codes.
- Which Absence Codes recommended are necessary and which are optional. I'm running out of available codes (alpha and numeric)
- You must create an absence code for Distance Learning-Not Engaged (ADA=N, Unexcused Absence, Verified). That code should only be used for students who do not have any interaction with the learning environment and the teacher/staff have had no contact from the parent/student on a given day of distance learning instruction. SB-98 requires that districts implement a re-engagement plan for students who are not engaged in 60% or more of their distance learning days. The other codes are optional, and it is a local decision on how much granularity they would like to have. The only other regulation in SB-98 specifies that a student must be given an Excused Absence for a day of distance learning instruction if they are unable to connect because they have no internet access or don't have a device capable of accessing the distance learning opportunities.
- Is Positive Attendance Required?
- No. With a well maintained set of Class Calendars and with an appropriate set of Attendance Notes, positive attendance is not required. Changing to Positive Attendance has other ramifications that needs to be looked at before making the decision. Areas such as being subject to Hourly requirements vs. Daily requirements, different/missing reports, Portal Options, etc. We are going to add the ability for districts to choose to allow teachers to Mass Add Attendance Codes and/or Attendance Notes to make the process easier without the need to switch to Positive Attendance.
- What constitutes "Engaged"?
- The CDE FAQ (https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/pa/pafaqs.asp) has some good information on this. Another word that can be used is "Participate". This can include participating in a video conference, logging in to an LMS, working on assignments or assessments, or following the prescribed instructions given by a teacher.
- Can I still take Daily Attendance if my students go to multiple teachers each day.
- In the past, if a Primary Teacher was responsible for recording a student's attendance each day, that same role can certify the same type of information this year for their students. We do caution that schools with departmentalized classes are generally recommended to use Period Attendance. Individual auditors may have issues with daily attendance in departmentalized instruction schools.
- Can we use our already existing unexcused and excused codes for distance learning not engaged excused/unexcused?
- Yes, it is a local decision on what absence codes they feel will work for them. However, we would still encourage a separate code for Distance Learning-Not Engaged so those students can easily be identified for potential re-engagement activities.
- With the changing guidance, what if we started using a separate Attendance Code for Distance Learning-Synchronous and Distance Learning-Asynchronous and we now want to delete those and just use DL-Engaged for the attendance codes, and use the Quick Notes for further breakdown. What's best way to handle this?
- Since these codes were just created in this year's database, you can delete ones you no longer feel are necessary. However, you should do some clean-up first by changing any existing student ATT records with those codes to the new desired code, make sure to remove those additional ATT codes form the teacher portal so the teachers can no longer use them before you delete the Absence code. Also, don't forget to run the Attendance History process when you are finished with all the changes.
- Is there a way to check that every student has an attendance code in their attendance box without going through every class/every period?
- We are checking into creating a Missing Attendance report that could be used in negative attendance situations, but it is still in the research stage.
CDE FAQ Pages ↑
Assessments - COVID–19 Assessment FAQs
Accountability - COVID-19 Accountability FAQs
Distance Learning - Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions
Principal Apportionment - 2020–21 Funding and Instructional Time FAQs
English Learners - English Learner Services During COVID-19 FAQs