Version 2.0 - Automated Report Broadcasting Module - User Guide

Thank you for choosing the Alert Solutions’ Report Broadcasting Module for PowerSchool!  This module will help your school reduce paper, ink and mailing expenses by emailing documents to student families directly from within PowerSchool.

The following is a step-by-step tutorial that will guide you through the Automated Report Broadcasting feature.  If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us at (800) 929-1643 or by email at Support@alertsolutions.com.  Training may be scheduled at www.alertsolutions.com/training.

1.       To get started, begin by logging into PowerSchool and click on System Reports or ReportWorks depending on the type of report you wish to use.  The following walks you through the report setup using a PS default sample report.  Watermark overlays are not supported for automated reports with Alert Solutions.  

a.       Now click on the Setup tab. 

b.      Next, click on Report Cards to see the list of sample templates.  


 

c.       We will be using Sample – HS Report Card for example purposes.  Click on Sample – HS Report Card.

 

2.       The screen shown below will then appear.  You will see the template setup.   Notice the StudentID: Student_Number must be on the template.  Below it is shown in the Heading

 

If needed, Heading could be edited to include this information.   To do so, follow these steps:

a.       Click Heading.    Add the coding needed to have StudentID: Student_Number merged onto the first page of each result file.  StudentID must be all one word, all together and is case-sensitive.  Be sure to follow this with a colon (:).  If you do not want the StudentID:Student_Number visible to parents, use white font when adding it to the template.  The format may be similar to one of the following and it is recommended that it be added to the templates header (although not required):

                                                                                                   i.      <studentID>StudentID:^(Student_Number)</studentID>

                                                                                                 ii.      StudentID: ~(Student_Number)

                                                                                                iii.      StudentID: ^(Student_Number)

                                                                                               iv.      StudentID:@ID. Student_Number@

 

3.       Now, run the report for the student(s) desired.  If you are not familiar with running PowerSchool reports, I recommend scheduling a training class at http://www.alertsolutions.com/training  for additional assistance.  Reports may be run for individual students, groups of students, the entire school or grade.   

Note: Some users like to practice this process by choosing a staff member’s child or using a test student.  To practice, you may wish to update a student’s information to your contact information temporarily.   If you do not have the option to Print a Report, please contact your technical team to receive the correct PowerSchool security permissions.

4.       From the Report Queue Job Detail screen shown below, once the Report Job is shown as complete (refresh as needed), click on the appropriate Job Name, example Sample – HS Report Card

a.       Click on the Result File, Sample_-_HS_Report_Card.pdf.    You may right click to save or mouse over the page (in certain browsers) to save the PDF to your computer.  You will need to retrieve this file soon, so save it in a folder that is easy to locate again.  

b.      Once saved, click the back button in your browser to return to PowerSchool if needed.

5.       Once back in PowerSchool, go to Alert Solutions.   From the drop-down menu in Alert Solutions, select Report Broadcast.

  

6.       Once on the Report Broadcast Page, choose +Create New Report Broadcast.

7.       Next complete the following fields:

a.       The Name is the internal tracking name that will show on the Report Broadcast page once submitted.

b.      Click Choose File and Upload the PDF file just downloaded.

c.       The Attachment Name Template is optional and allows you to choose how the attached report will display for recipients.  If not completed, the attachment will default to the name of the file upload. Note: Merge fields may not be used in the attachment name.  This will result in an error.

d.      The Confirmation Email Address should be completed with the email address of the person who will review a sample and approve prior to sending to parents and guardians.

e.      The PDF Password is optional but highly recommended. This allows the attachment to be password protected upon receipt of the parents.  You may use one of the following as the file’s password:  %%Student_Number%% or %%DOB|dateformat:MM/dd/yyyy%%.  This would require parents and guardians to enter in either the student’s Student_Number from PowerSchool or their date-of-birth in MM/dd/yyyy format.

8.       Next, complete the message content:

 

a.       Choose a Message Category for the broadcast.  The message will be sent according to the contact preferences of the user based on the category chosen.

b.      Verify or Enter the From Email:  This must be a valid email address you wish parents and guardians to see the report coming from when delivered to their inbox.

c.       Display Name:  The name of the school or the name you wish displayed in the inbox.

d.      Email Subject Line for the message.  We suggest using %%First_Name%% in the subject for parents of multiple children.

e.      The Reply-To Address should be an email address you wish parents and guardians to see should a reply to the report be desired.  

f.        Enter your address to receive a Confirmation Email.  This allows you to review a sample of the PDFattached as parents will see it.

g.       If desired, Insert a Template into the message editor.   These are pulled directly from your File Library and should be created first if planning to use.    You may also type the body of the email in directly here.   Note: The email must have something in the body field.

h.      Lastly, click Save.  You will be reverted back to the primary Report Broadcast Screen.

9.       After clicking Save, you will be reverted back to the primary report page.  You will also be receiving the email confirmation momentarily.  This process may take several minutes depending on the number of students contained in the report fileNote: If you do not see the email, be sure to also check your junk folder.

The email confirmation will include a list of expected recipients, any students whose families cannot be contacted and a sample of the email and PDF being sent.   If submitted with password protection, the sample will also be password protected and you will need the data of the first student listed to open.   If the sample is correct and you wish to send the report, go back to Alert Solutions.  Click the Report Broadcast menu again to reload the screen.    Choose Confirm Send next to the appropriate report listed

10.   The status will change to Sending Report once Confirm Send has been clicked.  

After refreshing, the status will change to Report Sent once all emails have been processed.  Depending on the number of students, this could be immediate or may take up to several minutes.

Note: If practicing with sending to yourself, check your email and you should have the actual report card that is password protected. 


11.   As mentioned, the file is password protected.   In this example, I have chosen to use %%Student_Number%% as the password.   For this example, the password is 1031 which is also the student’s Student_Number. For samples received, the password will belong to the first student or first row of the sample CSV attached to the confirmation email.

 

The final report will appear as follows:


http://images.blifax.com/images/logos/SalMar5935/filelib_757106/Reports12.png

The Automated Reports Module can be used for much more than just report cards!  This application can be used to send virtually any PDF the school or district can merge in StudentID: Student_Number.  The reports do not have to come from PowerSchool. 

Tips to Help Streamline this Process:

 1. Don’t Wait Until Friday to Send

This is a peak time for most users, and because every email is a unique process, it can take longer to receive confirmations.

 2. Send in Small Batches Throughout the Day

We do not remove duplicate emails for Automated Reports due to siblings. Some email providers may block a second email to the same address if sent within a tight timeframe. Try batch sending report cards by grade with slightly different send times.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. My report has been in status ‘New’ for over 1 hour.  Why is that?

This can be caused by a bad merge field in the body or subject.   Please resubmit your report and utilize the drop-down menu to enter merge fields.  Email support@alertsolutions.com if the message does not go to confirmation upon the 2nd attempt.  Please provide the building name, full report name and approximate time of submission with your correspondence.

2. My report shows only a few students with valid contact information or none at all.  Why is that? 

This can be due to a couple things.  First, look at the PowerSchool email field(s) that you have data entered in and confirm that it matches with the mapping in Alert Solutions (Admin Rights > Settings > Partner Integrations > PowerSchool > Student Custom Fields). Confirm that students have valid contact information in those fields.

3. My report shows the status of ‘Error’.  Why is that?

This status is most often due to the PDF not having the StudentID: Student_Number in the correct format. Please ensure that StudentID is all together as one word with the S-I-D capital.  Review the PDF to ensure there is no space between Student and ID.  Also, ensure that a merge field was not used in the attachment name option.  Please retry and if the issue persists, submit a ticket to support at support@alertsolutions.com for assistance.

4. Are WaterMark images supported on the report files?

At this time, Alert Solutions does not support WaterMark images on report files.  Please rerun your report without the watermark if you experience any issues with your report processing.

5. How are the students the report is being sent to chosen?  Can I use Current Selection to narrow this down?

The report file is used to determine the recipient list.  For each unique Student_Number found, a contact is considered.  If you wish to narrow down the number of students' contact records the reporting is being sent to, you may choose to run the report for a smaller selection of students using PowerSchool's search option prior to running the report.  

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