How do I handle divorced or separated parents?
There are three common solutions. You can decide which is best for your school, or handle each instance on a case-by-case basis.
The easiest option is that you choose one parent to do the signing up and have them inform the other. If you have one parent who is listed as the residential contact or the person who normally receives school mailings, then they get put in charge of the signups. They can communicate the details to the other one. That’s the least amount of work for you, and the option that most schools end up choosing.
If the two parents can’t be in the same room for parent conferences, you essentially need to add the student twice, with 2 family IDs and different student IDs. (You could just append a letter or something to the second student ID – as long as it was different.) Each parent would meet with all the teachers separately. You’d need to make a second copy of that student’s course roster with the second ID.
If the parents plan to attend the conferences together, but both want to be in the loop and be given equal contact details, you give both parents the same family ID. In most student information systems, they would have different family/household ID numbers, and probably different addresses. But for this purpose, you would give them the same family ID. They would sign up together (or else, one of them would sign up and inform the other.) And on the day of the conferences, they would attend together. This is easy to do – just upload all the data as normal. Find out what the student’s household ID is. Figure out which parent has the different household ID, edit that parent’s record in order to replace the household ID.
What if I get an error on my CSV file?
A CSV file is basically a spreadsheet with all the formatting removed. The numbers and text are a plain file with commas separating the values. If you have trouble with your CSV import, here are a few tips to check.
Try uploading your spreadsheet to Google Sheets, then downloading it as CSV format. This results in a universal CSV format. Sometimes spreadsheet programs such as Excel for Mac include non-standard formatting in their CSV output. Google Sheets can clean it up.
Check to see if there are any unusual characters in your spreadsheet. There won’t be a problem with accents, engraves or umlauts, however, a comma in a name will cause problems. You might not see the comma when you look at a spreadsheet, but try doing a find on your spreadsheet to look for commas.
Hard returns or paragraph marks also sometimes cause problems. One way to troubleshoot is to upload your data in batches. If the problem is just with one parent, you can narrow it down by uploading half the parents at a time.