Planning your time
You already know the day or days of your parent-teacher conference. Now you should plan backwards to make sure that the run-up to conference day goes smoothly. Look at your calendar to plan these important days and times leading up to the big day.
When should parents stop signing up? This is the day and time when teachers know for sure what their schedule will be. Make sure you leave enough time for teachers to view their schedule (and, optionally, print it) so that they can plan for the conference.
When should parents start signing up? You’ll want to give them enough time to talk as a family in case they need to request time off from work. You may want to allow parents to have several days to sign up.
Do you want some parents to have early access? You might give a day head start to parents who work at the school, or families who have multiple children. There are two ways you can accomplish this. See the early access documentation for more details.
When should teachers book their breaks? They only need a few minutes to reserve some time for themselves, but if they are busy or forget to check their mail, you might want to allow them a few hours or even an entire day or weekend. Break-booking should close before parents start signing up.
A regular conference booking week might look like this:
- Sunday – teachers start to book their breaks
- Monday at noon – break booking is closed. Early access parents begin signing up
- Tuesday at 11 AM – the rest of the parents begin signing up
- Wednesday at 3 PM – any details about the day are communicated to teachers, including a reminder that they can see their schedules on Thursday at 2 PM
- Wednesday at 5 PM – a reminder goes to parents to encourage them to sign up and to attend conferences
- Thursday at 2 PM – parent sign-up is closed. Teachers access (and optionally, print) their schedules
- Friday – conference day
The Options Interface
When you know the dates and times, go to Options and enter the date and time for:
- opening of teacher break booking
- closing of teacher break booking
- opening of early access parent signups
- closing of early access parent signups
- opening of all parent signups
- closing of all parent signups
In the options interface, you can edit the displayed name of your school and the title of the conference. You can also adjust the time zone. If your country is currently on daylight saving time, you may notice that the green time being displayed is off by an hour. In that case, simply adjust the timezone to correct for daylight saving. Double check that the time won’t change before the conference happens – and plan accordingly. The system will not automatically adjust for daylight saving, but you can adjust the timezone during a conference signup if necessary.
The Dashboard Interface
While setting up or running a conference, you can get up-to-the-minute information from the administrative interface.
The Dashboard interface will show you at a glance how many timeslots exist, how many conferences have been booked, and how many free timeslots total are still available. You can also use this as a double check just to make sure you have included all students, parents and teachers. If your school has an account for primary school and middle school conferences, checking the number of students and teachers is a good way to make sure you are signed into the correct system.
The Dashboard also shows you if break booking, early access, and regular access are open or not.
To see the current status of any parent or teacher, you can log in as them with the Login link button. This allows you to check and make sure a particular family has signed in, or helps you in the event that a teacher or parent calls on the phone and needs help right away. You can also use this feature to book or release breaks for a teacher or print a schedule.
To view or print many teacher’s conference schedules at once, use the Print Schedule button from the Teacher interface. You can save them as PDF files or print them.
Adding other Admins
You can add accounts for other people at your school who will help run your conference. They will have all the ability you have, so make sure they are people you can trust! Simply go to the Admin interface and click Add Admin. You need to enter a username and password. Other fields, such as Email address, first and last name, are optional. They will not be automatically notified of their account, so you need to let them know their username and password. You should let them know to change their password after they have signed in. You will not be able to see their password. If they forget their password and need help, you can give them a new password, but for security purposes you cannot see the password they entered.
After conferences are over, or after you have done some testing and playing around, you may need to purge your data. When you delete data, it is permanently deleted and not recoverable. Your data is yours, and you may delete it at any time. But be careful – you can’t get it back if you accidentally delete it!
In the Tools interface, you see six purge tools, which allow you to purge the bookings, the timeslots, the parent accounts, the teacher accounts, the student accounts and the course records. Some of these must be purged in order. For example, you cannot purge timeslots if there are bookings. If you want to purge the timeslots, you must purge the bookings then purge the timeslots.