COVID-19 District Resources

School districts across the country are suspending schools, transitioning to online learning, canceling testing, and more in an effort to contain COVID-19. Helping you navigate these unprecedented times is our top priority. These resources are designed to provide you with information on what items may need to be adjusted within your Focus Student Information System to prepare for these challenges. We are closely monitoring changes and advisements from DOE state agencies and will continue to update these resources.

School Calendar Adjustments

If your school or school district closed additional days, your Calendars and/or Marking Periods must be adjusted for the continued reporting of accurate school attendance. 

If the school you are copying calendar dates from and the schools you are copying calendar dates to have different rotation schedules, the rotation days from the calendar you are copying from will override the rotation days on the calendars of the schools being copied to.

For example, school A has a calendar with a 4 day rotation, and the calendar dates are being copied to schools B-Z. School B has a 6 day rotation. After copying the calendar dates, school B's calendar now only has rotation days A-D, and days E and F have been removed from the calendar.

  • If school calendars are adjusted after students have already been gone, you must recalculate Daily Attendance to continue recording accurate attendance (Focus University: Recalculating Daily Attendance).
  • Ensure any changes to your Marking Period dates or Grade Posting dates are reflected in Focus (Focus University: Marking Periods). Once the marking period dates have been adjusted in one school, the Marking Period Dates option on the Copy School screen can quickly copy these changes to all marking periods in your district (Focus University: Copying Data into an Existing School).
Changes to End of Year Grades and EOCs

Many school districts and state DOE agencies have suspended end of course exams; this could have a severe impact on the setup of Grade Posting Schemes within the Focus SIS. 

  • Ensure existing Grade Posting Averaging schemes have been adjusted (Focus University: Editing a Grade Posting Scheme):
    • Remove end of course exams from an existing Grade Posting Averaging scheme, OR
    • Adjust the Blank Exam Score Treatment to Excluded. Selecting Excluded will exclude the exam score from the grade calculation. For example, if the full year grade is calculated by giving the semester 1 final grade a weight of 35%, semester 2 final grade a weight of 35%, and the full year exam a weight of 30%, the full-year grade will be calculated as follows with the Blank Exam Score Treatment set to Excluded → [90(.35) + 95(.35)]/.7 = 92.5% --> rounds to 93%, OR
    • Modify course sections to a different Grade Posting Averaging scheme, which can be accomplished en masse via the Master Schedule Report (Focus University: Mass Updating the Report) or Course Catalog (Focus University: Mass Updating the Course Catalog).
Making the Switch to Distance Learning

Making the switch to distance learning may require your school district to set up a new integration, or expand an existing integration, with a Learning Management System (LMS). Your Focus Student Information System includes a built-in Application Programming Interface (API), a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other seamlessly. The Focus API currently supports our own dialect, OneRoster (OneRosterv1.1 Certified), Google Classroom, and Ed-Fi (Ed-Fi SIS API Certified).

The Focus API features a grade passback (the syncing of assignments and grades) and supports seamless integrations with several partners, including:

For additional information, please reference the Focus University article Third Party Systems, Focus Forum Third-Party Integrations, or contact your Focus Support Representative today.  

Communication Options Through Focus Messenger

Making the switch to district learning poses challenges, like how to facilitate safe communications between teachers, students, parents, and staff. Focus Messenger allows students, parents, teachers, and administrators to view and send messages in real-time. Access is seamless between the web interface and the Community Mobile App. 

Just like other features in Focus, access to Focus Messenger is controlled by profile permissions. Teachers can message students currently scheduled into their class, as well as the parents of those students. Students can message their teachers, and parents can message their child’s teachers. Students cannot message other students or parents. 

All Focus Messenger entries are logged in Focus. Messenger chat history is visible directly through the interface. District or school administrators can search on chat history by the student, the parent or school user, within a date range, and by keywords. 

Focus Messenger has safeguards built-in that “flag” inappropriate messages or language. The District can control which words will trigger a message being flagged. Flagged messages are not visible to the recipient, and the administrator will receive a notification. Messages can be flagged manually as well. 

All flagged messages can be reviewed and tracked through the Focus Chat Messages administrator screen. Focus Messenger has been integrated with our Discipline module. If a flagged message is in violation of the District or school code of conduct, the user can easily generate a discipline referral.

Focus Messenger is now being offered free-of-charge to our customers. Please contact your support representative today for further information on how Focus Messenger can help increase engagement and communication within your school district.

Evaluating Different Graduation Options Via the Graduation Requirements Report

Many state DOE agencies and school districts are looking to evaluate or make changes to graduation requirements for seniors this year.

The Graduation Requirements feature allows administrators to set graduation criteria for a student cohort and the Graduation Requirements Report provides an overview of students’ progress toward completion of courses and credits in the plan. Students can even be evaluated for graduation against a new plan directly through the report. For additional information on how to set up and utilize the Graduation Requirements Report in Focus, please reference the Focus University Article Graduation Requirements Report or contact your support representative today. 

Moving Enrollment to an Online Application

As many schools and school districts contemplate postponing Kindergarten round-up and new enrollments next year, Focus’ Online Application feature may help. Focus' Online Application is a fully integrated and customizable web-based application that can be used to create new student enrollments virtually. 

For additional information, please reference the Focus University article Application Editor, step-by-step training videos Online Application, or contact your Focus Support Representative today. 

Leveraging Focus Teacher Web Pages for Distance Learning Solutions

Making the switch to district learning poses challenges, like how to facilitate communication of distance learning resources to parents and students. Focus’ teacher Web Pages feature may provide a solution. The Web Pages feature allows teachers to create web pages that can be viewed by parents and students on the Portal, in the Community App, as well as the Calendar screen. 

Web pages are built using News (posts), Resources, and Settings. Posts can be sent to parents only, students only, or by default to all (parents and students). For resources, teachers can create files, links, and folders.  For additional information, please reference the Focus University teacher article on Web Pages.