The Portal page is the key to navigation throughout Focus and throughout the Student Information System (SIS). Before conducting student searches, taking attendance, etc., you must learn the basics of the software. A lot can be accomplished directly from the Portal page, which includes Alerts, Upcoming Events, a Help button, and more.
When you first sign into Focus, you will be taken to the Portal page.
Click SIS to navigate through the Student Information System.
Depending on your role at the district and your profile permissions, you may have access to the ERP system as well. For more information on the ERP Portal page and basic navigation, see the Basic Navigation article. Note: If you only have an SIS profile, you will not see the SIS/ERP toggle.
Your username displays next to the school name or school pull-down (if applicable).
In the upper left corner of the screen is the Focus logo. Most districts elect to have their own logo here. This also functions as a Portal button--clicking the logo at any time from any screen will take you back to the main Portal page.
If the logo is not displayed, a pop-up window is open (an example is shown below). Close the window to return to the main Focus screen and the Portal page.
Next you will see the Focus navigation menu along the left side of the screen. If you hover over any of the menu icons, the menu will open and the menu titles will appear.
Because you may have different Preferences set up, your menu may be located along the top of the screen. To change your preferences, select the My Information menu, and click Preferences. From this screen, you will have the ability to customize the look of your Portal page and more. To change the menu, select or clear the selection for Use Sidebar Menu. Once finished, click Save.
Note: The screens that display in the menu differ for each user depending on your profile permissions.
From here, you can click on any of the menu items for additional options (screens).
To quickly find a screen within a menu, click the menu and type the full or partial name of the screen in the Search text box. The menu will filter based upon the entered criteria. Click the desired screen.
At the bottom of the menu is a magnifying glass (in the left corner of the screen). To search for any screens within SIS, click on the magnifying glass and start typing in the white text box--this will pull any screens that match. Once you see what you are looking for, click the name and the screen will open.
If you have more than one type of profile assigned to you, such as, parent, admin, teacher, etc., you will see a profile pull-down; this appears under your username.
Upon signing out of Focus, the system will remember the last profile used and log back into the system with the last used profile. For example, if you logout as a Teacher, when you log back into Focus, your profile will still be set to Teacher.
Across the top of the Portal page you will also see the name of your School(s). If you have access to more than one school, this will be displayed as a pull-down.
Use the Filter text box to begin typing the name or number of the school for a quick search.
Next to your school(s) is the school year pull-down, which will default to the current school year. This pull-down is accessible at all times and can be changed as needed.
When a previous or future year is selected, the header and accent color of the screen will turn red as an alert that you are working in a different school year.
If you are teaching multiple sections, choose the appropriate section from the pull-down.
You can also choose a marking period. The marking period, like the school year, will also default to the current marking period. Note: What you see in your pull-down may vary depending on district set up and your type of school.
You will also notice your Last login listed with the day and time, as shown in the image.
A Focus greeting will welcome whomever is signed into the system. You will see your username here.
One of the last tools on the Portal page is the Messenger, which allows you to send messages to other users. Click Messenger at the bottom of the screen to begin utilizing the feature. See Messenger for more information.
The Help button is linked to two types of external software (depending on the version of the software you are using): Moodle (Focus University) and ScreenSteps. Clicking the Help button will open a help documentation article pertaining to the screen you are using. The Help button is available on every Focus screen.
Clicking on the Help button will open a pop-up window to the help documentation. Here you have the option to open the article in a new window and browse other articles housed within ScreenSteps.
The Logout button can be used when you would like to sign-out of your Focus session. Logging out will take you back to the main login screen. Note: Closing out of the window will not sign you out. Closing the browser all together may or may not sign you out depending on your browser settings.
1. Messenger allows you to send messages to other users. Click Messenger at the bottom of the screen to open the Messenger window.
Students and parents can only send messages to their assigned teachers. Teachers can send messages to their students, students' parents, and school staff. Teachers may or may not be able to respond to messages depending on profile permission set up by the district.
2. Recent chats, users who have recently been sent a message, display on the right side of the screen. Click the user's name to open the chat again.
3. There are two icons in the upper right corner of the messenger window. Click the first one to open Batch Messenger, described below. Click the second settings icon to open Preferences.
To send a batch message, select the Students, Parents, and/or Staff users to whom the message is being sent from the Send To: section and the corresponding pull-downs. Note: You can select multiple users from combined pull-downs. Next, type the message into the provided text box. You can also use the listed features: Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, Insert Special Character, and Smiley. When the message is complete, click Send. You can also click the X in the right upper corner of the screen to close Batch Messenger or click the Cancel button.
Utilize the Filter text box located at the top of the pull-down for a quick search. Begin typing the name of the desired user. You can also click the Check all visible and Clear selected links for quick selections.
To customize Messenger, click the Preferences icon and select the check boxes for listed features you'd like to include. When customization is complete, click Save. You can also click the X in the right upper corner of the screen to close Preferences or click the Cancel button.
4. To begin a new message, click the group, such as Students, Parents, or Staff listed at the bottom of the Messenger (Recent Chats) screen. Then, select the student, parent, or staff member from the listed users.
To quickly locate the user in question, start typing their name in the Filter text box.
5. Selecting a user will open a new messaging screen. Type your message in the provided text box and press Enter to send the message.
6. Upon sending a message, you have several additional options listed along the bottom of the window. These options include (listed from left to right): SpellCheck, Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, Insert Special Character, and Smiley.
7. Once the window is open, you can minimize it by clicking the arrow, or close the window, by clicking the X.
8. You also have the option to flag messages by clicking the red flag next to the date and time stamp at the top of the messaging window.
Upon selecting Flag Message, the message will be hidden from all users involved unless you click Unflag Message. Flagging message is a great tool for message that should be reported and reviewed by administrative staff. Flagging a message allows administration to review problematic messages without having the search through all messages sent.
Referrals can be created as needed as a consequence to a message. If the message has already been flagged, click Create Referral. If the message has not been flagged, and you want to flag the message and create the referral all at once, click Flag Message & Create Referral. See Add Referral for more information about creating referrals.
Profanity and other inappropriate language is automatically flagged in Focus Messenger.
1. New messages via Messenger display in the Alerts section of the Portal page. Click the message here to open Messenger.
You can click the Messenger icon from any screen, which also alerts you to new messages indicated by the number of messages.
2. New message display in the New Alerts section. Click the user's name to open the new message.
3. Clicking the message alert opens the user's message in a new Messenger window. Here you can read new messages and reply.
If a student has uploaded an assignment, you will receive a Messenger alert for the assignment as well.
1. Click the message in the Alerts section of the Portal page.
You can click the Messenger icon from any screen, which also alerts you to new messages indicated by the number of messages.
The name of the student displays along with the name of the assignment uploaded.
2. Click the alert to open the Gradebook and view the uploaded assignment.
Click Close or the X to close the Uploaded Files pop-up window.
While on the Gradebook, click the grade link to open Uploaded Files again.
3. Click the green arrow to download and view the assignment.
4. Click the pencil icon to open and view the assignment in Focus where you can enter a grade in the Score text box, make edits (pencil icon), make comments, print, or download the assignment.
Click Return To Gradebook when finished.
The Alerts module contains profile-specific notifications, which are automated by Focus and used to manage daily tasks. Alerts link to the corresponding screens in Focus to complete the alerted task. Teachers receive Alerts on: referrals that have been processed, students that have been added or dropped, grades that need to be posted, messages sent via Messenger, etc.
As mentioned above, clicking on any of the alerts will link to the corresponding screens. For example, clicking Period 2 - M/J ORCH 3 navigates to the Post Final Grades screen. Once addressed, the Alert will disappear.
The District & School Announcements module contains profile-specific notifications or reminders from both Focus and the school/district. Messages will display on the Portal based on entered start and end dates; if no end date is specified, the message will remain on the Portal page. Typical messages include reminders for deadlines, meetings, etc.
Administrators have the ability to create their own school level profile-specific messages via Setup > Portal Messages. However, this option is dependent upon profile permissions.
District & School Announcements and Upcoming Events created via Setup > Portal Messages and Users > Calendars display depending on your permissions to selected schools via Users > User Info > Permissions tab. If you have access to all schools, the messages that display depend on the school selected from the school pull-down located in the header. If you have three enrollment records with schools A, B, and "All Schools," the portal will show all of the following: Messages/events from School A, messages/events from School B, and messages/events from the school selected from the school pull-down.
The Upcoming Events module contains reminders of the next seven events on your Calendar. Upcoming Events display until the event occurs, and the date appears in the title. Hover over the event with the mouse to display a tooltip, which contains the event's description, if one was added upon creating the event via Users > Calendar.
Click the View Calendar link to open Calendar.
The Find A Student module provides a search text box to pull up student records directly from the Portal page.
To conduct a search from the Portal, enter search criteria in the provided text box, such as name of student ID, then select a category from the category menu pull-down in order to select the information you need based on the selected screen/information. Select the Student Group from the pull-down, if applicable. Select the Search All Sections and/or Include Inactive Students check boxes, set More Search Options, then click Search.
Pull-down options include: Absences, Activities, Add Referral, Demographics, Enrollment, Grades or Course History, Grad Reqs, Referrals, Requests, Schedule, SSS, Standard Grades, and Test History.
Once a search is conducted with a category selected from the pull-down, the selection will remain as a default until changed to conduct a new search.
For more details on how to find a student and apply More Search Options, see the article titled, Searching for Students.
The Birthday List section displays upcoming Student Birthdays as well as upcoming User Birthdays.
The Favorites section displays links to screens marked as Favorites.
To navigate to a favorite program, click the program name in the Favorites list in the Favorites section.
To add a program to the Favorites list, navigate to the screen in Focus. Click the star icon next to the name of program at the top-left of the screen and click + Add (name of program) to Favorites.
You can also navigate to Favorites by clicking the star icon at the top-left of the screen and click the program name in the list.
A program can be removed from the Favorites list in the Favorites block by clicking the delete button (red minus sign) next to the program name.
Alternatively, click the star icon at the top-left of the screen and click the delete button (red minus sign) next to the program name.
Recommended links display as suggestions for favorite links when you have less than three favorites marked.
The Focus University section contains several helpful links including Video Tutorials and Help & Training Docs.
1. Click the Video Tutorials link to open Focus University Training Videos for Teachers in ScreenSteps.
2. Click the Help & Training Docs link to open all help manuals and search for specific documentation.
3. To search all help documentation and videos, enter key words in the provided search engine text box and click the magnifying glass.
Search Results display in ScreenSteps.