Without the proper tools, building a school's master schedule can be a difficult and time-consuming process. When you build a schedule, you must not only consider periods and classes, but also student course requests, teacher schedules, teacher course requests, and dozens of other factors that make it a difficult process.
PowerSchool considers all schedule factors and determines the best possible schedule from hundreds of thousands of possibilities. The resulting master schedule satisfies the most requirements and minimizes the most conflicts.
Building a school's master schedule is done in four phases:
- Prepare to Build the Master Schedule
- Build Master Schedule Introduction
- Load Students
- Commit the Master Schedule
Much of the work necessary to create a master schedule must be completed before building the schedule. To prepare to build a master schedule, you must define scheduling parameters, such as courses and classrooms, and enter student course requests, teacher assignments, course information, and schedule constraints. The system weighs all of the parameters that you define and generates the best possible master schedule.
Because there are many ways to arrange a master schedule, you can create test scenarios using your data and different variables to determine the best possible results for your school. For example, you might create several different scenarios containing more or fewer constraints to determine how the system arranges your courses. You can save and modify these scenarios as you work toward the best possible master schedule.
Complete all of the steps in the section Prepare to Build the Master Schedule before you can proceed to the section Build Master Schedule Introduction. After building, load student requests into the master schedule and commit the master schedule to PowerSchool.
Generally, schools follow the build, load, then commit process when creating their master schedules. Though this suggested series of steps applies to most situations, there are exceptions. For example, you can build a master schedule without loading student schedules; instead, you could import student schedules. However, doing so will not take into consideration section size maximums or load constraints. You can also load schedules without first building a master schedule if you copy or import schedules or if you manually built a master schedule.
During both the preparing and building phases of this process, you will likely want to run certain reports. Refer to Master Schedule Reports for descriptions of scheduling reports that you may use. There are several checklists to help you throughout the process. For more information, refer to PowerScheduler Get Started.
When you click PowerScheduler on the start page, the Scheduling page displays for each scenario the name, date of the last master schedule build, last load of the student schedules into the master schedule, number of students with requests and satisfied requests after the last load, and percentage of students without scheduling conflicts.
The Students With Requests and Students Without Conflicts statistics only update after the build or the load finish completely.
The status of each scenario appears. Only one scenario can be active at any given time; the others are considered inactive. Also, the Scheduling page displays for each scenario the percent of students scheduled, the percent of core requests scheduled, and the percent of satisfied student course requests.
The PowerScheduler menu displays the main scheduling functions, which are designed and sequenced to help you build your master schedule. The main scheduling functions list is divided into the following functional areas:
- Course Groups: Create course groups in preparation for creating request forms.
- Screen Setup: Create the request forms that will be used for entering student course requests.
- Scenarios: Maintain your schedule scenarios. You can select a scenario or create a new one.
- Auto. Scheduler Setup: Set up certain defaults for build scenarios. This is the starting point when building a master schedule, since you must begin by setting up the Scheduling Years and Terms, Days, and Periods before you can proceed with building your master schedule.
- Course Catalogs: Create or edit a course catalog.
- Years & Terms: Define the schedule years and terms.
- Periods: Define the schedule layout for periods.
- Days: Define the schedule layout for days.
- Buildings: Define the names of buildings.
- Constraints: Define constraints for the schedule, such as days that teachers are free, prescheduled courses, and breaks.
- Departments: Define the names of departments.
- Facilities: Define the names of facilities.
- Houses: Define the names of houses.
- Section Types: Define the section types of courses, such as special education.
- Teams: Define teams.
- Courses: Define schedule information for each course in your course catalog, such as assignments, constraints, and relationships.
- Rooms: Define classroom information, such as physical size and location.
- Students: Define student information, such as constraints, requests, and preferences.
- Teachers: Define teacher information, such as assignments, teams, and homerooms.
- Course Rank: View the system-generated course rank or change the order of the course rank.
- Build (Q): Build the master schedule.
- Load (Q): Load student information, such as requests, into the master schedule.
- Automated Study Hall: For students that have gaps in their schedules, enroll those students into study hall periods.
- Commit: Commit the built master schedule to PowerSchool.
- Master Schedule: Make changes to your master schedule once it is built but before it is committed. Change sections, teachers, student course requests, and schedules.
- Visual Scheduler: Use to create your master schedule using drag-and-drop capabilities.
- Sections: Create a new course section or edit information about an existing one.
- Checklist: Use this checklist to keep track of all the tasks needed to prepare to build a master schedule.
- Engine Download: Download a current version of the scheduling engine. This link will be updated as the engine is updated.
- Functions: Perform functions such as calculate sections and update selections.
- Reports: Run all schedule-related reports.
To return to the PowerScheduler menu when the main menu changes, click PowerScheduler.