Development Blog

  • Welcome to Our First Wave of New Customers for the 2016-17 School Year!


    FinalForms extends an enthusiastic welcome to our first wave of new districts committing for the 2016-2017 school year. The following districts will start using FinalForms for Fall 2016-17 Athletic Participation or Academic Enrollment forms. 

    • Anderson High School (Cincinnati)
    • Clay Local Schools
    • Cuyahoga Falls High School
    • Edgewood High School (Trenton)
    • Finneytown Local Schools
    • Fremont City Schools
    • Madison Christian School
    • Massillon Washington High School
    • St. Charles Preparatory School
    • St. Francis DeSales High School
    • Shaker Heights High & Middle Schools
    • Solon High School
    • Turpin High School

    If your district is interested in learning more about the revolutionary FinalForms data collection and management processes for your Athletic Department or School District, please Contact Us!

     

  • Seeding Your K-12 Installation

    Best practices for tech directors to transition to FinalForms.

    New software presents challenges, we understand that. That is precisely why we provide assistance in leaping the hurdle from your existing data processes to streamlined FinalForms data processes. We also prepare documentation to help you communicate with your staff and parents. 

    One goal of your transition to a K-12 FinalForms launch is ALL parents and ALL students with accounts including completed forms sets. We find that there are two distinct approaches to this goal:

    1. Allow parents to create accounts and then create their students.
    2. Seed the installation with a spreadsheet import of all students and their parents.

    Let's talk about the pros and cons of both approaches in specific scenarios.

     

    Approach 1: Parent Generated

    Approach 1 requires the district to communicate the need for ALL parents to create an account on FinalForms. Communication processes already surround your back-to-school paperwork, so tailoring your message is all that needs to be done! We provide districts with instructional handouts to provide to parents aiding in this process.

    Note: The biggest challenge districts face is getting every parent to FinalForms. GOOD NEWS: Once on FinalForms, less than 2% of parents report problems following the step-by-step account and student creation process. 

    Pros:

    • It's EASY! If you direct the parent to the site, FinalForms takes care of the rest!
    • Parents input and confirm their preferred email address guaranteeing communication.

    Cons:

    • No parent or student information is pre-populated.
    • Identifying stragglers is difficult because their account simply won't exist in FinalForms.
    • Assigning StudentIDs (to allow for syncing with your SIS) is a manual, though one time, assignment.

     

    Approach 2: Spreadsheet Generated

    Approach 2 requires building an accurate spreadsheet. The district tech team must build the spreadsheet using existing data including "primary key" information for students (StudentID) and parents (email address). When the tech team imports the spreadsheet "stub accounts" are created for students and parents, automatically sending account confirmation emails to parents prompting account confirmation and student registration.

    Note: The biggest challenge districts face is the accuracy of parent email addresses. If the email is incorrect, parents will never receive a confirmation email. GOOD NEWS: Administrators simply swap the incorrect email with the correct email and the automatic account confirmation process is triggered.

    Pros:

    • Account stubs for ALL students.
    • Students already associated with their StudentIDs.
    • Sort and filter all students to view their registration status. Easy to pick out stragglers.
    • Data can be pre-populated. The import can include as much information as you want to include, pre-populating forms for the parents' convenience.

    Cons:

    • Building a perfectly accurate spreadsheet.
    • Specifically, you must have accurate email accounts for your parents.

     

    Going from Athletic-Only to K-12

    Finally, if your district already uses FinalForms for athletics and is expanding to K-12 use, you must ensure that duplicate accounts are not created for students and parents. 

    FinalForms uses email addresses as the primary key for parents. You must make sure that the email address associated with a parent in the SIS (and thus the spreadsheet) matches the email address associated with a parent in FinalForms to prevent duplicate accounts for parents. 

    FinalForms uses cascading matching keys for students. It will first try to find the student record based on StudentID -> then Email -> and finally a combination of First Name, Last Name, & Date of Birth. If it does not find a student based on any of those criteria, it will create the student.

     

    Choosing Your Approach

    A lot of this boils down to preference, the accuracy of your current data, the size of your district and whether you were already using FinalForms for athletics.

    • If your data is inaccurate, we recommend the Parent Approach.
    • If your district is large, we recommend the Spreadsheet Approach. Why? Identifying students and parents with missing accounts can be a massive task in August. 
    • If your district uses FinalForms for athletics, we recommend the Parent Approach.

     

    A Combined Approach

    Finally, a combination of the Parent Approach and the Spreadsheet Approach may be practical. In this case, you guide parents toward creating accounts (Parent Approach). Then, on a chosen date in August, determine which students do not yet have accounts. Then, build a small spreadsheet for those students, import it, and turn off future student registrations (Spreadsheet Approach).

     

    Future Years

    The approaches, recommendations and guidance in this article are relative to the first time seeding of a whole K-12 district's worth of data.

    During the course of the school year you may receive transfers, which except in truly massive districts, are frequently best dealt with individually (Parent Approach).

    In future years, you will only need to worry about transfers and that bright eyed new class of Kindergartners. For these, we recommend seeding them with a spreadsheet (Spreadsheet Approach), as you can collect seed information from the parent during the new student registration meetings.

     

  • PowerSchool Integration

    FinalForms helps your district integrate data with PowerSchool

    You may have noticed the default PowerSchool export feature doesn't quite line up with your PowerSchool database. This is because PowerSchool allows your district to tailor the database to meet your needs. FinalForms can now adjust data exports to meet your specific district database! We can coordinate with your district to create an export format that best serves your needs.

    Keep in mind, the export does not need to include ALL data collected by FinalForms. Your district technology staff or student data managers may only want to coordinate limited data, such as Emergency Contacts, and we can make that happen, so let's talk!

    1 - Contact Us

    Contact your FinalForms representative to let us know you're interested in a PowerSchool integration.

    2 - Provide a Sample Student Record

    Send us a sample student record (see example) and we'll customize your export to match.

    3 - Make a Plan for Synchronization

    We've done this quite a bit, so we can provide ideas for manual or automated updates based on what we've done with many other districts.

    4 - Complete Your First Integration!

    Once we've customized your PowerSchool export and come up with the perfect plan, it's time to make it happen!

  • Custom Timeout Policies

    We are happy to announce an important new policy with respect to timeouts!

    We are removing universal timeout settings for users in FinalForms. We can now differentiate between user types, such as Admin or Coach, as well as device types, such as Desktop or Mobile. This means we can set a user to timeout after 15 minutes on a desktop but to never timeout on a mobile device!

    What is a timeout?
    - When an application, such as FinalForms, automatically logs a user out due to a period of inactivity. An inactivity period starts upon your last action within the application, such as clicking into a new view or filtering information.

    Furthermore, we are now allowing Districts to set their own timeout lengths. The reason for this is that Districts tend to have unique policies outlining safeguarding student information. For example, some districts force their staff to have lockscreens on their desktop and mobile devices, thereby making a FinalForms timeout a redundant and, consequently, tedious step to re-accessing information.

    By default, timeouts will be set to "never" for all Districts. If you would like to implement timeouts, please contact your FinalForms representative and we will implement the update within 24 hours.

    Your timeout options range starts at 10 minutes and goes as long as 1 year.  You can also choose 'Never'. Any duration can be set for the following variables:

    • Admin Desktop | Admin Mobile
    • Coach Desktop | Coach Mobile
    • AT Desktop | AT Mobile
    • Parent Desktop | Parent Mobile
    • Student Desktop | Student Mobile

    Timeouts

    Inactive users will receive the above popup 5 minutes prior to being timed out. If the user clicks 'Still Working!' then he/she may remain logged in... and the timeout clock will restart.

     

  • HOW TO: Inventory Management!

    FinalForms Admins & Coaches, we have a groundbreaking feature for you: INVENTORY

    Inventory Manage your uniforms, equipment & more! Send reminders, view expense reports and bill for missing equipment using FinalForms!

    The Setup

    You can either A) MASS IMPORT
    or B) ADD ONE BY ONE. 



    A) Mass Import

    • If you're an ADMIN - Click Manage > Sports > Click Inventory on the Sport you will manage
    • If you're a COACH - Click Manage > Inventory
    • Click Import
    • Click Download as CSV
    • Use Excel or your favorite spreadsheet application to manage the spreadsheet. Input the Name and Condition for each inventory item (you may also include Category, Jersey Number, Internal Number, Size, Vendor Name, Cost, Issued To, Issued On). Save this file on your computer.
    • Click Choose File and select your completed spreadsheet.
    • Your inventory will load into FinalForms!

    NOTE 1: If you complete the "Issued To" column, you must use students' email addresses, not their names. It is best to get these from doing an Export > Basic CSV on your sport's Roster page.

    NOTE 2: If you completed the "Issued To" column in the spreadsheet, your inventory has already been assigned to athletes and this step is not necessary. When the time comes to collect the equipment, simply click Return on the piece.

    B) Add One by One

    • If you're an ADMIN - Click Manage > Sports > Click Inventory on the Sport you will manage
    • If you're a COACH - Click Manage > Inventory
    • Click New Equipment
    • Complete the information including: Equipment/Jersey, Name, Number(s), Condition, Size, Vendor & Cost
    • Click Create Equipment
    • Your inventory is now in FinalForms!

    Assigning Inventory to Athletes

    • If you're an ADMIN - Click Manage > Sports > Click Inventory on the Sport you will manage
    • If you're a COACH - Click Manage > Inventory
    • Click the Issue button (or green arrow) on any inventory item.
    • Complete the Student, Issued On, Issued Condition in the popup window.
    • Click Assign Equipment
    • Your inventory item is now assigned!

    Notes

    • At any given time you can see the cost of the equipment out (issued to students) and in (sitting in your inventory).
    • You can also send automatic reminders to students and their parents prompting them to return checked out equipment by clicking the Bell Icon > Return Equipment.
    • Inventory can be retired.
    • Each piece and each student will have a full history of assignments and returns with the condition of equipment tracked at each interaction.

    Management

    On to seasonal management! Your primary task will be to assign and collect pieces from athletes on your roster. Whether you chose A or B, FinalForms will remember your inventory year to year. You'll only need to create or import new pieces if your program purchases more in the future.

    Other Features

    As always, any feedback is welcome. Your brilliant ideas make FinalForms great.

     

  • FinalForms Keeps Pace with OHSAA’s Evolutionary Mindset

    Ohio-based business, FinalForms, keeps its eye on the OHSAA and its ear open to athletic departments to keep pace with advancements in high school athletics.

    High school sports in the United States are rapidly evolving with new standards for safety, liability and data. Progressive state athletic associations are keeping pace by frequently updating rules and regulations.

    While this wave of change is a huge positive for the student-athlete, the workload for athletic departments increases dramatically. FinalForms assists athletic departments by creating one-click tools to manage data as well as liability, financial and medical issues.

    “The OHSAA is a dynamic organization including leaders who possess the foresight to adapt and integrate rules and regulations within an evolving athletics and education landscape,” says FinalForms president Clay Burnett. “As OHSAA raises the bar, we keep pace by adding features benefiting athletic departments.”

    FinalForms is an online, mobile application that collects registrations from parents and students via online forms. FinalForms develops custom online forms ranging from ‘Consent to Receive Text Messages’ to ‘Emergency Medical Authorization’ and many more. Data is easily sorted, filtered, searched, printed and exported making FinalForms a must-have for every efficiency-minded administration. FinalForms currently serves more than 55,000 students and OHSAA athletes in more than 75 high schools.

    Creating Competitive Balance

    FinalForms also tackles competitive balance. The OHSAA leadership will soon act upon a push from member schools to create a equitable playing field by requiring a Divisional Placement Report. The report includes data that will determine the placement of respective team sports into the appropriate division for competition. FinalForms is leading the charge in making this simple for athletic departments. “FinalForms collects all the required data for the Divisional Placement Report. We allow an Athletic Director to create a report with one click, rather than hours of unnecessary meetings, calls, mapping and mathematics,” says Burnett. “As a coach, I understand the importance of competitive balance. FinalForms will do everything possible to assist the OHSAA in this endeavor.”

    Pushing the Pace

    Burnett and FinalForms co-founder, Macklin Chaffee know all about pace in business as well as athletics. The duo has recently run 4:09 (Burnett) and 3:56 (Chaffee) for the mile. “Pace is a part of our daily routine. Whether it’s running or developing FinalForms, we know winners set the pace,” claims Burnett. “We frequently receive positive feedback and great ideas, so the pace of development is grueling. It is fulfilling when we see athletes, coaches and schools achieving goals with FinalForms as a foundation facilitating athletics.”

    Announcing OHSAA related updates for the 2015-16 school year

    INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE STUDENTS, AGE 20, ENROLLMENT & ATTENDANCE
    - FinalForms updated the online OHSAA Eligibility Checklist Form to include the OHSAA Student Eligibility Guide. The parent must complete the 10 OHSAA standard questions. If any question is answered opposite the default answer, the Athletic Director will receive an email notification to follow up with that family.
    - - - OHSAA Bylaw 4-8-1 (Exchange), OHSAA Bylaw 4-2-1 (Age), OHSAA Bylaw 4-3-1 (Enrollment & Attendance), OHSAA Bylaw 4-3-1 (Credits), OHSAA Bylaw 4-4-1 (Credits), OHSAA Bylaw 4-6-1 (Residence), OHSAA Bylaws (Section 7. Transfers), OHSAA Bylaw 1-1-2, 4-3-2, 4-3-3 (Semesters), OHSAA Bylaw 4-10-2 (Prize Money), OHSAA Bylaw 4-1-2 (True name), OHSAA Bylaws (Section 9. Recruiting), 2015-2016 General Sports Regulations

    TRANSFERS
    - FinalForms updated the Register a New Student Form to collect data regarding transfer students. If the parent indicates that their student has attended any other school since starting 9th grade, the Athletic Director will receive an email notification to follow up with that family.
    - - - OHSAA Bylaw 4-7-2

    PRE SEASON MEETINGS

    - FinalForms updated the OHSAA Preseason Meeting Information Form to include the new PowerPoint PDF.
    - FinalForms allows 2 parties, Athletic Directors and Coaches, to input information regarding Mandatory Preseason Meetings. If the athletic department holds one meeting, encompassing all sports, then the Athletic Director can input that date into FinalForms. If the Athletic Director delegates the meeting to coaches, then the coach may input their meeting date into FinalForms. In either case, attendance may be documented using FinalForms.
    - - - OHSAA Bylaw 3-1-4 (Preseason Meetings)

    COMPETITIVE BALANCE & DIVISIONAL PLACEMENT REPORTS
    - FinalForms developed a method for simply calculating a Divisional Placement Report for ALL schools in Ohio whether or not they are FinalForms customers. FinalForms recently updated this equation with a comprehensive list of Middle Schools in Ohio.
    - - - For FinalForms customers, competitive balance relevant information (address, school attended in 7th grade, school attended in 8th grade) is collected during the parent form completion process can generate a Divisional Placement Report.
    - - For non-customers, FinalForms has created a standard spreadsheet with can be completed and uploaded in order to generate a Divisional Placement Report. Divisional Placement Reports must be verified by the Athletic Director before submitting to the OHSAA area of FinalForms.
    - - - OHSAA Competitive Balance Committee

    COACHING PERMITS
    - FinalForms now allows for the tracking of all coaching certifications and permits including, but not limited to: NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching, CPR, Pupil Activity Program, NFHS Concussion in Sports, BCI and FBI background check.
    - - - 2015-2016 General Sports Regulations

    PHYSICAL EXAMINATION
    - FinalForms complies with OHSAA Bylaws Section 4. Student Participation and Physical Examination Form by providing an online electronic Pre-Participation Physical approved by school districts and health systems.
    - - - OHSAA Bylaws (Section 4. Student Participation and Physical Examination Forms)

    OHSAA FIELD REPRESENTATIVES CHECKLIST

    - FinalForms includes functions to manage: 1) Preseason Meetings, 2) Pupil Activity Permits, 3) Eligibility Certificates, 5) Policy for Dealing with Transfer Students, 6) Process for Student Dropping Classes, 9) Rostering for Competitive Balance, 10) PrivIT link, 13) Review After School Safety Procedures, 16) Concussion Certification
    - - - OHSAA Field Representatives Checklist

     

RSS Feed

Categories

Archive