Phase 4 is where the real art and science of master scheduling occurs. Building the master schedule is how instructional leaders affect change and impact instruction. The task of placing sections on the draft board is more than an administrative task; it is an activity in instructional leadership. See The WHY of Master Scheduling for additional details.
Phase 4 will guide you through the task of placing sections on the draft board, and ask guiding questions to help you get the most out of your master schedule. Watch for professional development opportunities from Illuminate to help you super-charge your scheduling practices.
Before starting Phase 4, review the tips on Draft vs. Live Schedules
Where to Start
You must be logged in under the school year and site for which you are impacting scheduling. Note (in the upper-right corner of your screen) that you are now logged in under the upcoming school year. I.E., if you are working on schedules for the 2013-14 school year you must be logged into a date that falls in that school year. Many people choose to log into the first day of school for the upcoming school year.
If you are not, use the Change Student Set/Site in the upper corner of your screen to log in under the upcoming school year.
1. Click the Scheduling tab.
2. Then under Draft Schedule Mgmt, click Draft Overview.
Decision Point: Are you copying an old schedule or creating a new one?
Copying an old schedule can save time, but may not be in student’s best interests. Consider the following points:
- Copied master schedules are more common at smaller middle schools (6-7-8), at very small specialized high schools, or continuation/credit recovery schools.
- Data-informed master schedules adapt to the specific needs of each group of students. If your school offers advanced, support, CTE, and elective classes each cohort of students has unique combinations of needs. What worked for last year’s 10th graders may not work this year. Adapting the schedule to meet each groups needs is a key responsibility of the instructional leader.
- Master schedules should reflect the instructional focus and goals of the school site. Copying the schedule communicates that the focus and the goals are not evolving. Think critically about the fact that you’re offering the same thing as last year with few modifications.
From the Draft Overview page click on the 'Select a Draft' drop-down and chose Import Live Schedule (1). Name your draft and select the previous year's session to import from (2). In order to use an existing/live schedule (e.g., the current year) to create a draft schedule (e.g., of the upcoming year), both academic years/schedules must already possess the same number of timeblocks. Click Import (3).
To create a new blank draft schedule:
Click Draft Options (1), click New Draft (2), then enter the name for the new draft schedule in the pop up box when prompted and click OK (3).
Power users have a systematic naming convention for all their drafts. Name each draft with the phase and and the date created. If multiple users work on the schedule at the same time, make sure everyone knows and understands the naming convention. Drafts cannot be merged.
You will see some overview information that describes the progress made in building the draft schedule. You also have a drop-down menu called 'Draft Options' that allows you to duplicate, delete, or publish your draft. For example:
1. The Publish button converts your draft schedule into the live schedule. This operation cannot be undone! Once you publish a schedule, you will no longer be able to make schedule changes in the draft scheduling area. All changes must then be made through the live schedule pages.
2. The Delete button allows you to delete the entire draft schedule.
3. The Duplicate function allows you to create a copy of this draft schedule under a new name, which you can then manipulate without altering this original version.
4. The Draft Overview provides simple counts and percentages of some important draft schedule components.
- Requests Satisfied Gives a numerical value to the completeness of the schedule process. Calculated by dividing the number of completed course requests by the total number of requests. The Course Request Details Report can help you drill deeper into this number.
- Student Schedule Completion Gives a numerical value to the completeness of all student schedules. Calculated by dividing the number of scheduled timeblocks by the total number of timeblocks. The Incomplete Draft Schedules Report can help you drill deeper into this number.
Decision Point: Creating Sections
How do you plan on placing sections on the board? How you create sections will impact the tools at your disposal to build the master schedule. Do you plan on using the Illuminate Board Building tool to place some or all of your sections? Doing so can save you time, help you balance your board, and minimize scheduling conflicts. Do you prefer to place each section according to a master plan, as efficiently as possible? Do you prefer to create sections as you work?
Great! The Illuminate Board Builder tool can save time and help build smarter master schedules. Follow the steps outlined below in the section 'Creating Bulk Sections through the Course Tally', and continue through Phase 4.
Creating sections in bulk will speed up the scheduling process. Follow the steps outlined below in the section 'Creating Bulk Sections through the Course Tally'.
Skip ahead in Phase 4 to “Placing new sections by hand”.
Click the Scheduling tab and choose Course Tally from the Draft Schedule Mgmt header.
The Course Tally provides a wealth of information and options:
1. Click on blue arrow next to the Course ID to "drill down" to a list of all the students who requested the course, along with an account of their grade levels. From there you will be able to click on any of those students' names to adjust their course requests, if necessary. The blue arrow also has powerful mass-change tools, such as dropping and changing course requests in mass.
2. Wherever you see application icons (for Excel .xls, Adobe Reader .pdf, Text, or .xml), you can download the report into that format by clicking the desired icon.
3. Each course displays the number of course requests for each grade level and for each term. For example, in the area circled above (next to the large, blue 3) I can see that 306 students in grade 9 requested the Art Portfolio course for Term 1, 0 students in grades 10 and 11 requested it for Term 1, and 6 students in grade 12 requested it for Term 1.
4. The #T column provides the overall total number of requests for each course.
5. The #S column provides the number of sections that the system suggests for each course. This is based on the course capacity (minimum capacity, maximum capacity, and/or average capacity) that you set up earlier while following the Course Catalog support. Note that the system will always round up in its suggestion. For example, if you set a course's maximum capacity at 30 and there are 31 requests for the course, the system will suggest that you offer 2 sections. If you see two numbers in this area, as shown above, it is because the course is defined as a 1-term course (the system thus has to count - and displays - requests separately for each term, as is shown above).
6. The #N column provides the number of sections you are offering. The first time you view the course tally you will see 0s in this column so that you give each section's number thorough consideration.
Do not make any changes here if you have already assigned periods and/or teachers to the sections in your master schedule (i.e., do not follow this lesson's remaining directions if you have already completed the next lesson/step or any after it). Changes here should only be used to create/destroy sections as a first step toward creating the master schedule. If you need to add/remove sections later in the master scheduling process, use the Edit Draft Schedule Sections.
If you do make any changes, click Save/Delete Sections at the bottom of the page to complete the process
7. After you have saved (as noted directly above) any changes to the #N column, the #A will provide the average number of students who will be enrolled in each section. You may continue to make changes to the #N column numbers or to students' course requests in order to see these #A numbers change.
Alternate Course Request Note: Course Tally does not count the alternate course. It only counts the primary request. If the primary request is not fulfilled and the alternate course becomes the primary, then the alternate will be counted in Course Tally.
Notice that course names are featured at the bottom of the page. However, you may opt to use the
Department Filter function to narrow down the list of courses you are viewing below.
Notice how the list of courses is reduced. Keep in mind that districts vary in terms of their use of department labels. If nothing happens, or if no courses appear under an appropriate department, it could be that your district has not yet assigned department labels to its courses.
You are ready to start placing sections on the board. Placing a section on the board consists of some required data:
- Course (the class being taught)
- Term (yearlong, semester, trimester, etc.)
Placing sections is the building of the schedule. Never consider this as an administrative or clerical task: The process of building a master schedule is a task for instructional leaders. If you would like to read more about leading through master scheduling, read The WHY of Master Scheduling.
Click the Scheduling tab and choose The Draft Board from the Draft Schedule Mgmt header.
You will be prompted to select a draft that you want to work with.
Pro Tip: Now is the time to start duplicating the working draft(s). Use the duplicate tool to “save” your progress as you work. There will be times when you want to go a different direction with your master schedule. Having a saved version to revert to can save hours. A common practice is to create a duplicate after each major phase of scheduling. After placing Non-Negotiable, Singletons, Doubletons, Tripletons, and everything else. Power users end Phase 4 with anywhere from 3-10 drafts of the same schedule, each representing one step in the board building process.
Decision Point: How are you going to build your master schedule?
The Illuminate Board Builder is a powerful scheduling tool. It uses an algorithm to assign existing sections to teachers and timeblocks in a way that minimizes student conflict and builds a schedule that will get a high percentage of course request fulfillment. It uses the information generated in the Teacher-Timeblock, Teacher-Course, Course Tally, and Course Request Conflict Matrix to plan a master schedule in approximately 10 minutes.
Like any tool, it can make your job much easier or over-complicate the task. Keep the following things in mind:
- The Illuminate Board Builder can only work off the information in the system. The Teacher-Couse Availability and The Teacher-Timeblock Availability must be complete and accurate.
- The Illuminate Board Builder uses course requests to inform the placement of sections. If course requests are incomplete or inaccurate, the generated schedule will not meet the actual need.
- The Illuminate Board Builder makes the best schedule from the sections you created in bulk from the Course Tally. If the sections created do not match actual student needs, the board will be less than optimal.
- The Illuminate Board Builder works to minimize potential conflicts for students. It is a student centered tool. It does not consider if a teacher is going to “like” their assignment when the schedule is complete.
- The current Illuminate Board Builder is not equipped to handle additional schedule constraints like block classes and cohorts. For example, if you have an 7th grade English/history teacher that must teach English and history as two courses placed back-to-back for a 2-hour block, the Illuminate Board Builder is not prepared to include those factors. These sections should be placed by hand.
Double check your Course Tally, Teacher-Course Availability and Teacher-Timeblock Availability. If all the information is correct, proceed to the section titled 'Illuminate Board Builder'.
Double check your Course Tally, Teacher-Course Availability and Teacher-Timeblock Availability. The most successful users will work in tandem with the Illuminate Board Builder. The suggested workflow is as follows:
- Place all Non-Negotiable and some singletons by hand. DUPLICATE and run the board builder in the duplicate.
- Review the completed board in the duplicate and note any singletons with potential conflicts or other abnormalities that make the schedule less than viable.
- Return to the original schedule and solve the errors found in #2 by placing additional sections by hand. Duplicate and run the board builder on the new duplicate.
- Review the newest complete schedule, and spot any additional issues. Continue steps 2 and 3 as needed, until the schedule meets your expectations.
Follow the steps in “Illuminate Board Builder” and “Placing Sections by Hand” to complete the building of the board.
Proceed to the section 'Placing Sections by Hand' below.
Great! Illuminate is here to help. More information will be coming soon. Contact Illuminate through the help desk or your Implementation Manager for additional professional development opportunities around master scheduling.
- Select the Place Sections tab
- All the sections created in bulk from the Course Tally can be found in the drop-down. They are waiting to be assigned teachers, timeblocks, and terms.
This is a four-step process that places singletons, doubletons, tripletons, and everything else in separate phases. Most users progress in that order.
Run each grouping in order. 10min is the recommended amount of time. The Legacy Board Builder will place as many of the sections from the drop-down as possible in the configuration that minimizes course request conflicts.
The Enhanced Board Builder is a one-step process that creates the optimal master schedule based on course requests and scheduling constraints.
The Enhanced Board Builder takes between 6 and 12 minutes to plan the master schedule. The draft board will update when the process is complete.
The Enhanced Board Builder is in beta. Illuminate is monitoring its use and making enhancements as appropriate. Both tools are available; If you encounter any problems with the Enhanced Board Builder, please share your experience with us. Email email@example.com with your thoughts. Do not run the board builder in your only draft; Use the duplicate tool before running either master schedule builder
The Illuminate Board Builder(s) do NOT assign room numbers to sections. The easiest way to assign room numbers en masse by teacher can be found on the Edit Section screen. See the Mass Update section for more information.
Most users will need to place some sections by hand. Follow the steps below.
- Select Place Sections from the The Draft Board.
- Select the section from the Sections to be placed drop-down. The information in the drop-down is as follows:
- Section Number (Course Number) - Course Name Assigned Teacher Assigned Period (Timeblock) Term
- Complete the pop-up window with Room, Course(s), Teacher, Period(s) Term(s) and House (optional). Select Save.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 to place additional sections by hand.
- Click the black Create a Section button.
- Complete the pop-up window with the following information: Room, Course(s) Teacher, Period(s) Term(s) and Houses (optional).
Notice that teacher names are featured at the bottom of the page. However, you may opt to use the Filter function to narrow down the list of teachers you are viewing below.
These filters can be used individually or in conjunction with each other to narrow down list results.
- Department filter - if you only want teachers within that departments to appear on the list below.
- Period filter- (All Periods vs. Primary Periods, as in an earlier step/lesson you selected "Is Primary" for periods that are part of the "main" bell schedule, as opposed to things like 0 period or after-school periods that are not part of the main bell schedule)
- Course filter- if you only want to see a specific course to show up on the list below.
- Teacher filter- if you only want to see specific teachers on the list below.
Click Filter. Notice how the list of teachers is reduced.
Keep in mind that districts vary in terms of their use of department labels. If nothing happens, or if no teachers appear under an appropriate department, it could be that your district has not yet assigned department labels to its teachers or courses.
If you later want to remove a filter, simply select Reset and then click Filter. Notice how the list of teachers has expanded to include all teachers.
If your Board is empty, it means no sections have yet been scheduled. Otherwise:
- All Teachers scheduled to teach for the upcoming school year are listed in alphabetical order (by last name), with the sections they are teaching arranged by period after their names.
- Section information- Course ID, Name. Clicking the blue arrow will allow you to 'Edit Section' and 'Empty Section'- delete students from sections, only if no data (i.e. attendance, Gradebook) is tied to it.
- House- if the course is associated with a House it will state that here.
- Periods/Timeblocks- Each section that is already scheduled appears on the Board to the right of the teacher who is scheduled to teach it, a green checkmark in a period denotes that the course is scheduled during that period.
- Terms- counts for each term/semester broken down by grade level, total, and seats left.
Edit Section, Copy Students, Delete Students- Edit section will take you to the section information page. See below for more info on copying students. Delete students will empty the section, as long as no Attendance or Gradebook data is tied to it.
Click the section number to view section details, such as students scheduled to take it, these students' gender counts, and an edit icon that allows you to edit section information. If you previously designated that a section takes up more than one period, it will span more than one period column on the Board.
Notice the line between terms for each teacher. If the teacher was slated to teach a different course/section for each term, you would see this line continue to the right (as indicated by the red arrow, above), and a different course/section would appear above and below the line. Because you do not see this above, it indicates that all teachers shown are scheduled to follow the same schedule for both terms.
If you previously designated (during a previous step/lesson) a teacher as unavailable to teach during a particular period, that period will show up grey for the teacher.
Toggle Board allows you to view the board in a different manner. The image on top is the default view which gives course information in its own column at left. The image on bottom is the toggled view, which shows a compressed list of teachers with course information in the period columns. If you like a specific view, click 'Set View' to make it your default.
Highlight allows you to highlight your already placed Singletons (Red), Doubletons (Yellow), and Tripletons (Green).
If you need to make changes to sections after they have already been placed on the board, click on the section number (as circled above) of a section you want to edit.
...click Edit Section and make any necessary changes to the section (e.g., timeblock).
You will be taken to the Draft Section page to make any edits necessary to the section. Click Save when finished.
- Section Name Allows the user to add a name to the section number. It will display on the Draft Board after the section number
Course(s) The course taught in the section.
- Click on the Course Name to edit the min/max students allowed in the course. Attendance program for the course can also be edited (Not a common task, proceed with caution).
- Click on the SWAP button to quickly change the course taught in the section
- Click on the X (Delete) To delete the course from the section. This button does NOT delete the section ID, which will exist without a course.
- Add New Course Add additional courses under the existing section number
- Current Teacher Quickly change the assigned teacher. If you need to add a second teacher (Co-teachers or a split assignment), select the Edit Teacher from the menu bar above.
- Room Assigned Room Number
- Timeblocks Add, edit and delete the section’s timeblocks
- Terms Add or edit the Terms
- House Assign a house name to the section
- Enable Attendance Turn attendance on or off for a section. Use this option with caution. Discuss this option with your Illuminate Administrator or Implementation Manager before turning off attendance for a section.
- Short Course Segment Used to create elective wheels or other shorter-length courses within a set term. Short Course Segments are a useful tool in specific situations. See the section on Short Course Segments for additional information
- Reporting Data CSR Reporting, Independent Study, Distance Learning, Mentor Teacher, Language of Instruction, Education Service, Instructional Strategy, exclude from State Reporting and Course Flags are all Reporting Data fields and not used in the master scheduling process. Work with your Illuminate Administrator to flag and track courses in a way that meets your needs.
Houses are designed to allow you to divide your students, sections, and/or teachers into smaller communities. Houses are also sometimes referred to as small learning communities. Houses are a tool for building schools or programs within a school.
A few notes about Houses:
1. Students within a House (e.g. Gryffindor) will be scheduled with teachers/sections that belong to that same house. For example, if student Harry is in Gryffindor House and you build sections
linked to Gryffindor, then Harry will get classes linked to Gryffindor when you run the mass student scheduler.
2. Once a student has been assigned to a House, the scheduler will not schedule them into sections (or with teachers) from other houses.
3. Some sections (e.g., electives) may be "house-less" (not affiliated with a house); these are open to all students, regardless of the student's house.
4. The Illuminate Board Builder does not assign houses. So you will have to build your sections tied to a house. Once sections are tied to a house and students are in houses, the mass student scheduler as mentioned above will place students in the appropriate sections.
5. You may opt to let Illuminate mass assign students to a particular house. Look for the option to
"Use automated student houses" when running the mass student scheduler.
6. Students do not remain in a house from year to year by default. If your district keeps students in a house for their entire student career and you would like Illuminate to copy students' house assignments from the previous year send in a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Start
You must be logged in under the school year for which you are impacting scheduling, as well as a specific school site. Note (in the upper-right corner of your screen) that you are now logged in under the upcoming school year.
If you are not, use the Change Student Set/Site in the upper corner of your screen to log in under the upcoming school year.
Click the Scheduling tab near the top of your screen. Under Draft Schedule Management, click Draft Houses.
If the Draft Schedules page prompts you to select a draft first, simply select the Current Schedule Version for which you are adding the house.
Click Create New House.
1. Enter a House Name for the house.
2. Click Submit.
Note that you may opt to let Illuminate's automated scheduler assign students to houses (that you set up ahead of time with this lesson) for you. See the "Use automated student houses" description in the "STEP 20 (Site): Manage Student Schedules via Mass Scheduling (Student Loader)" lesson if you are interested in how that works.
Notice that you may select student names at the bottom of the page. However, you may opt to use the Filter Students function to narrow down the list of students you are viewing below.
Merely select one or more Grade Levels (if you only want students in those grades to appear on the list from which you select students to add to the house), and/or select one or more Student Programs (if you only want students in those programs to appear), and then click Filter Students. Notice how the list of students is reduced.
If you need to select more than one grade level and/or more than one program, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click.
If you later want to remove a filter, simply select all Grade Levels and/or all Student Programs, then click Filter Students. Notice how the list of students has expanded to include all students.
To select more than one grade level and/or more than one program, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click.
Click on the name of any student you want to add to the house. If you want to select/add more than one name at once, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click. Note that you may return to this step at a later time to add more students.
2. Click Add to add students from the Available Students list. In the top box, click on the name of any student you want to add to the house. To add/select more than one name at once, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click.
3. Click Remove to remove students from the Linked students list. In the bottom box, click on the name of any student you want to remove from the house. If you want to select/remove more than one name at once, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click.
When you are finished selecting students, click Submit.
Only add a teacher to a house if all of his or her sections should be tied to a house (meaning that only a particular house's students may take any of the teacher's sections).
If the house is not open already, click its name to open it.
Click Manage House Teachers.
1. Click on the name of any teacher you want to add to the house. If you want to select/add more than one name at once, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click. Note that you may return to this step at a later time to add more teachers.
2. Click the green Add arrow button.
Notice how the name(s) you selected moved to the bottom box. Any names in this box have been added to the house.
1. In the bottom box, click on the name of any teacher you want to remove from the house. If you want to select/remove more than one name at once, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the
Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click.
2. Click the red remove arrow button.
Notice how the name(s) you selected have been removed from the bottom box. Only names remaining in this box are being added to the house.
When you are finished selecting teachers, click Submit.
Remember: If a teacher is added to a house, all the sections that he or she teaches will become part of that same house. If you need to assign only a few of a teacher’s sections to a house, follow the steps in the "Add Sections to House" section, below.
Adding sections to houses allows you to pick and choose sections for multiple teachers that should be affiliated with the selected house.
If the house is not open already, click its name to open it.
Click Manage House Sections.
1. Click on the name of any section you want to add to the house. If you want to select/add more than one section at once, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click. Note that you may return to this step at a later time to add more sections.
2. Click the green add arrow button.
Notice how the section(s) you selected moved to the bottom box. Any sections in this box have been added to the house.
1. In the bottom box, click on the name of any section you want to remove from the house. If you want to select/remove more than one section at once, simply hold down the Ctrl key on your PC keyboard (or Command key on your Mac keyboard) to click multiple selections, or hold down the Shift key on your PC or Mac keyboard to select all options listed between (and including) the 2 options you click.
2. Click the red remove arrow button.
Notice how the section(s) you selected have been removed from the bottom box. Only sections remaining in this box are being added to the house.
When you are finished selecting sections, click Submit.
1. Select the Scheduling tab.
2. Under Draft Schedule Mgmt., select Teacher-Course Links.
3. Next, select a Draft Schedule from the dropdown menu.
4. You will be taken to the Teacher-Course Links list. To add a link, select New Teacher-Course Link.
Mass Update of Room Number, House, Term, Timeblock, and Teacher
1. Click on the Scheduling tab.
2. Under Draft Schedule Mgmt., select Draft Sections.
- Use the search bar to filter for teachers, timeblocks, courses, section numbers, terms, or houses
- Select sections for mass update by checking the boxes on the left.
- Select the desired mass update tool from the Actions button on the right.
6. You will be forced to confirm your changes. Click the checkbox next to Yes to continue.
7. Press Save changes.
A success message will display at the top of your page to indicate the sections have been updated.
You will receive a message similar to the one below if conflicts are found with the updates you wish to make to these sections. To continue despite these conflicts, select the checkbox next to "Allow student and teacher conflicts to be created in this move." then Save Changes. If you wish to go back and make other alterations, click Cancel.
Now that you have completed building the board, you may be here a while. When ready, move onto Phase 5: Schedule Students.