The front office staff uses many parts of the Illuminate system on a daily basis. The help documents useful for this position can be found in various help manuals within our help system. This procedures guide was created as a shortcut to helpful lessons found in other manuals. To access one of the lessons quickly, simply click on the provided link. For a more in depth look, please see the full manual listing in the Help menu.
Internal Support and Training
Training and OnGoing Support - Switching to a new student information system has the most impact on office staff because they use so many of the features on a daily basis. Often times this switch requires many process changes. Additionally, the system is new to everybody so the go-to-person suddenly isn't the go-to-person anymore. For this reason, we recommend setting up regular internal weekly and/or monthly meetings in the beginning. These meetings can serve as a place to dialog, troubleshoot, receive additional training and provide feedback to Illuminate. Districts that have done this have had the most success with the rollout process at sites.
Getting Questions Answered - When staff have questions and issues, who are they supposed to contact? Who are the experts in your district and/or at each school site?
Tabbed Browsing - Illuminate is a web based application. To work quickly and efficiently you should be familiar with tab browsing. Visit the following links for more information and tutorials:
Printing - Now that you know that Illuminate is a web based application it is a good time to mention that printing directly from the browser is not recommend. Most Web pages (not just Illuminate) are designed to be viewed rather than printed. When printing directly from the browser, the webpage is likely to be distorted or otherwise negatively impacted. Therefore, Illuminate provides the option for you to download what you need to print in a .pdf or Excel format. Look for the download icons on the pages that you need to print to avoid frustration of cut off or too small of images. These download icons are red for .pdf and green for Excel.
Screenshots - Screenshots are useful for a variety of reasons, especially if you are sending in a help request to email@example.com. Visit the following links for more information and tutorials:
Viewing / Screen Resolution - To make the screen smaller or bigger, you can do the following ...
PC - hold control (ctrl) and the plus (+) keys to make things bigger. To make the screen smaller, hold the control and minus (-) keys. Click ctrl and zero (0) to snap back to normal.
Mac - hold command (apple) and the plus (+) keys to increase the resolution. To make the screen smaller hold the command (apple) and minus (-) keys. Click command (apple) and zero (0) keys to snap back.
Quick Search - Use the quick search bar at the top of the screen to search for Students as well as Navigation links and Help Docs. Type in a student name or key word, e.g. 'transfer'.
Dashboard - Before you begin take a moment to customize your Dashboard to show only the widgets that are relevant to your role. See the Customize Your Dashboard lesson for details.
Download to Excel and PDF - You can download data to Excel and PDF all throughout the system. Look for the download options in lists, tables, reports, etc.
Student Profile - The student profile is a prebuilt report that displays all of the information about a student in one convenient location. Like the Dashboard, you can move areas or widgets around and customize them to your preference. Once you customize one student's report those settings will hold for all students; this means you will be able to view all student profiles exactly as you want to see them. Many site secretaries find it helpful to set the student Contact information at the top of the profile followed by the Schedule and Enrollment History. Another tip is to set up the report to display so that it is easy print and send with students if they un-enroll from the site and need to take documentation to their new site. See the the Student Profile lesson for details.
Student Profile and Dashboard Widgets - work with your Implementation Manager to ensure you have access to all appropriate widgets.
Favorites - Certain reports can be tagged as Favorites. These are prebuilt and custom reports (read below for more info). Favorite reports can then be easily accessed from the 'Favorites' widget on your Dashboard. This will allow you to be able to access these reports quickly and easily from your Dashboard. You definitely want to set reports to favorites.
Quick Nav - When viewing a student's information from any of the listed pages (Demographic Details, Health Details, Special Ed Details, Student Programs, etc.) the quick nav option will appear in the Sub Navigation. This Quick Nav has direct navigation to the most commonly accessed student pages.
Redundant Links - The Student module has been designed as the one tab that to access everything about a student. It has been designed to eliminate the need for office staff members to have to jump around to multiple tabs. Therefore, many options found in the student tab are also found in other tabs. For example, Behavior Details is found under both Students and Behavior.
Students - General Tasks
1. Student Search - You can search for a student by using the large search bar at the top of every page. Or for more options, see Search for a Student.
2. Student Profile - One of the most useful pages is the Student Profile report. The report can be accessed at any time by clicking on a student's name or ID number.
3. Demographic Details - Another useful page that you may need to access to view or edit information on a student is the Demographic Details page.
4. Transfer Records - Create a New Transfer Record
Adding Additional Data/Fields in Illuminate
Student Comments - There is often a need to keep general comments on a student. There is an option in the Student tab called 'Comments' where you can do this. The Comments will keep a dated running list of any comment written. The ability to create comments for students is permission based and since multiple people at a site may have this permission, it is a good best practice to add initials/name next to each comment made for accountability and tracking. Comments create an Alert called a 'Note'.
Tracking Basic Data - There are many places in Illuminate to house student data. For example. Demographic Details offers key fields to track essential student info. However, there may be additional you need to track that does not have a specific home or field within Illuminate. This could include students who are eligible to go to a dance, locker numbers, participation lists, after school program participation, academic interventions info, and much more.
Tracking Add'l Data - Custom Demographics or Summary Assessments were designed to house additional data. Go to Assessments > Create a Custom Demographic. Follow this lesson Custom Demographics/Summary Assessments.
Custom Reports and Custom Forms/Labels - You can pull Custom Demographic and other system information into a custom report > and therefore onto custom Forms and Labels. These are powerful tools! See below for more info.
Enrolling a new student is quick and easy. The important thing to note is that start and end dates are extremely important in Illuminate.
IMPORTANT: All enrollment start and end dates should match scheduling start and end dates as well as transfer start and end dates if applicable. Additionally, the student enrollment record should start beginning the first day that the student is actually sitting in a seat at school. Similarly, the enrollment record should end on the student's actual last day of class.
How to enroll a student ...
Enrollment FAQ and Reports Overview ..
Sample New Student Checklist!
It may be helpful to create a checklist similar to the one below with procedural notes for your role/site. Who will be the scribe?
- Create New Student
- Demographic Details Page
- Programs (If Applicable)
- Special Ed. (If Applicable)
- Language (If Applicable)
- Health (If Applicable)
The Scheduling module contains two sections that cover everything you need to work with students' live schedules.
1. The Live Schedule Section contains The Board as well as a Live Sections option. Both of these areas are used to manage the live schedule. Two common needs in the beginning of the school year are to Create, Edit, Merge, and Delete a Section and Edit and Delete a Student's Schedule/Class.
To make scheduling brand new students easier Illuminate has created a Walk-In Scheduler (secondary only) that allows for students to be quickly scheduled to basic classes. In order to use this feature, walk-in packages need to be set up in advance at the site level and should not be confused with master scheduling packages.
2. Another task that is common in the beginning of the year is the need to print student schedules and class rosters.
- Student schedules are called Locators in Illuminate. Locators can be printed in mass by accessing the option through the Scheduling module under Live Schedule Reports as well as for an individual student through the Students module.
- Up to date Class Rosters are available in Live Schedule Reports section of the scheduling module. Note: Roster reports with a different format/layout are available in the Reports module as well however these reports will not reflect any changes to rosters until the following day.
- Also note that a roster can be printed directly from The Board by clicking on the blue section number and selecting The Roster PDF option.
Contacts in Illuminate are unique as they are setup to maintain the cleanest data possible. Clean contact data is especially critical in Illuminate because it is an all in one system and contacts impact many things such as the Home Connection Portal, Mailing Labels, Attendance Letters, Behavior Letters, Secondary Report Cards, etc.
Additionally since Illuminate is setup as one database for the entire district rather than separate databases per school, sites that share siblings will also share contact information because the contact data is stored for the Household, not the individual student. Entering contact information correctly is critical.
A quick Illuminate vocabulary lesson:
Contacts = Adults in a student's life e.g., Mom, Dad, Grandma, Babysitter, Neighbor, etc.
Dwelling = A physical structure that a student can reside at.
Household = A household is essentially a family. Think of a household as students and contacts that reside at the same dwelling as a family. The household is what ties students, contacts, and dwellings together. Note: In Illuminate there is no 'Add a sibling' feature. All siblings are linked through a household.
1. Contacts FAQ
Labels, Form Letters and Mail Merge
There are several ways to generate Labels and custom Form Letters in Illuminate.
1. Prebuilt Report Labels - There are numerous prebuilt label reports located in the Reports module. They have all been enabled with the labels or mailing labels tag so that users can filter and find them quickly. Since these label reports are prebuilt with all users in mind they may not meet specific needs. You may need to create a custom report.
2. Custom Reports - custom reports mentioned above can utilize the Labels sub-tab within the custom report interface to easily create custom labels with information contained in the custom report.
3. Form Letters - Within custom reports, similar to creating custom labels, you also have the ability to attach your own customized form letter using our form letter setup tool.
4. Mail Merge - Another option is the ability to export custom report, student search, or other data sets into a mail merge to make your own labels or form letters outside of Illuminate. To do this open your data set in a custom report, student search, etc and click the green Excel icon. I Access the short Mail Merge help document by clicking Here. Since the instructions for mail merge differ for each version of Microsoft Office and the operating system you are using it is advised that specific instructions for your district are created.
Reports - Custom
Custom Reports, found in the Reports module are a dynamic way to bring multiple datasets together. If managed properly custom reports can be a great timesaver. Learn more about Custom Reports Here!
Magic Reports - type text to get your report to appear. These are fun and amazing! Follow this help doc Magic Reports.
Tags - Similar to other areas of the system, custom reports are organized by 'Tags'. Tags are a simple way to quickly label a report and find other similar reports with a similar 'Tag'. It is recommended that office managers/site secretaries create a tag that will be used by all office/secretary type roles. Then each custom report that is created can be shared with the other users in this role. Each user will see the report structure created with only the students that they have access to through their site affiliations. Sharing reports this way eliminates the need for each secretary to create a report individually. Why reinvent the wheel?
Duplicating Custom Reports - Duplicating custom reports is an important feature. You can take a report that you have made or someone else has made and shared with you and make an exact copy of the report. You can then re-title the duplicate report and make additional changes without having to start from scratch. Duplicate, Hide, or Delete Custom Reports.
Titles = Report creators should get in the habit of giving the report a detailed title and use the description field to list exactly what is included in the report. Many groups often compile a list of important reports used in the past and nominate somebody as the report creator to create and share the report structure with others at the beginning of the year.
Favorites - The custom reports that are used most often should be tagged as a 'favorite' and placed in your Favorites widget on your customizable Dashboard. Click Here to learn how to customize your dashboard.
NOTE: Unlike prebuilt reports, custom reports update on the fly and show real time data.
Reports - Prebuilt
Each module in Illuminate has prebuilt reports specific to the module, i.e. the Attendance module has attendance specific reports, the Scheduling module has schedule specific reports, and so on.
Additional prebuilt reports are housed under Reports > List Reports. These include ...
- State assessment data
- Mailing Labels, Labels, and Contact Lists
- Health immunization checks and compliance
- Health alerts
- Grade posting and audit
- Roster Lists
- Behavior 'Referral' reports
Below are some helpful links to get you started working with prebuilt reports:
- Find a Prebuilt report in the Reports Module
- The Student List Report
- The Student Profile Report
- Abstracts of Available Prebuilt Reports in the Reports Module
The prebuilt reports that are used most often should be tagged as a 'favorite' and placed in your Favorites widget on your customizable Dashboard. Click Here to learn how to customize your dashboard.
NOTE: All prebuilt reports update on a nightly basis.
Attendance Reports and Procedures
Illuminate has several help documents on attendance however the districts that have experienced very positive rollouts have taken the time to look through our generic attendance procedures and develop district specific guidelines and expectations. Some examples of these district procedures include but are not limited to ...
- What time will attendance need to be taken?
- How will late/tardy students be handled?
- How long does a student have to excuse an absence?
- When will absence reconciliation take place?
- What reports need to be submitted to the district office at the end of the month?
- How will teachers access weekly/monthly verification logs, etc?
Attendance Reports: click Here to see the reports at your disposal .
Attendance Record Search: To search any type of attendance marks e.g., absence, tardy, excused, not excused use the Search Record tool.
Individual Student Attendance Summary: To print out or view all attendance marks for a student use the Student Summary.
Attendance Student Program Overrides (allows users to manually set a students Funding Category when session, course, and section do not apply).
Attendance Help Manual: Additional attendance documentation can be found by visiting the Attendance Help Manual or the most used lessons can be found below:
To learn more about our attendance process, or to receive a walk through of our various reports (such as Mass Attendance Updates), you can view our two Office Staff Attendance Videos: Attendance 1 and Attendance 2.
- Photo - While the picture on the Student Profile is small you can enlarge it by double clicking on the picture.
- You can upload photos one at a time or by sending your photo files to help@illumianteEd.com. Photos must be individual jpegs and labeled by student id.