With a new school year on the horizon, we want to make sure you are prepared with Otus to have a seamless start to the school year. Here are some things to keep in mind as the school year begins:

Article Table of Contents

Settings in the Main Admin Account

➡️ These settings are managed from the Control Center in the Main Admin account.

✅ Academic Sessions

  • These are the dates of your new school year, which helps the system know and automate date ranges in reporting. Click here to learn more.

✅ Grading Periods

  • The date ranges within an academic session are used for specifying trimesters, semesters, terms, etc. More info on grading periods is available here.

✅ Admin Users & Accessibility

  • Administrative users and accessibility are managed separately from your class rosters. You can create admin accounts and set their permissions from within the Control Center. Admin accounts have the same capabilities as teacher accounts but also have additional administrative capabilities. See how you can manage admin users here.

✅ Grading Scales

  • You have options in Otus to use traditional points-based grading, proficiency/standards-based scales, or a combination of both. In your main admin account, you control what grading scales are available and can create your own custom scales. Learn more here.

✅ Standards

  • You can choose which standards (state standards, CCSS, NGSS) are available to your teachers to use in their gradebook and for assessment creation. If your district uses standards that are part of our default standards, they can be uploaded as custom standards. More information can be found here.

➡️ These settings are managed from the Home page of the Main Admin account.

✅ Student Groups

  • Otus allows you to create groups to ID segments of students like ELL, IEP, demographic indicators, or really anything that you’d like to be able to differentiate in your system reporting. Check out this article for a quick walk through.

✅ Teacher Groups

  • Like student groups, Otus gives you the ability to create groups of teachers for differentiating reporting and more efficiently sharing internal resources in the system (like sending a copy of a benchmark assessment to “All 6th Grade Teachers”). These directions give you the rundown on setting up teacher groups.

✅ Whitelist

  • Although not managed from directly within Otus, it is important to look at your district's whitelist. In order for Otus to function correctly, there are certain URLs that should be added to your district's whitelist. You'll want to confirm that all URLs listed here are on your district's whitelist.

Communicating with Teachers

While determining your district settings (above) is important, communicating with teachers regarding various new-year tasks is vital. The following list outlines some of the key topics you'll want to make teachers aware of.

✅ Rostering

  • Depending on your district's rostering timeline, you'll want to make sure teachers are aware of when they should expect to see their classes for the new school year. This will avoid any confusion if they login during the summer and don't see any classes, or they may see last year's classes.

✅ Set Class Grade Levels

  • Once rostering is finished, you'll want to verify whether or not class grade levels have been given to teacher's classes. There are certain function within Otus that are dependent on class grade levels, so it is important to confirm that all classes have grade levels. Here are some directions for teachers to locate, review, and edit class grade levels. We recommend asking your teachers to ensure they review and confirm a grade level is set for all classes rostered to them.

✅ Common/Benchmark Assessments

  • If your district is using Common Assessments, it is important to share the distribution plan with your teachers. Will you be using folders? Will assessments be shared as locked assessments? Are teachers going to be creating their own assessments? Details such as these should be worked out and communicated to teachers before the new school year begins. Learn more about best practices for creating and distributing common assessments here.

✅ Using the Gradebook

  • A common question teachers have, especially in the beginning of the year, Is why they aren't able to see grades in their gradebook (the standards gradebook, specifically). If your district is using the standards gradebook and multiple grading scales, it is important that teachers know how to filter the gradebook to see the grades for specific grading scales. More information on navigating the standards gradebook can be found here.

✅ Parent/Family Communication

  • In some cases, districts choose to send Otus information to parents/families through district-wide or school-wide email communication. In other cases, it may be up to the teachers to distribute Otus information to the parents/families of their students. Whichever route your district decides to take, make sure teachers know the expectations for parent accounts, how those parents/families will be getting their student's information, and what to do if parents/families reach out to the teacher's with Otus questions.

✅ Otus Live Professional Development

  • Live Sessions

    • Each week, our team hosts short, bite-sized live training videos on various aspects of Otus. These sessions are free, and can be joined by anyone interested in the topic at hand; all you need to do is register using your email address. Upcoming sessions can be found here. It would be a great idea for your teachers to bookmark that page, that way, they can quickly register for any sessions they'd like.

  • On Demand Library

    • The live sessions mentioned above are recorded and uploaded to our on demand library, found here. If teachers aren't able to attend live sessions, thats ok, they can watch the recordings at any time!

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