PowerSchool Contact Mappings - 'the guardian email problem'
A common issue for schools integrating their PowerSchool Student Information system is the structure of parent email information. In order for a parent communication system to work well, it is imperative the correct email and phone numbers are associated with the correct guardians.
Prior to PowerSchool Version 12, the default Student contact fields in PowerSchool look similar to this:
- Mother name
- Mother phone
- Father name
- Father phone
- Guardian email (comma-separated list of contact email addresses)
As you may have already encountered with PowerSchool there is no straightforward way to associate a parent with the correct email. We have a number of approaches customers can take to deal with this issue:
1. Custom Mother/Father Email Fields (Recommended)
Many schools have already created custom email fields to address this very problem. If you haven't done so we recommend this approach if it's practical for you. Some schools have also created a custom contacts table associated to each student, this allows more than two contacts per student but is more complex and redundant in the latest version of PowerSchool.
Configured Custom Mappings
To import custom PowerSchool fields we require the names of the custom fields or tables. Please send an exported CSV of the table containing the custom fields. Along with the table name, we require the column names, remove all data and student information, before sending it to the Edlio team. The integration team will then provide you with a customized plugin that you will need to install using the standard procedures.
Migrate Email Addresses
If you have not already separated guardian email addresses into custom fields or contacts this can be a time consuming and complex task. PowerSchool provides a mechanism to export and import the data using CSV spreadsheets.
The PowerSchool Data Import Manager provides an efficient way to update email addresses, and much faster than editing each student's information individually using the PowerSchool interface. It is especially helpful if you have already separated parent emails, such as an existing spreadsheet. PowerSchool does not provide public documentation, please contact your PowerSchool support for more help with this tool.
Keep the Guardian Emails?
You can choose to import the custom parent email fields and continue importing the guardian emails. While possible, we do not recommend importing both the guardian emails and your custom email fields. Generally speaking, it creates additional confusion for school administrators and parents, although you may continue using that field for other purposes.
2. Upgrade to PowerSchool Version 12 (If Possible)
The latest version of PowerSchool includes a better design parent contacts system that allows more than mother and father and associates contact information directly to each contact.
While it's not normally practical to upgrade a major system during the school year, we do recommend considering this approach for the future. We are currently working with PowerSchool to support PowerSchool Version 12 contacts.
3. Create Duplicate Contacts (Not recommended)
If you don't already have parent-specific email addresses this option involves the least effort but results in some significant downsides for administrators and parents. On request, the Edlio team can enable the PowerSchool integration to create contacts for each parent (mother name, mother phone and father name, father phone) as well as a nameless contact for each email address in the guardian email field (separated by either comma or semicolon).
This will result in parents receiving communications on multiple channels (email and phone). It also creates multiple logins for each contact. This can be particularly confusing for parents, teachers and administrators.