Jupiter SIS can automatically add students to classes based on course requests, balancing sections for class size, gender, academic ability, and discipline. You can bulk schedule the whole school at once, and do walk-in scheduling for one student at a time. It also helps you manually plan your master schedule of who teaches which courses in what periods.
Automatic scheduling is designed for high schools and middle schools. For elementary schools, it is easier to schedule students manually. This is not a class registration system, so it is not suitable for colleges or adult education. Available for Jupiter SIS only.
Before any scheduling, you must prepare the following, especially the first year you use Jupiter SIS. (In subsequent years you'll mostly copy the same settings.)
Set the grading periods for the year, like quarters and semesters.
Define the periods for each bell schedule, then set the bell schedule for each school day. These periods are very important for scheduling, so be thorough, especially for block periods and rotating schedules.
Define your high school Graduation Requirements. While K-8 schools generally don't need this feature, it is still important to at least define the subject areas, which are used to organize Course Request forms and to balance sections by academic ability in each subject.
Edit your Course offerings. Set all the attributes, including GPA scale, credits, duration, graduation requirements, grade levels, gender, capacity, and description. The "Grad Req" menu applies even to K-8 courses, just so it knows for example which classes are Math classes, and likewise for each subject area, which helps it with scheduling and course requests.
Create a default Plan for each grade level at each school. (For high schools this is called a Four-Year Plan, but it applies to middle schools too.) Then individualize each student's plan as needed. This determines the default courses each student should take each year.
To prevent certain students from being in the same class together, or to prevent a student from having a certain teacher, go to the screen. (This affects the automatic scheduling only, so you can still manually place students in any class regardless of these constraints.)
To build a schedule for all students at the school:
Create a Draft schedule for the coming term. If scheduling the 1st term of a new year or summer, start with a blank schedule. If starting the 2nd term or later of the school year, select the option to continue classes from the previous term where appropriate.
If you don't know how many sections you'll need because you want to look at Course Requests first, you still need to create a mock draft schedule now. Just put one section of each course you plan to offer. Put them in any aribritrary period with any teacher, e.g., all during 1st period. It does not matter that the schedule is conflicting.
Or if you do know roughly what your schedule will be, go ahead and set it (but don't add students yet). This is just a first draft you will revise later, so it does not matter if it has conflicts.
Make the schedule for one term only; do not try to schedule the whole year in advance! For example, wait until December before you schedule 2nd semester. That way, after all the inevitable schedule changes at the start of the year, it can produce a better optimized schedule for 2nd semester with smoother continuity.
Do not Publish the schedule yet. It must remain a Draft for now.
Have teachers make Course Recommendations for students. (Teachers may continue to do this while students make course requests in step 3 below. Teachers may update their recommendations each term if needed, but once a year is all that is required.)
You may do course requests each term, or just once a year if you prefer. If just once a year, counselors would simply copy each student's requests from the 1st term.
Counselors should look at the Plan screen to review each student's course requests. If some students submitted course requests in writing, enter those manually on the Plan. Make changes as necessary to ensure the requests are complete and the student is on track to graduate. The scheduler uses the requested courses, not the ones originally on the Plan.
Look on the screen to see if you have enough sections planned:
The first table compares how many students requested each course, and the total capacity of all sections of that course, which determines the average class size. This is just a preliminary estimate based solely on students' first-choices. If it shows a Shortage, you may need to add more sections, especially for required courses (but this is to be expected for popular electives). If the Shortage is a large negative number, you probably have too many sections. Ideally the Shortage should be a small negative number.
The second table shows the total capacity of all sections for each period. If this is smaller than your total enrollment, you may need to move some sections from other periods to that period (unless many students are supposed to have a free period). Ideally each period should have a little more capacity than your total enrollment (except perhaps zero period and after-school programs).
Do not Start the build yet. Just look at the tables.
Add, delete, and move sections as needed. Now is the time to resolve any conflicts.
The periods are very important for scheduling, so be thorough when scheduling block periods and rotating schedules. Students will not be added to classes that have no period (although you may do so manually).
Also set the room number for each section. The Grid View on the screen is especially useful for this. Sort by Room to find available rooms each period.
Repeat steps 5 and 6 until it looks satisfactory.
You may manually pre-schedule some students as needed, e.g., if a student must be in a certain section in a certain period. The scheduler will not move these students.
Start the build on the screen. Processing may take a few minutes, but you can continue working while that runs in the background. Check back on this screen to see when it is done. This will be your first attempt, which you will likely revise and rebuild later.
If you are rebuilding a schedule from a previous attempt, first you must drop all students from all classes: click any section on the screen, then click the "Drop Students" button. You have the option to keep the students you had pre-scheduled before the last build.
Note you can save copies of your draft schedules to see which ones turn out better. Also note there is a random element of chance, so each build may place students differently even if everything else is identical.
When the build is done, look on the screen to check the class sizes. If some periods have small classes while others are full, consider moving sections to different periods to balance it out. If some periods have a notably lower GPA, that may indicate de facto segregation — e.g., a large number of bright math students taking Advanced Band during 3rd period would leave the 3rd period math classes with a lower average. If you make any changes, go back to step 8 to rebuild the schedule.
On the screen, in Grid View, click the "Next Inc" button. That finds any student who has an incomplete schedule due to scheduling conflicts. (A student's schedule is complete when they have the same number of classes as on their Plan; e.g., if 7 classes are planned but only 6 are scheduled, that is Incomplete.) Make any corrections if possible until there are no more students with incomplete schedules. If you find a large number of problems, revise the schedule or Plans, then rebuild the schedule.
When everything is ready, click the "Publish" button on the screen. Although you can revise the schedule anytime after it is published, it is easier to work with drafts, so avoid publishing as long as feasible.
To schedule a new student after the term has started:
It is best to start a Plan for the new student. The counselor can put the student's course requests directly into the Plan. Alternatively, you may skip this step to add each course manually.
On the screen, in Grid View, click the "Auto-Add" button. That automatically adds the student to all their requested classes if possible (while keeping the sections balanced). Or you may select all classes manually, or select just some classes then click "Auto-Add" to fill in the rest.
Note: Walk-In scheduling is usually done to the Published schedule, since the term has already begun. You can do it on a Draft schedule too, but normally there's no reason to. Bulk scheduling, in contrast, applies only to Draft schedules.
The scheduler automatically tries to balance sections for four criteria:
Class Size — so each section about the same size. Once a class is full, it does not add any more students (although you may manually add more students over capacity).
Gender — so each section has about the same ratio of boys to girls.
Discipline — so you don't have too many troublemakers in the same class. To do this, it looks at each student's discipline log over the past 12 months, considering both the quantity and severity of incidents.
GPA — so each section has about the same academic ability on average, without too many D and F students in the same class. To do this, it looks at each student's grade history by subject; for example, only math grades are looked at when scheduling math classes. When scheduling the 1st term or summer, it looks at grades from the previous year, even if the student was at a different school in your district. When scheduling the 2nd term or later, it looks at grades from the first part of the current school year. (It looks only at gradebooks, not transcripts. It is not a problem if some or all students have no grade history.)
Note: The Graduation Requirements determine which courses are in the same subject, like English, Science, PE, etc., which is why even K-8 schools should define Graduation Requirements.
Seniority counts, so generally seniors are more likely to get their first-choice electives than freshman. However, many other variables affect the final outcome, so there may be exceptions.
Students who are failing or have a bad discipline record also tend to get placed before other students. That helps balance the sections. It also gives them a greater chance for success by putting them in their first-choice classes if possible, rather than classes they didn't really want.
Aside from that, each student has a fair chance of getting their requested classes. Students cannot gain any unfair advantage by requesting more or fewer classes.
To schedule a free period or study hall for a student, you can simply put fewer courses on their Plan. For example, instead of putting 7 classes, put 6.
Alternatively, you could create a Course called "Study Hall" or "Free Period" or whatever, then add that to the student's Plan. If a student needs a specific period free, e.g. to leave campus 7th period for an off-campus class, you should pre-schedule the student in that section before building the schedule (see step 7 above).
Teams / SLC / School-Within-a-School
To divide students into different teams, you must define different Courses for each team, such as one Social Studies course for the Yellow team, and the same course with a different course number for the Green team, and likewise for each subject. Then schedule students for the appropriate course numbers. (It does not automatically assign students to teams. Also the course requests include all courses for all students, so you must ensure students request the correct course.)