Parent and Student Account Management
|[Parent and Student Account Management - Updated May 12, 2017]|
Aeries.Net - Parent and Student Account Management
Parent and Student Account Management
The Aeries Parent and Student Portals are available for both parent and student use. Parents and students must have accounts created before they can access the features of the Aeries Parent and Student Portals. Aeries supports automatic account creation, but also supports having parents or students create their own accounts individually.
Parents who have multiple students within the same district need only a single account to access all their students. In addition, multiple parents can each have their own account, avoiding the need to share password information.
The creation and maintenance of parent or student accounts within Aeries is also known as the Parent Account Management System (PAMS). This document will explain these processes in detail.
Individual Account Creation
One method of creating accounts is to have the parents and/or students create accounts individually themselves. Once the parent or student has the required information to create an account, no further action from the school or district is necessary.
Required information and VPC Code
Before the parents can create an account individually, they need 3 pieces of information: Student ID Number (STU.ID), Primary Telephone (STU.TL), and Verification Code (STU.VPC) for each student. This information is typically given to the parents in a printed letter including instructions for the parent to go to the Parent Portal website that the district has already installed and configured. This information could be distributed as a letter during the registration, at back-to-school nights, or mailed home to the parents. An Aeries Query Letter or mail-merge could be used to produce these letters. Labels (Avery 5160 Labels) can be printed out, and can be printed by class so distributing the labels and instructions at events can be streamlined.
The Verification Passcode (STU.VPC) field is automatically generated when students get added to Aeries. It contains a random 11-character string of numbers and letters. This string avoids characters like 0, O, 1, L, and I to lessen confusion.
A student's VPC code can be found on the Student Data 2 tab in Aeries Web. It can also be viewed by running the Avery 5160 Labels report with the option Labels with Parent Portal Info selected. A similar report is available in Aeries Client called Print Avery 5160 Labels To Parent/VPC.
VPC codes are created when a student gets added to Aeries and should never get changed. Should there be a situation where some students do not have a VPC code, running the Avery 5160 Labels report mentioned above will automatically generate VPC codes for any that are missing.
Aeries Software recommends not printing the telephone number on the label or letter provided to the parents/guardians. Schools or Districts should inform parents the key information provided to associate their account with their student(s) must be kept secure to prevent any other person from creating an account and gaining access to their student's information. Parents/guardians may want to remind their students not to share the information with their friends or other individuals outside the family.
Registering for an account
Once parents/guardians or students have the required information in hand (ID Number, Telephone, and VPC), they can go to the Aeries Parent or Student Portal link provided by their school or district and click on the Create New Account link. This will take the parent or student through the Registration Process. Note: Multiple languages are supported within the portal. Parents can select their desired language as part of the account creation process and will be presented with translated text throughout the process.
During this process, the individual will be asked for their Account Type, Parent or Student. With this individual account creation process, there is no way to prevent students from being able to create accounts if parents can create accounts. Students may eventually end up acquiring the VPC, ID, and TL from their parents and try to sign up for an account of their own. Giving students the option to sign up as students will actually discourage them from signing up as parents. It will not prevent students from registering as parents but will help minimize the occurrences.
Next the parent or student will be prompted for an email address and a password to use for their new account.
After that step, an email will be sent to that email address and the registration process will be halted until they go to their email inbox and click on the Confirm This Email Address link in the email that was sent.
If the person is unable to click on the links in the e-mail, they can manually go to the URL specified and manually Accept or Reject the account. Note: The "Email code" should not be confused with the VPC code. The E-mail code is only used as part of the one-time activation process.
If they click on the Confirm link, the following webpage will be displayed and they can continue with the registration process.
The parent or student will now need to click Return to Login Page and Sign In with the email address and password specified previously. The registration process will continue with the parent entering in the ID, TL, and VPC for the student they wish to gain access to. If those 3 pieces of information are verified against a STU record in the database, this account will be associated with that student.
The parent is presented with a list of all contact records (CON) for that student. This only applies if the account was created as a Parent account, and there is at least one contact record for the student. If the account is a Student account, the student email address field (STU.SEM) will be updated.
When a name is selected and the parent clicks Next, the account email address will attempt to populate that contact record's e-mail field (CON.EM). If the contact record has an existing email address populated that is different that the account email address, the parent must click OK to replace it. Once overwritten, an email will be sent to the old email address informing the owner that the email address stored in Aeries has changed and to contact the school if there is a concern. If the parent selects "None of the above" no contact records will be updated.
Now that the account is created and associated, the parent or student can use the login page to login to the portal and view the information about their associated student.
Adding additional students to an account
The Aeries Parent and Student Portals allow individual parent accounts to be associated with multiple students. The account can even be associated with students from different schools within the same District. This means that parents only need one username and password to access all their students. The parent will need the three pieces of required information before they can add another student to their account.
To add a new student to an account, the user must first log in to Parent Portal. The menu shows Change Student, a dropdown list of students currently assigned to this account are listed as well as the option to Add New Student To Your Account.
To add additional students, the parent will be prompted for the ID, TL, and VPC and also be asked to select their contact record as mentioned previously. The user will then see the students added in the Change Student dropdown and can easily switch between them by clicking on the student's name.
Automated Account Creation
The Parent Portal is not completely focused on parents creating their own accounts. Accounts can be created in mass or updated automatically as email addresses are entered within Aeries. Using these automated methods will avoid having to issue the required information including VPC codes to your parents and students. These methods also prevent parents from registering as students and vice versa since they are not creating their accounts directly. It also allows for more control over who has access to the portal, because there is no way to register for an account.
Define Email Text
Before continuing with auto or mass-create, default email templates need to be reviewed and populated. This is managed from the Define Email Text form in Aeries. This allows system administrators to define the email text that Aeries will send when the following types of events occur:
New Student Account – when an email address is placed into the Student Email STU.SEM field and that email address has not been previously assigned to a student account. Students are sent their username and password in this email.
Edit Student Account – when an email address is placed into the Student Email STU.SEM field and that email address already has an account that can view another student. This situation is rare, but could be possible if multiple children share the same email address.
New Parent Account – when an email address is placed into the STU.PEM or CON.EM fields and that email address has not been previously assigned to a parent account. Parents are sent their username and password in this email. Note: Storing parent email addresses in CON.EM instead of STU.PEM is recommended.
Edit Parent Account – when an email address is placed into the STU.PEM or CON.EM fields and that email address already has an account that can view another student. This situation is common for parents with multiple students in the school or district. Note: Storing parent email addresses in CON.EM instead of STU.PEM is recommended.
These emails are setup for each school, so the text can be different for each school. The system sends these emails "from" the Portal Confirmation Email Address for each school. This field must be populated on the School Options page.
The Email Text is customizable with the built-in WYSIWYG editor, or with HTML markup. Placeholders to include data from some fields can be used. [NM] can be used to include the name of the parent/guardian. [STU.NM] can be used to include the name of the student. Other STU fields may also be used. A specialized [username] and [password] placeholder should be used to give the person the username of their account (email address) and the randomly generated password that gets created by the system.
Auto-Create Accounts is an option that when turned on will automatically create new accounts, and update existing portal accounts when email addresses are entered or changed within Aeries. Note: to use this feature, Define Email Text must be configured first.
This option can be turned on within Aeries Web under School Info | Portal Management | Auto/Mass Create Portal Accounts. The first section of this screen handles Auto-Create/Manage options. You have the option to auto-create Student accounts, Parent accounts, or both.
There is also an option NOT to Auto-Create/Manage accounts if the student record is inactive. If this option is selected, only active student records will trigger the account creation or modification when email addresses are entered, changed, or removed.
Once these options have been configured, entering e-mail addresses within the system will trigger the account creation or modification emails to parents or students as defined. This is supported with Student email addresses (STU.SEM), Contact email addresses (CON.EM), as well as parent/guardian email (STU.PEM).
Maintaining Email Addresses with Auto-create
When updating, adding, or removing email addresses within the system, accounts will automatically get created, updated, and deleted as needed. The parent and/or student will be emailed their account information as defined in Define Email Text section above; however, as emails are updated in the system the user will be prompted on certain actions that are required and special emails will be sent as necessary. It is recommended that email addresses be stored in the Contact record (CON.EM), and not in the parent email address field (STU.PEM).
When changing Contact or Parent email addresses, the system will check to see if there is an existing portal account. If there is, you will be prompted to either Replace the old account with the new email address, or Create a New Account leaving the old account intact.
After clicking Replace Old Account, a special email will be sent to the old and new email address notifying the parent that their account username has changed.
If the system detects that an email address is in use in other areas of the system, you will be prompted to update them. Clicking Yes will update all other contact or student records with the new email address. Clicking No will only update the current record you are working with.
When attempting to delete a Contact or blank out an email address on a Contact, and it is tied to a portal account, you will be prompted to either Remove or Leave Account. Clicking Remove will remove the portal account completely. Clicking Leave Account will leave the account in place. Either option will allow you to delete the contact record.
Clicking Remove will trigger a special email sent to the old email address, letting the parent know they no longer have access to the student.
Mass Create Accounts
Portal accounts can be mass created with a single click of a button. This feature can be used instead of or in conjunction with the auto-create or manual create options explained previously.
This will allow with a single click, creating accounts for any parent or student who doesn't already have one. For the Mass Create process, pre-enrolled students will be included if the option to "Include Pre-Enrolled Students" is left checked.
Student accounts will be created based on the email address in STU.SEM. Parent accounts will only be created for STU.PEM or CON.EM if Allow access to portal is set to Yes, and who don't already have an account. CON.EM is the recommended location to store parent email addresses.
If the account already exists but does not have access to the student, then access to the student will be granted, and the account will receive the Edit Parent Account or Edit Student Account notification email. This is common in situations where a parent's email address is listed in the Contacts for multiple students.
Note: The options shown below will always default to checked when the page is loaded and must be set appropriately each time the Mass Create Accounts process is run. These options are separate from the Auto-Create/Manage options discussed earlier.
Import from Aeries Enrollment
When importing/adding a student from Aeries Enrollment, parent accounts will be automatically created at the time of the import if auto create is turned on and configured. Student accounts are not automatically created.
If Google is set up as an identity provider for student accounts, entering student email addresses will still automatically create accounts or mass create accounts as necessary based on STU.SEM as previously mentioned. If the domain of the email matches what is specified in Identity Providers, it will not include a password in the email and instead read "Your current Google account's password".
If Google integration is configured so that Aeries is automatically creating and managing Google accounts for students, then the Google student sync process will honor each school's option to Auto-Create Student Portal accounts and will automatically create new Student Portal accounts matching the Google account as needed.
This section covers tips and tricks and management of parent and student portal accounts.
If a parent or student forgets their password, they can easily reset it by clicking the Forgot Password? link from the login page. After clicking the link, the parent enters their email address and clicks Next. If the email address entered does not match an existing account, the parent will be presented with a message informing them that the email address could not be matched to an account.
At this point the parent should either create a new account (if your district is using individual account creation) or contact the school for assistance (the school would then enter the email address into Aeries to automatically generate an account). If the parent still has access to their old email account, they could reset their password using their old email address, then change their email address after logging in.
After entering their email address, the parent or student will be sent an email containing a link to reset their password. Below is an example of an email the parents or students will receive:
Having parents reset their own passwords is the typical option, however passwords may also be reset via a Change query by a user with appropriate permissions. After resetting their password in this manner, the parent can immediately log in without the need to verify an email. Changing a password to "welcome" or "changeme" will require the user to change the password the next time they login.
Changing account type
Each portal account is tagged as either a Parent or Student. Occasionally there may be the need to change an account type from parent to student or vice versa. This may be necessary to allow the parent to access resources only available to parents (such as Data Confirmation), but they mistakenly have a student type account. This can be changed via a Change query when necessary. The account type is stored as a "P" or "S" value in the TY field of the PWA table.
Manage Parent/Student Accounts
The Manage Parent/Student Accounts form within Aeries can manage several portal account related tasks. The user can search either by account email address or student ID number. When searching, be sure to set the appropriate Account Type and Account Status. Typically, users Show All to show all accounts.
Emulating a parent account – Clicking the blue person icon next to an account will allow the current user to log in as the parent, without knowing the parent's or student's password. This is useful when troubleshooting account issues with parents, or when testing security setup.
Removing a student from an account - To remove a student from a parent account, click the red X on the right side of the screen. Clicking this will disassociate the student from the parent account. Note: if the student is at multiple schools, removing one school removes them all.
Removing an account - To remove an account altogether, click the red X on the left side of the screen next to the email address. This will delete the account completely.
Resending account verification email – Clicking on the envelope icon will resend the account confirmation email. This is only applicable for accounts that are still Pending.
Grade Alert Thresholds for Parents
A Grade Alert Threshold can be enabled on a school by school basis for parents to assist in monitoring when their student's grades go above or below a configurable threshold. If enabled, the parent portal will display an Alert Options area on the parent Home page. Parents can then set up a threshold to receive alerts when the grade changes for the student. The Grade Alert currently only applies to secondary schools and looks at the Gradebook Current Mark.
The Alert thresholds can be enabled under School Info | Configurations | Alert Thresholds on the navigation tree. The following page will display.
Enter a number of minutes in the Grace Period box. The number of minutes will determine how long it will take for the alert to be sent after a threshold has been reached. Using the checkboxes, select which schools to enable the Alert thresholds for.
Note: Alert thresholds can only be used with Secondary schools. The School selection list will only display Secondary School names.
After a school has been enabled for Alert thresholds, the parent portal will display an Alert Options area on the parent Home page.
The Alert Options area will display the names of the students enrolled in a school where the alerts are enabled.
Clicking on the Add New Alert button will bring up 3 choices for the parent. Currently the first dropdown only has a selection for Mark. The second dropdown allows the parent to select the criteria of Falls Below or Rises Above. The third dropdown displays the mark to select for the threshold. Click the + symbol to add the threshold.
In the example below a threshold was set up to alert the parent if the student's mark falls below a B.
When a threshold is met, an email will be generated to alert the parent. If the district has Loop enabled, the alert notification will only be sent through Loop. If Loop is not enabled the alert will be sent using the portal account email.
Limiting or Restricting Accounts
There are several ways to limit or restrict parent or student accounts. This section will outline the various methods to limit accounts or hide information either globally or on a per student basis.
Hiding Contact Data (DNR)
To prevent address and phone number information from being displayed to users of the Portal (including teachers, parents, and students) a code can be added to the STU.DNR field in Aeries. The code needs to have a value of 1.00 in the Amount field in the Code Table. Multiple codes can be used for this purpose.
Then assign the student the code in the Records Release field under Demographics and the address and phone numbers for the student and contact records will not display in the Portal. Contact tab of data confirmation will also be hidden.
Using Restricted Contact Flag
The district can implement a CON.CD code in the code table with a Value of 9.00. This indicates to Aeries and Portal that this Contact record is a restricted individual.
This code then gets assigned to individual contact records.
When a student has a restricted contact record in Aeries, the parent and student account registration process changes. After the person enters the VPC, ID, and TL, the system will recognize the student being requested has a restricted contact record. The registration process will halt the current registration and email the Portal Confirmation Email Address (set in School Options) where the student is currently (or most recently) enrolled. The principal or designee will be asked to confirm the individual requesting an account. This will probably involve calling the parent of the student on file and asking if the email address is valid that requested access to the student.
The principal or designee can click on one of two links: Accept or Reject. After the correct link is clicked on, an email indicating the action will be sent to the address of the person requesting access to that student.
Unlike STU.DNR, the restricted contact flag does not hide any contact information.
Parent Access Restrictions (Secondary Stu Data)
A portal account can become restricted when certain SSD fields are populated. When a restriction is placed on an account, the portal account will take on only the permissions given to the Restricted Portal Account group and will no longer have the permissions of the Parent Portal Group.
This could be used, for example, to prevent students or parents from viewing their class schedule if they have not completed all steps of their registration, or if they owe fees.
When the SSD restriction is removed from the account associated with the student, the parent account will again look at the Parent Portal Group for permissions.
The Parent Access Restrictions fields on the Secondary Student Data page include:
Code (SSD.RCD) – The restriction code that identifies why parental access if being restricted. These codes are set up in the Code table.
Buffer School Days (SSD.RDB) – The number of School Days after the first parent is warned about the pending restriction that the restriction goes into effect. This allows time for the parents to resolve the issue before becoming restricted. This value will default to the associated value in COD.N1 in the Code Table for the Code that is entered into the SSD.RCD field. It can be changed from its default value.
Date Warned (SSD.RDW) – The date the parent was first warned of the pending restriction.
Start Date (SSD.RSD) – The date on which the restriction first goes into effect. On this date and afterward, the parent will only have permissions to the portal that are set up in the Restricted Portal Account Group.
'1st</sup> 'User Warned (SSD.RUW) – The first account name that was warned of the pending restriction.
SSD restriction codes are set up in the Code Table. Once SSD restriction codes have been setup, a student can be tagged on the Secondary Student Data (SSD) page with a restriction code to prompt a restriction on a portal account. In the example below, the student was given a Library fees owed restriction code. The buffer school days will automatically populate with the Value from the code table.
The first time an account associated with this student logs into the portal they will see the following message displayed.
After the first login, the Parent Access Restriction fields on the Secondary Student Data page will be updated with values for the Date Warned', Start Date and 1st 'User Warned fields.
Note: If the Buffer School Days field is left with a value of 0, the restriction will apply immediately.
Once the portal account restriction takes place, the portal account will only be given the permissions that are set up in the Security area for the Restricted Portal Account Group.
See Aeries Security documentation for details on setting up this feature.
Below is a list of PWA and PWS database fields and their purpose. These consist of the PWA table which stores parent and student portal accounts, and the PWS table which stores students associated to portal accounts.
PWA.AID – Account ID. Automatically assigned.
PWA.EM – Account email address. This is the username of the account.
PWA.PW – Password (hashed). Can set PWA.PW to plain text value as well.
PWA.PLC – Password Last Changed. The date and time the password was last changed.
PWA.PCC – Email Code. Used in conjunction with the confirmation email, or reset password email.
PWA.AST – Account Status. P = Pending (did not confirm email yet) or (blank) = Confirmed
PWA.TY – Account Type. Valid values are P for Parent, or S for Student.
PWA.PID – Primary student ID. This student ID is shown first when the parent logs in. Typically, this is the first student added to their account. PWA.LC – Login count.
PWA.LIP – Last IP address
PWA.LDT – Date and time of last login
PWA.CIP – Current IP address
PWA.CDT – Date and time of current login
PWA.LPR – Date and time of last page request.
PWA.CD – Creation Date.
PWA.XD – Expiration Date. If this field is populated with a date, the user will not be allowed to login after that date. The user will be presented with a message "This account has expired." on the login page on after the date specified. PWA.ADM – Administrative account for testing. Accounts with this field set to 1 always see Data Confirmation, will disable emailing, and will generally be hidden in the system. This flag must be set via a CHANGE query or SQL Server query.
PWS.AID – Account ID. Relates to PWA table.
PWS.ID – Student ID.
PWS.AST – Used in conjunction with restricted contacts flag.
PWS.PCC – Used in conjunction with restricted contacts flag.