poliSCHOOL Frequently Asked Questions:

Will poliSCHOOL work for my school?

If you are a vocational, trade, or career school operating under standard state and federal regulations, then yes. It’s important to note, too, that poliARC believes that in order to maintain good operational practices, what software does not do is just as important as what it does. pS works great for most vocational schools, but it’s possible that it’s workflow is different than how you wish to operate. Request free access to a demo site, look around and test it, then when you’re ready we can talk more in depth about the functions and services poliSCHOOL clients receive.

Can I change service plans?

Yes. All service plans are monthly, so clients can upgrade or downgrade at the end of any billing cycle.

Does it work on mobile devices?

Yes, for most functions. pS uses unique mobile modules that allow users to instantly swap between mobilized and full version layouts.

Is this for online schools / distance learning?

No, or at least mostly no. The student portal can be used to extend the learning off-site (online MC tests, students can download assignments and reading materials, and upload completed assignments in the student portal), but poliSCHOOL is not intended to operate exclusively as an online learning system. The admissions and student information system features are designed for vocational schools with on-site staff, faculty, and students.

What sort of school documents does pS create?

Official transcripts, 1098-T (student copy), account statements, attendance sheets, invoices, refund statements, attendance reports, grades reports, grade books, deposits, payment reports, enrollment lists, and account ledgers. Using the Docs & Email module schools also create their own auto-fill templates that can be downloaded as PDF, MS Word, or sent as HTML emails (Template examples: enrollment agreements, student notices, externship sheets, admissions docs, etc.)

How does student tuition and fees invoicing work?

poliSCHOOL supports custom payment plans for tuition, materials, and admin fees that can be due at any interval and amount you need. From these payment plan templates for faster creation of all the invoices required of the student accounts. pS creates all invoices for their payment plan so you can have projected revenue in your reports, and so the system can send automatic reminders to students, as well as optional automatic late fees. You can also create individual invoices for students whenever needed. Students are able to view their entire payment plan, print invoices, and pay their invoices with PayPal, or directly in the student portal with a credit card (we recommend using Stripe as your credit card merchant account provider because it best integrates with poliSCHOOL).

When I sign up, what's the most important thing I need to start using poliSCHOOL?

After poliARC takes care of the installation and hardware, we need to build your programs “inside the box”: education program structure, courses, start dates, and master grade book for each program you offer. This is all part of the set up process and fee. poliARC can get a lot of this information from your school’s school’s catalog and syllabi (program hours, course schedules, grade weights, assignments, etc.), but it’s important that you are available for Skype video or screen share calls so that everything is entered correctly. If you do not yet have all the information, then as part of the set up process, Paul Hughes will work with you to fill in any blanks. poliSCHOOL uses the program structure to create attendance sheets, transcripts, grade entry forms, etc. Depending on the type and status of each program, this can take anywhere from a couple days to couple weeks to complete.

What refund basis does poliSCHOOL use?

You can choose between two refund calculation types: Pro Rata, or Percentage of Course Completion (PCC). Pro Rata calculates based on to-date hours offered. PCC calculates tuition refunds based on “stages” of course completion (i.e. if the student completes 5-10% of the course, 10% of tuition is due; if 11-20% of the hours are completed, 20% of tuition is due, etc.). For PPC, you can enter as many “stages” as you need. The system uses the master course settings (total hours in course, hours per day) coupled with student attendance records to automatically calculate refunds.

Does the payments module handle other financial transactions?

The financial section of poliSCHOOL covers only student-related AP and AR: tuition, materials, admin fees, refunds, overpayments, unearned tuition. It does not include other accounting categories that you might use with other software (rent, utilities, payroll, etc.). The reports section, however, calculates all the student-related categories so you can easily enter them as single-line entries into any other software you use for accounting purposes.

Are there different user levels?

Yes. For the CRM and School Operations modules, levels include: admin, campus manager, recruiter, representative, teacher, and student. Each level is granted access only to the sections they need. Additionally, if you are use the Multi-campus option, it automatically excludes any records that are not for the campuses to which the user is assigned. Students are given access only to the student portal where they can view their own grades, attendance, take tests, book resources, download study guides, etc.

Is it secure?

All pS installations are accessed with https connections. Sensitive data is stored as encrypted text in separate databases (not shared with other clients). Every client has a unique encryption key that only works on their database. Back-ups of your database are done daily, and every week a full back-up (database and all attached documents) is compiled and stored securely offline. There are adjustable auto-logout timers, multiple user levels, and session tokens. Of course, clients must exercise their own precautions to protect user user names and passwords.

Does it support more than one campus?

Yes. You can run poliSCHOOL for a single or multiple campuses on one installation without additional charge. Staff members who are granted access to more than one campus are given additional filtering options to narrow searches and reports. While users can access all campus information in one place, each location requires its own unique set of courses, classes, graded items, etc. This is mandatory for proper record keeping and accounts. Also keep in mind that the more people you have using the system, the more load it puts on the server, so adding campuses may or may not require upgrading hosting.

What types of courses does poliSCHOOL support?

poliSCHOOL’s is best suited for Lockstep programs (a group of students start as a group, then progress through the course as a group), and Open Enrollment programs (where students enroll in a course, but then pick which classes they take and when). You can have both types of courses in the system at the same time. Some schools operate differently and use slightly different definitions of lockstep vs. open enrollment, so please contact poliARC to see if your program structure is compatible with the attendance and enrollment procedures used in poliSCHOOL.

How do online tests for students work?

You can schedule tests for an entire class or individual student. If they already have a grade in the system for a test, the system will not allow them to take the test. You set the number of questions and time allotted. Once students submit, it automatically enters the grade and updates their transcript. Questions are offered to each student in random order, and students can choose to save questions for later. Teachers can upload JPG or PDF files as attachments for each question, and questions can be assigned to up to three different tests (i.e. regular test, midterm, final).

What are attendance options?

Attendance books are based on program and course structure, so every program can have different style attendance sheets. You can credit just class hours on attendance sheets, or activate options to split the hours between class and lab hours. There’s also an option to allow overriding the default number of hours offered / credited each day.

Individual lab hours (projects, self-study, externships) are entered separately for each student rather than on a full-class attendance sheet. The attendance books are based on week number of the curriculum, and you can have as many as 9 make-up attendance sheets for each week.

Does poliSCHOOL create student alerts/notices?

Yes. Tasks create login and email alerts. Staff can create “Alert Tasks” for students and leads to remind them about anything (due dates, meetings, etc.), which include email and SMS alerts. Staff are also sent weekly emails that detail upcoming schedule and tasks. Students receive email notices of upcoming payments, alerts of overdue payments, and absences warnings. Student records are flagged if they are missing any enrollment or graduation requirements, and the Attendance and Grades overviews also flag students who are under, or getting close to falling below passing.

Once I Sign Up, How Does It Work?

poliARC will purchase, set up, and manage a new domain on which to install your system. We set up the database, install the files, create the initial users and system settings, then work with you to set up the rest to fit your school (grade book, courses, transcripts, application, etc.). Your staff and students access the main system on your new domain, which is used exclusively for this purpose to help ensure it’s as fast as possible; not bogged down by other Internet traffic.

Using simple iframe code, your inquiry and event registration forms can be installed on any web page on any domain. poliARC provides the monthly maintenance, manages the database, stores back-ups, provides ongoing support for your users, and automatically installs any updates. Every client has a unique domain name, hosting account, and independent system files so that we have the ability to customize it specifically to your needs.

Why is the cost low / fixed?

A lot of online software services bill based on the number of students and/or users. This is nice when you’re new and the school is small, but the prices get quite high as you enroll more students and hire more staff. poliSCHOOL is a fixed priced to avoid any such surprises. We also can maintain a low monthly fee for poliSCHOOL because it isn’t the only service that poliARC offers. Generally, (but not required to use poliSCHOOL), it is just one part of a more comprehensive service and support agreement that includes online marketing, graphic design, etc.

What can I customized?

The system settings lets you customize a lot (branding, contact, open / close hours, auto-reply emails, search features… it’s a long list, really). But one thing that’s very unique about poliSCHOOL is every installation is discrete. Files are note shared. That means we can “hard code” changes for your specific version to add or remove features, modify how calculations are done, etc. Small changes like that are included in the monthly maintenance fee.

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