This article will explain how to set up online recommendation forms in SchoolAdmin as an admin, as well as some best practices for doing so. Click here for more articles on Online Teacher Recommendations.
You can build multiple different teacher recommendations as online forms in SchoolAdmin. They can be grade or subject-specific and customized to meet your school's needs. SchoolAdmin Support can even help you set up business rules to display different recommendation forms on the checklist, based on the student (e.g. international vs. domestic).
How-To: Set Up Online Recommendation Forms
Online Recommendations can be configured from 'Settings' -> 'Forms' -> 'Teacher Recommendation Forms'. Recommendations are set up in the same way as your other custom online forms in SchoolAdmin, but only ones created as Teacher Recommendation Forms will have the unique send functionality. Click here to learn how to create a new form, or click here to learn about editing existing forms.
After creating the form, you must link it to a Recommendation Form type checklist item on the admissions checklist, so that students can send requests.
Best Practices for Recommendations
Keep recommendation forms as short as possible while still collecting the information you need to make admissions decisions.
Utilize LikertFields in your recommendation forms to provide an easy way for teachers to rate students on different criteria.
Number or label your recommendation forms if you have multiple in order to easily distinguish between them on the student checklist and in building searches. For example, instead of having two forms called 'Teacher Recommendation', you might name them 'Math Teacher Recommendation' and 'English Teacher Recommendation'.
Teacher Recommendation forms have a unique set of emails associated with them that send at various parts of the process. The templates for these emails are located under the 'Request Emails' tab on 'Settings' -> 'Communication' -> 'Email Templates'. You can learn more about each of these templates here.
How-To: Admin Checklist View and Management
Manage Online Recommendation Forms
Admins can submit teacher recommendations and track the status of requests within an applicant's checklist on their contact record. Admin-submitted recommendations will come from the email address that they are using to log into the SchoolAdmin system.
On the student checklist, you can view the date the request was sent. This will be blank if no requests have been sent yet. Clicking on 'Manage' will allow you to view the details (i.e. status, teacher name and email, and date sent) of the most recent request sent, as well as any past requests. Status will be one of the following:
Sent: Email request has been sent, but teacher has not yet started filling out the recommendation form.
In Progress: Teacher has started filling out the recommendation form but has not yet submitted it.
Completed: Teacher has submitted the recommendation form. The checklist item will also be checked off in this case.
Canceled: Request was withdrawn due to a new request being sent. See section on editing a recommendation request below for details.
Declined: Teacher declined to complete the recommendation form. Parents can view the Decline Reason by clicking the 'View Details' button next to the recommendation checklist item in the Parent Portal. Please note: Admins will not be able to see the Decline Reason.
From the details window, you can also send a reminder email to the teacher for the most recent request, or edit the request to send to a new teacher or email address.
Upload Teacher Recommendation Forms
If you receive a recommendation from a teacher outside of the SchoolAdmin workflow (e.g. emailed a PDF copy, scanned a paper form), you can add this to the student record by clicking the 'Upload' button next to the recommendation checklist item. This will attach the form to the student record, and mark the checklist item as complete.
When files are uploaded internally to a Recommendation Form type checklist item, parents will be able to see that the checklist item has been checked off, but they will not see the contents of the uploaded file -- this remains confidential with the school. Parents do not have the upload option on recommendation form checklist items, so if they have an existing recommendation from a teacher that they want to use, they will need to provide it to your Admissions team directly for upload into SchoolAdmin.
Completed Online Recommendation Forms
When a teacher completes their recommendation or when an admin uploads a file, the checklist item will automatically be marked as complete with the date the form was submitted. To see completed teacher recommendation forms, click on View Form. If you need to edit the request, click on Manage.
Please note: Information from teacher recommendation forms does not write through to the student's contact record. It can be viewed on the submitted form/PDF, or answers can be exported in bulk using a form export. If you would like to set up a form export for one of your recommendation forms, please contact SchoolAdmin Support.