Schools can be busy, complicated places. That's why it's important to keep track of individual students and groups of students, and ensure that the right kids are always in the right groups. If you remember a few key distinctions, it's easy to keep all the different groupings of students straight in Schoolrunner.
Sections are always handled via your SIS and represent which kids are enrolled in which classes; dynamic groups are always managed on the Groups page and kids can be in many of them simultaneously; homerooms may or may not be managed in your SIS, but regardless of how they're managed, kids can only be in one.
The purpose of this article is to define the three main types of student groupings, explain what each one represents, and outline how each is modified or updated.
The actual terminology and names used to talk about these three types of groupings is important because each group performs different functions in Schoolrunner and can include different students, even if they are similarly titled. The three main groupings of students in Schoolrunner are:
- Sections – a cohort of students enrolled in a specific course. Sections are always managed in your SIS.
- Dynamic Groups – customized groups of kids with some shared attribute (athletes, 4th graders, kids with detention, etc.). Dynamic groups are always managed in Schoolrunner via the Groups page.
- Homerooms – students that are members of a specific homeroom or advisory. Homerooms may be managed in Schoolrunner or your SIS (see "Homerooms/Advisories" below for more details).
Sections are a specific grouping of students that all take the same course at the same time. These are 100% managed in your SIS and synced into Schoolrunner. Any changes to section enrollments are always handled in your SIS and these will be reflected in Schoolrunner the next time the data is sent over. Although you can't modify section enrollment at all in Schoolrunner, there are a few ways view it.
If you want to look at all the sections that an individual student is enrolled in, navigate to the student page and scroll down past the student's demographic and academic information and click on the "Sections" tab. This tab shows which sections the student is in (active enrollments are listed first, and inactive enrollments below) and which courses those sections are tied to.
Course pages also list out all sections that are linked to that course, and which students are in them. Active enrollments are listed first, and if there are previous enrollments, those are listed at the bottom of the page.
A third place to view section enrollments is on the Class Attendance page. You can use the "Sections" dropdown on its own to scroll through all sections, or auto-filter by starting to type a section name. You can also use the "Teacher" dropdown to filter for sections linked to a specific teacher. Just be sure you don't have one teacher selected while simultaneously trying to find a section linked to a different teacher.
Dynamic groups are created and managed exclusively on Schoolrunner's Groups page. These groups automatically determine which students belong in them based on the filter criteria you set. Students come and go automatically when they meet – or cease to meet – the criteria you determine.
For example, a dynamic group could be set to show all third grade boys. If a new third grade boy is added into Schoolrunner, he will automatically become a member of that group. If a third grade girl accidentally had the wrong gender selected on her record and is a part of the group, she will automatically be removed when her correct gender is updated. Other examples of common dynamic groups are students that need to serve detention, students that live in a particular zip code, students that have more than 5 positive behaviors, and so on. There is no limit to how many dynamic groups a single student can be part of; a single student could be in all four of the groups just mentioned, for example.
It's also possible to make a group of students on the Groups page based not off a dynamic attribute, as described in the previous paragraph, but simply by hand-choosing students. This is a common thing to do if you want to create a group that represents your basketball team, your robotics club, or an after-school study group in which the members of the group don't necessarily change from day to day. While technically still a dynamic group since it's created and managed on the Groups page, you can also think of this as a "static group" since you determine which students are members, not the Schoolrunner system.
Either way, any group created on the Groups page is considered a dynamic group and should be thought of as distinct from sections and homerooms.
Although it's possible to configure a dynamic group to represent a homeroom, it would still not be recognized as a "homeroom" by the Schoolrunner system. Among other distinctions, dynamic groups differ from homerooms in that you can view the membership of dynamic groups as of past dates, either directly on the Groups page or on individual group pages. Other differences are detailed below.
Homeroom groups are unique in Schoolrunner for the following reasons:
- Students can only be in one homeroom at a time (unlike unlimited memberships in dynamic groups)
- Homerooms can be cross-analyzed and compared on the Analysis page
- Homeroom assignments are displayed on student pages
- Homeroom assignments are managed in Schoolrunner or in your SIS (depending on your SIS and your method of sync)
- By default, homerooms are grouped by grade level in dropdown menus across Schoolrunner
Homerooms may also be known as "advisories", depending on your school's nomenclature (configurable on the Settings page). If your school uses PowerSchool as your SIS and Schoolrunner syncs directly with your PowerSchool, homeroom assignments are managed directly in PowerSchool and are synced over to Schoolrunner along with all other student data. If you use any other SIS, or use PowerSchool in conjunction with Clever to sync data, homeroom assignments are managed directly in Schoolrunner.
If you need to modify the membership of a homeroom, there are a few courses of action:
- If you use PowerSchool and sync directly with Schoolrunner, make all changes in PowerSchool
- Otherwise, add or remove individual students via the homeroom page (accessed via the Quick Search)
- If you have many changes to make, or need to create new homerooms, contact your Schoolrunner administrator or Schoolrunner support to learn how to manage homerooms in bulk
Since many people commonly confuse homerooms and dynamic groups, it's good to know how to identify which one is which:
- Homerooms are NOT listed on the Groups page
- Homerooms are NOT managed on the Groups page
- If you are on the group page for a dynamic group, you cannot add or remove students
- If you are on the group page for a homeroom, you can add or remove students
- Dynamic groups have a date picker that allow you to see past membership
To view group pages for either a dynamic group or for a homeroom, use the Quick Search at the top of any page. Each group page has a summary of the group details and a list of students. Homeroom groups will say "Homeroom" next to "Group Type". Although you cannot see past homeroom membership with a date picker, you can still view the homeroom's change history (also found on dynamic group pages).