Getting started with SIMS Attendance with Meal Selection

What is Cypad SIMS Attendance?

Cypad SIMS Attendance is a module that allows schools to take an AM and PM register via the Classroom Selection Whiteboard website. The teacher can select student meal choices and take the attendance register from the same, easy-to-access, website. The attendance marks taken on the whiteboard are sent to the school’s SIMS installation every 20 minutes.

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Installing Cypad SIMS Connector module

Install the Cypad SIMS Connector module on the server/PC that holds the school’s SIMS installation. The installation process will need to be done by an IT professional with access to the school’s SIMS server/PC. The installation process should be done as soon as possible to ensure it is complete by the school’s ‘go-live’ date.

NOTE

If the installation is incomplete, it will still be possible to use the core whiteboard meal selection functionality without the SIMS Attendance module.

In summary:

  1. Notify the school IT team that a new piece of software needs to be installed on the school’s SIMS server/PC.
  2. Log in to the Cypad Knowledge base to access the Cypad SIMS Connector App installation guide or contact the Cypad support team (support@cypad.com 0117 942 9833) to request a copy.
  3. Follow the installation guide to install the Cypad SIMS Connector module.

Setting up the Attendance Module (Admin users)

IMPORTANT

The Cypad SIMS attendance register cannot be used with the whiteboard if you are using the Hide names on the whiteboard based on the debt limits option. This can be disabled by the Admin user as follows:

Go to Kitchen Manager > Sites [1] > Select a Site [2] from the Sites list.

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In the Site details window go to the Meal selection [3] tab > Enable student Pre-selection [4] checkbox > Hide names on whiteboard based on debt limits [5] checkbox.

mceclip2.pngWhiteboard registration

Select a class and select a student’s name, students who make a meal selection from the current day’s lunch menu are automatically marked as Present [1] on the attendance register and are Highlighted in green on the whiteboard

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Students with a Parent pre-selection [2] or an unconfirmed parent pre-selection are highlighted in purple. These students will not have a ‘present’ mark automatically added to the attendance register unless the meal selection is confirmed in the classroom.

Students with a parent's pre-selected meal and Confirmed meal choice [3] will be automatically marked as Present on the attendance register and Highlighted in green.

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When using the auto-apply feature to confirm meals, all parent pre-orders will be marked as taken at 3 pm, even if the student was not confirmed as present on the whiteboard.

NOTE

If a student is absent, the pre-order must be removed entirely to stop it from being confirmed.

Students with dietary restrictions or food allergies will have pre-selected meals. When using the whiteboard, they will need to select their name on the board and press Present – Meal Required [4], then OK [5], to be marked as Present on the attendance register.

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To finish taking the attendance register use the Attendance module. Open the Bottom Menu [6] and click on the Attendance icon [7].

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NOTE

The Attendance module can be found in the menu of the Classroom Selection tool

For students not marked as present, use the on-screen keyboard or keyboard to enter the standard SIMS marks for each student, refer to the Whiteboard Attendance feature for a list of SIMS marks.

NOTE

The Whiteboard is a standard website that can be opened on the whiteboard, laptop, or tablet.

Best practice for morning registration

Office staff can continue to use SIMS while the register is being taken by the teacher on the whiteboard. Cypad Attendance uses a hierarchy system to ensure that pupils who arrive at reception to register still receive the correct attendance mark. The logic used to do this is described in the ‘How do attendance marks move between SIMS and Cypad?’ section below.

It is not just teachers that can access the Cypad Attendance module. School Admin users can access the Classroom Selection website via a web browser and enter any attendance marks.

Best practice for afternoon registration

Afternoon registration can be taken on SIMS directly or in the Cypad Attendance module. A summary of each option is below:  

  1. Enter attendance marks directly into SIMS
    As the meal register is not being taken, and the SIMS program is often already open in the classroom, it can be easier to take the afternoon attendance register directly in SIMS. In this case, there is no further action to take on the whiteboard.
    NOTE Cypad only writes marks that have been entered by the teacher, the system ignores the hyphen (-) marks that pre-populate each pupil, so it does not matter that the register in the attendance module is blank.
  2. Enter attendance marks into the Cypad Attendance module
    The Attendance module accepts afternoon attendance marks from 12pm. Automatic marks based on meal selection will not be added for the afternoon period, all attendance marks will need to be added manually. Office staff can continue to use SIMS during this period, the hierarchy described in the ‘How do attendance marks move between SIMS and Cypad?’ will be applied.

How do attendance marks move between SIMS and Cypad?

Where a mark is added in Cypad at the same time as a different mark is added directly in SIMS, the following hierarchy rules are used to decide which mark to keep:

Attendance marks entered on the whiteboard are only written to SIMS if the existing mark is of an equal or lower place in the hierarchy of marks defined below.

Hierarchy

  1. Present marks: / \
  2. Explained absence marks: B C D E F H I J L M O P R S T U V W X
  3. Unexplained absence mark: N
  4. No mark recorded (hyphen): -
  5. A present mark / or \ overwrites everything.
  6. Explained absence marks overwrite unexplained absence marks and hyphen marks.
  7. Unexplained absence marks overwrite hyphen marks.
  8. The hyphen mark does not overwrite anything.
  NEW MARK NEW MARK NEW MARK NEW MARK
 EXISTING
 MARK
Present Explained
absence
Unexplained absence  No mark recorded (hyphen)
 Present N/A Leave as
present
Leave as
present
Leave as
present
 Explained
 absence
Overwrite to present Overwrite to
new explained
absence mark
Leave as
explained
absence
Leave as
explained
absence
 Unexplained
 absence
Overwrite to present Overwrite to explain the absence N/A Leave as
unexplained absence
 No mark recorded
 (hyphen)
Overwrite to present Overwrite to explain the absence Overwrite to unexplained absence N/A

Cypad writes data to SIMS following the schedule described below:

Time

Data written from

Cypad to SIMS

Data read from

SIMS to Cypad

00:00 – 11:00

Every 10-20 minutes

No

11:00 – 12:00

Every 10-20 minutes

Every 10-20 minutes

12:00 – 13:00

No

No

13:00 – 00:00

Every 10-20 minutes

No

  1. A new data read/write process is triggered every 10-20 minutes. The exact timing of each trigger can vary within a 10-minute window but will never be longer than 20 minutes from the previous trigger. For example, data may be written at 9:00 am, 9:11 am, 9:22 am, 9:34 am, or 9:41 am.
  2. Each attendance mark entered in Cypad will only be written to SIMS once. For example, a ‘present’ mark entered on the whiteboard at 9:03 am will be picked up and written to SIMS in the next update cycle (e.g. 9:10 am). Later update cycles will not try to write the mark again.
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