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FAQs Guide

  • Access to Various Systems
  • Climate & Culture
  • Data Reporting
  • Enrolling Students
  • Health & Safety
  • Other
  • Requesting Student Transcripts, End-Dating, and More
  • Transportation

Access to Various Systems

Schools, individual and network alike, are provided with an updated school-specific User Verification Form prior to the start of each new school.

For school year (SY) 2021-22, User Verification instructions and Forms were uploaded to Epicenter for submission completion. This phase of completion consists of Network Administrators being assigned by the school, or network, and verifying user access to SDP systems.

Following the assigned June 11th deadline date in Epicenter, all User Verification changes/requests should be sent to charters@philasd.org with the subject headline ‘User Verification Updates’. Ensure to include in the email the linked User Verification Form. The CSO cross-checks this information with the school-specific User Verification Form to ensure requests match.

Following a received request and review of the school’s linked User Verification Form, the CSO forwards user requests, as necessary, to Information Technology (IT) for processing. IT subsequently contacts each user with login information and next steps for creating systems accounts, typically within 24-72 hours.

There are three SDP systems charter personnel can gain access to:

  • Infinite Campus (SIS): The Charter Module from SIS is used by charter schools for student enrollment. This module is used to establish and maintain student demographic and enrollment information. SIS will also be used to load the charter school calendar(s). Limited to three school-based users per site.
  • Charter School Payments (CSP): This system tracks information for payments to charters and enables the user to run reports. Limited to three school-based users per charter school.
  • Compass: This system shows assigned transportation services for students and allows for alternative transportation requests. Limited to three school-based users per site.

Network Administrators are designated at the discretion of the school. There is no criteria for designating a Network Administrator, however it is important to note that once an Administrator has been assigned and documented in the ‘Important Information’ tab via the school-specific User Verification form, that they are responsible for maintaining user access for the duration of the school year.

To assign new user access, the Network Administrator—identified in the ‘Important Information’ tab—will need to add the new user to both the ‘User Verification and ‘External User Form’ tabs, and select the systems to which they need to receive access via the drop-down menu, respectively.

It is important for the Administrator to ensure systems selected and contact info matches in both tabs. The Information Technology (IT) department, who we forward school requests to, will refer to this tab exclusively to add user account information such as username and temporary password credentials.

To revoke user access, the Network Administrator—identified in the ‘Important Information’ tab—will need to select from the drop-down menu via the User Verification tab the ‘Request to Revoke’ option. Please note, revoking user access will officially terminate all systems accounts on behalf of the user.

To remove user access, the Network Administrator will need to select ‘Request to Revoke’ from the drop-down menu for all appropriate systems.

In both cases, removing or revoking access, please add a brief comment in column G of the User Verification tab, to provide context for why access on behalf of the user must be removed or revoked.

Example: user is no longer employed with our school.

Existing users are identified by the ‘Granted’ status, per system.

Please note, for existing users to gain access to a new system, or for access to be removed or revoked on their behalf, the Network Administrator would simply need to select the appropriate status option from the drop-down for all applicable systems, via the User Verification tab.

When User Verification Forms are created for the upcoming new school year, existing users will be pre-entered on the sheet by the Information Systems (IS) team, which indicates that these users already have access to the selected systems. As a result, the contact information on behalf of these users in column A are un-editable, in effort to eliminate editing errors.

Network Administrators are still able to edit email addresses and the statuses for all users. Please note, if you cannot enter names under the existing contacts, please contact the Charter Schools Office (CSO) with this information and ensure to include the link to your school’s User Verification Form.

Once the CSO receives your school’s request for you to obtain access to the SIS charter module, you will receive an email from sispd@philasd.org with a training webinar and a short knowledge check.

After the webinar is viewed and the knowledge check is passed with a score of 70% or higher, SIS PD will notify the Information Systems (IS) access team to turn on your SIS charter access.

This status symbolizes that your account is activated but a school has not been assigned to your profile. Please email sispd@philasd.org if you experience this issue.

If you have never had a login to access the PhilaSD Portal, then please refer to the “How do we assign new user access?” question above.

If you do have a login to access the Phila/SD Portal, then you will receive an email from the Help Desk ticketing system informing you that access has been provided to Compass for the school location requested.

Users need to request access to each site/location as necessary. To do this, the Network Administrator should write in column G of the User Verification tab via the school-specific User Verification Form all of the location codes needed for the applicable user.

Example: This user needs access to location 1234 and 5678.

You will receive a separate email from the Office of Information Technology (IT) with instructions on how to log into the PhilaSD Portal. This email may come before or after the Charter Training Webinar email from Infinite Campus (SIS) PD.

The first time logging into the PhilaSD Portal, you will be prompted to change your password and set security questions. Once logged into the portal, click on the SIS icon.

Please note, the email from IT will include following language:

SUBJECT: Your PhilaSD Portal Login Information

Hello (users name added here),

Your request has been approved for access to the School District’s PhilaSD Portal. The account information listed here will be used for access to all approved applications and services, so please keep this information safe. To begin using your account, please visit https://www.philasd.org/login and enter the username and password below:

Username: username-ext

Password: xxxxxxxx

You will be prompted to set your own password and create personal questions for recovering your account in the future.

If you need login help in the future, just click on “Forgot Password?” on the District’s Login page.

Once you have completed the account setup process, login at any time at https://www.philasd.org/login and look for the icon associated with the application you want to use.

IMPORTANT: This account is for use by you and only you. Do not share your user account information with anyone else.

Evidence of sharing accounts will result in the suspension of your account indefinitely.

If you have any questions, please contact IT HelpDesk at 215.400.5555 or helpdesk@philasd.org.

Thank you,

Office of Information Technology

School District of Philadelphia

215.400.5555

helpdesk@philasd.org

  1. Navigate to www.philasd.org
  2. Click on the Login button
  3. Click the Forgot your password? hyperlink
  4. Enter your user ID ending with -ext, or beginning with x-
  5. Check off the I am not a robot option
  6. Click Answer Security Questions
  7. Answer your security questions then click Submit

If you are unable to successfully reset your password, please contact IT at helpdesk@philasd.org for further assistance.

Charter school staff in need of Epicenter access should contact the Charter Schools Office (CSO) at charters@philasd.org and provide contact information for the CSO to enter.

In the event you are not seeing a submission requirement in Epicenter that you were expecting, first try signing out and then signing back in so the system can restart. Then, try checking each filter option in your task list. By removing all filters, you should be able to see every requirement.

If the problem persists, please email the Charter Schools Office (CSO) at charters@philasd.org.

Climate & Culture

For weapons-related offenses that result in an expulsion, charter schools should provide the following items to the Charter Schools Office (CSO):

  • Notification of Scheduled Expulsion Hearing to Parent
  • Suspension/Informal Hearing Notice
  • Prior Interventions/Guidance
  • Report Card/Grades
  • Student History/Profile
  • Enrollment/Attendance
  • Behavior/Discipline Records
  • Current 504 or Special Education Records/Individualized Education Plan (IEP) not set to expire within 30 days (if applicable)

Please note, the Director of the Office of Student Enrollment & Placement (OSEP) oversees the process of placing students following an expulsion of this magnitude and should be contacted directly, should a charter school have any questions or concerns.

The SDP does not have an attendance improvement program for students to attend. Instead, the Basic Education Circular (BEC) encourages schools to implement a School Attendance Improvement Conference (SAIC) within their attendance policy to support students who may be habitually truant.

Additionally, students who are enrolled in charter school but, who are at any time during the school term absent for 10 consecutive school days, shall be removed from the charter school’s membership roll unless the charter school has been provided with evidence that the absence may be legally excused or compulsory attendance prosecution has been or is being initiated.

For more information, please review Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) BEC policies pertaining to school attendance.

When considering an educational placement, the IEP team must decide what is the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) where the student can make progress towards the IEP goals. In making any placement decision, the team should consider the most inclusive setting first and progress to consider more restrictive environments as needed. It is important to remember that an educational placement can change over time.

Sometimes the appropriate educational placement for a student does not exist within the child’s home community. The child’s home district may not have the appropriate classroom or staff to meet the child’s needs. In this case, the IEP team may decide that a public school in a neighboring town or county is most appropriate. An out of district placement allows the child to attend a public school where children without disabilities attend, but which has the supports and staff the child needs.

Some specialized schools are known as “Approved Private Schools” or “APS.” An APS is a private school that is licensed by the state and which has been given special status by the state to educate children, who, by the nature of their disabilities, cannot be appropriately served in public school special education programs. An APS specializes in providing special education supports and services for students with severe disabilities in a highly structured and restrictive environment.  School IEP teams determine eligibility of a referral for a student to possibly attend an out of district school.

Data Reporting

The Charter Schools Office (CSO) is excited to share that we have officially launched School Information Sheets, shared with schools via the Epicenter system.  Customized to each school, this new system of data collection was developed with the objective to ensure that we have updated school information to inform our internal database records.

Schools now have access to an overview document which will also include their school-specific link, or School Information Sheet, via Epicenter. For more information, please tune in to our weekly Charter Sector Updates, or refer to our upcoming newsletters for further guidance.

Should schools have questions about accessing their School Information Sheet, please contact charters@philasd.org.

Charter schools do not have to participate in the parent survey. All surveys are voluntary and confidential. That said, charters that participate in completing surveys will receive one (1) point towards their School Progress Report (SPR) rating.

To learn more information about District-Wide Surveys, visit the School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP) website here, which includes answers to frequently asked questions, information about response rates, and multiple ways to view past results.

For further questions, please email schoolsurveys@philasd.org for more information.

All surveys are voluntary and confidential. If you would like more information about the District-Wide Surveys, the School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP) website, linked here, includes answers to frequently asked questions, information about response rates, and multiple ways to view past results.

If you have further questions, please email schoolsurveys@philasd.org, or visit their website linked above for more information.

In coordination with Information Systems (IS), the Charter Schools Office (CSO) requested schools to submit calendar information for all grades via the Calendar Rollover Submission survey. Submission of calendar dates for grade spans allows IS the ability to create school-specific calendar shells.

Following the completion of calendar shells prior to the start of the new school year, school users who have access to Infinite Campus (SIS) will be able to edit calendar dates as necessary throughout the school year.

Please refer to the ‘Access to Various Systems’ section above to learn how to access SIS, if necessary.

If your school calendar appears incorrect in SIS please contact helpdesk@philasd.org who will elevate this to the Information Systems (IS) team.

Unfortunately schools are unable to edit instructional dates from previous school years.

As a first step, attempt to clear your browser cache by following the instructions linked here. If this does not resolve the issue, please contact charters@philasd.org and we will elevate the matter to Information Systems to troubleshoot.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) implemented a change to the School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP) access in the PASecureID system that prevents the District from processing and updating PASecureIDs for charter students in Philadelphia. This means that moving forward, all charter schools will be responsible for managing their own PASecureIDs.

The requirement for PA Secure IDs will be going live in Infinite Campus Monday, September 27, 2021. After this update goes live, schools will not be able to edit Infinite Campus data for current students or enroll new students without a PA Secure ID.  Additional information regarding this change is outlined below.

  • When enrolling new students who do not yet have a PASecureID in the Infinite Campus Charter Module and/or your SIS, PASecureIDs will need to be identified or created for students through the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) PASecureID application. The PASecureID should then be added to the Charter Module in Infinite Campus (SIS).
  • The Charter Module will also require a PASecureID when updating demographic information for any existing student who has yet to be assigned a PASecureID in Infinite Campus.
  • Instructions for adding PASecureIDs are outlined in the stepper linked here.
  • A video for adding PASecureIDs to the Charter Module is linked here.
  • PASecureIDs must be assigned to all students in the Charter Module. To identify students who are missing PASecureIDs, run the Charter Enrollment Snapshot Report and filter for students who do not have a PASecureID assigned to them in the Column Named: “State ID”.
  • The PDE website for PASecureID information is here.

For troubleshooting support, click here.

Enrolling Students

There should be no issue accepting a student under such circumstances. PA (Pennsylvania) Code § 11.15. Admission of beginners cites:

The board of school directors shall establish the district’s minimum entry age for beginners, which may not be less than a chronological age of 5 years and 7 months before September 1, nor more than 6 years, no months, before the first day of the school term of the district. The board of school directors shall permit a child of beginners’ age to attend the district’s first grade and may not require the child to attend kindergarten, prefirst grade, transitional class or other grade or class that is not regular first grade without parental consent.

Visit the Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin page here for more information.

Charter School Enrollment forms are a state document but not required by the Charter Schools Office (CSO) for review. It is a template for schools to use as an application for enrollment.

These forms should not be submitted to the CSO, as we do not store nor manage student records. Instead they should be kept in the student’s file.

Schools should follow their Board approved policies regarding attendance. That said, schools may work with individual families as it relates to extenuating circumstances to make accommodations as necessary. Additionally, schools should refer to their attendance policy or the Basic Education Curricular (BEC) for guidance pertaining to cases in which a student misses significant time without proper documentation.

Unfortunately schools are unable to edit student codes from previous school years. Having said this, if a student graduated or dropped out of school, you can create a new enrollment start and end-date for these students and assign the proper code, just to ensure they’re properly documented in the Infinite Campus (SIS) system.

PA law allows school officials to excuse students from regular class in order to attend religious instruction for up to 36 hours per year if they have permission from their parents. Schools would need to code religious holiday exemptions differently in the system, if such circumstances apply. For more information, click on the District’s Attendance Procedures guidance here.

Health & Safety/COVID-19

Schools are required to take attendance for each school throughout the 2021-22 School Year in alignment with guidance, linked here, issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Please consult with your student’s school around their policy.

The Pennsylvania Departments of Education (PDE) and Health (DOH) have issued guidance surrounding how schools should proceed in the event of a suspected case of COVID-19. Click here for more information.

The CSO has worked closely with participating charter schools and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Children and Families to confirm meal distribution services for students and youth amid virtual learning. With more schools now beginning to implement some version of in-person learning, we understand that meal services may shift with new school schedules. As such, the CSO and the City wish to get a sense of current meal site operations.

Please complete the linked form to confirm your school’s meal site operations, as applicable.

Included in the survey will be a question asking you to confirm if you wish for your school site(s) to be included on the City’s food distribution site. To be included, a school must confirm that meals are being served to all students throughout the city, not just those enrolled with the school, and provide additional details about meal distribution logistics.

If you meet the requirements and wish to be featured on the City’s site, you will also be asked to submit weekly meal distribution data. Please refer to the ‘Charter Meal Distribution Data’ below for more information.

Please note, schools that have confirmed meal distribution plans with the CSO and are currently listed as a food site on the City’s website are excluded from the list. This form is only applicable to non-confirmed schools.

If you are currently serving meals to all students/youth throughout Philadelphia and are listed on the City’s food distribution site, please support the City in tracking meal distribution data by completing the Meal Data Reporting form, linked here.

Please note, although not required the submission of meal data is extremely important for the City, as they use this information to assess which areas in the city receive high-turnout vs. low.

Requesting Student Transcripts, End-Dating, and More

When end-dating a student, charter schools should first reach out to the student’s previous school and request that the school end-date the student via Infinite Campus (IS). If the school is not responsive, the charter school should then contact the Office of Student Enrollment & Placement (OSEP) at the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) with the following information:

  • Student ID
  • Student name (first, last)
  • Student DOB

This information should be sent via email to studentenddate-request@philasd.org.

The Office of Records Management receives and has access to all student records from previously closed charter schools, as provided by the school at the time of closure.

To request student records, please email recordsmanagement@philasd.org and attach a formal request for the records. The request document will need to have the school’s letterhead, and will also need to include the student’s full name, date of birth and the name of the last school that the student attended.

Please note, the Office of Records Management does not have the ability to provide official documentation as they are not the Local Educational Agency (LEA). For more information, visit the Office’s website here.

To end-date students, please refer to the Enrollment Codes document linked here that lists all relevant codes to support with this process.

Note, this document will be updated as necessary whenever there are code and/or description changes.

Transportation

The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) has provided thorough instructions on the Student Fare Card process, including application steppers, and an FAQS for schools.

Schools are strongly encouraged to review the Fare Card resources to ensure they have a clear understanding of processes and expectations, and can facilitate that information to families. If unclear about any of the material, schools should contact their Transportation Analyst with those specific questions.

The Pennsylvania School Code requires that all schools, including District schools, charter schools, career technology centers, and intermediate units that use or contract school buses for transportation of schools conduct two emergency school evacuation drills during each school year.

Typically, the process consists of the Department of Transportation Services providing all bus operators with evacuation drill cards. The bus operator is to fill out the evacuation drill cards upon the completion of each fire and emergency evacuation drill. The school administrator at the location where the drill is performed must sign the evacuation drill card, verifying completion of the drill.

For additional information, charter schools should contact the assigned Transportation Analyst. Click here to view the list of analysts, per school.

Transportation calendars should be submitted to the Office of Transportation at routing@philasd.org. Transportation will provide charter schools with a document to enter required data. Charter schools should consult with the assigned Transportation Analyst to capture the timeline and expectations for this process.

If the ‘Transpass’ option is selected as part of a charter school’s eligibility and that school meets the mileage requirement (1.5 miles or more), then nothing more on behalf of the school needs to be done, as the Compass system will automatically assign students following updates made in Infinite Campus (IS).

Charter schools that have the “Bus” option set up for the school’s eligibility will need to submit a TAR (Transportation Action Request) in Compass for the Office of Transportation to review the request and assign a Transpass.

Please note, charter schools should refer to their Transpass lists to review and verify all eligible students. For more information, please contact your assigned Transportation Analyst.

Click here to view the list of analysts, per school, if you are unsure of who to contact.

If you have questions regarding transportation assignments for your students or need additional training support, please contact your Scheduling Analyst using the list here. You may also view the PDF version here.

If School District of Philadelphia (SDP) Public Schools are closed, transportation to and from school will not be provided by the District or its vendors.

In the event of an early dismissal for the District, all buses will run on an early dismissal schedule for the safety of the students of Philadelphia. In the event of a 2-hour delay for District public schools, all buses for all schools will run on a 2-hour delay.

Please note, should a charter school decide to close early due to weather while the SDP remains open for a full day, the charter must email their respective vendor and transoperations@philasd.org, using INCLEMENT WEATHER UPDATE in the subject line before 7:00 pm on the day prior. The Transportation Services Department will make every effort to accommodate any scheduling alterations; however, any requests received after the deadline may not be accommodated due to late notice.

Other

The Office of Student Enrollment & Placement (OSEP) manages the School Selection Process. Important timeline dates, resources, and processes can be viewed on the Office’s page here. For questions, please contact the OSEP at 215-400-4290, or visit their page here.

No. ESY programs only apply to students who attend a charter school, District public school, or an Approved Private Schools (APS).

Please note, online programs such as cyber schools are run by the State. Please visit Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) website to learn more.

Yes. Charter schools will be notified by the Charter Schools Office (CSO) immediately following the District’s decision to delay or close charter schools for inclement weather.

School closings will be announced using KYWB at www.KYWschools.com. Charter schools may also contact 215-400-INFO or visit the District’s web site (www.philasd.org). In the event that schools are closed due to inclement weather, a decision will be made in each instance as to whether administrative offices, including Regional Offices, will be open or closed. Unless it is announced that administrative offices are closed, assume they will be open.

Have questions for us that aren’t included on this page? Let us know! Send an email to charters@philasd.org with your question and we will do our best to get the answer and feature it on this page.

All other questions regarding this page can be directed to the email linked above.