Creating Individualized Letters to Distribute Student Login Information

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1 Creating Individualized Letters to Distribute Student Login Information Students may log into Acuity with their individual credentials in order to view their own assessment reports and any assigned Instructional Resources. Many educators have found it useful to create individualized letters to distribute student login information. You can create these letters efficiently by pasting class login information into Excel and using the Mail Merge feature in Microsoft Word. First, choose whether to create letters for the whole school (Option A) or for an individual class (Option B). For the whole school, see below. For a class, turn to p. 6. Option A: Creating individualized letters for all students in your school (listed alphabetically by student last name): Step 1. Copy the student login information from Acuity. Log into Acuity as School Administrator or Test Coordinator Click Management Click Students Leave First Name, Last Name and Student ID fields blank Click Search In the Search results window, change the display setting to Show 100 results per page as shown below. Then, in the Password column, click the blue (view all) link (right under the word Password ) to reveal all student passwords. 1

2 Right-click (click the right-hand side of your mouse once) anywhere in the Search Results window, then choose Select All from the pop-up menu. Doing so will highlight the entire Search Results window. Copy the highlighted results to the clipboard by clicking on the Edit menu in the top left corner of your screen and selecting Copy, or by holding down the Ctrl key and the C key at the same time on your keyboard. Step 2. Paste the student login information into an Excel spreadsheet and format it. Open a blank workbook in Excel (click on the Start menu in the bottom left corner of your screen, then click on the Excel icon). Paste the Acuity student login information into this new spreadsheet by clicking on the Edit menu in the top left corner of your screen and selecting Paste. (Note If the data does not paste into separate cells, click the Edit menu, select Paste Special, then click OK. ) The result should look like the screen shot below. Delete all rows up until the first row of data by highlighting the rows, then clicking the Edit menu, then clicking Delete. You can highlight the relevant rows by clicking on the row number 1 on the left-hand side of the spreadsheet, holding 2

3 down the button on your mouse, then dragging the pointer down until all relevant rows are highlighted. Go back to Acuity. Under the Search Results heading, check to see if there are any additional pages of student information. (In the example below, there are 4 pages of student information.) If so, go to the next page of data by clicking the right-hand arrow as indicated below. Copy this data and paste it into the Excel spreadsheet under the rest of the data in the spreadsheet, deleting the unnecessary rows, as explained above. Repeat this step until all pages of data are included in the spreadsheet. Back in Excel, once you have pasted in all the student information and deleted all unnecessary rows, delete all columns except for the columns containing the student names (should be Column B), the student usernames (should be Column C), and the student passwords (should be Column H). Delete columns by highlighting the column (click on the letter at the top of each column to delete), clicking the Edit menu, then selecting Delete. Your spreadsheet should now have only 3 columns of information. In Column D (which should now be blank), Row 1, copy this formula: =Left(C1,9) This will truncate the student passwords to include only the 9-digit student ID (OSIS) number (it will delete the word Change from the end of the password field). Copy this formula to all cells in this column by right clicking on cell D1 and choosing Copy. Then highlight column D by clicking of the letter D at the top of the column. Right click anywhere on the highlighted column and choose Paste. Insert a new row at the top of the spreadsheet by highlighting the first row of the spreadsheet, clicking Insert in the menu at the top of the page, then selecting Row. Then enter the following labels at the top of each column Column A Studentname Column B Username Column D Password 3

4 Save the spreadsheet to your desktop, your My Documents folder, or another folder. Step 1. Creating the individualized letters using the Mail Merge feature in Microsoft Word. Open a new document in Microsoft Word. Choose Tools/Letters and Mailings/Mail Merge. Choose Letters as the document type, click Next Choose Use the current document, click Next For Select Recipients, choose Use an existing list. Click on Browse link. Open the Excel spreadsheet. In the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, click on the dropdown menu in the Studentname column and choose (Nonblanks). Select OK. 4

5 Click Next: Write your letter. Please see the Appendix, below, which includes a parent letter template adapted from a parent letter created by Assistant Principal Beth Cohen of P.S. 48 in Staten Island. Type your letter, or use or adapt the template below. When you get to the area of the letter where you would like to merge the Student name, User Name or Password, click on More Items and insert the appropriate fields into the letter. Click Next: Preview your letters Click Next: Complete the merge Click Print 5

6 Option B: Creating individualized letters for all students in a single class. (listed alphabetically by student last name) Step 1. Copy the student login information from Acuity. Log into Acuity as School Administrator or Test Coordinator Click Management Click Classes Click Show Existing Classes Click on View Roster in the list of classes. In the Search results window, check to see if there is more than one page of students. If so, change the display setting to Show 100 results per page as shown below so all students appear on one page. Then, in the Password column, click the blue (show all passwords) link (right under the word Password ) to reveal all student passwords. Right-click (click the right-hand side of your mouse once) anywhere in the Search Results window, then choose Select All from the pop-up menu. Doing so will highlight the entire Search Results window. Copy the highlighted results to the clipboard by clicking on the Edit menu in the top left corner of your screen and selecting Copy, or by holding down the Ctrl key and the C key at the same time on your keyboard. Step 2. Paste the student login information into an Excel spreadsheet and format it. Open a blank workbook in Excel (click on the Start menu in the bottom left corner of your screen, then click on the Excel icon). Paste the Acuity student login information into this new spreadsheet by clicking on the Edit menu in the top left corner of your screen and selecting Paste. (Note If the data does not paste into separate cells, click the Edit menu, select Paste Special, then click OK. ) The result should look like the screen shot below. 6

7 Delete all rows up until the first row of data by highlighting the rows, then clicking the Edit menu, then clicking Delete. You can highlight the relevant rows by clicking on the row number 1 on the left-hand side of the spreadsheet, holding down the button on your mouse, then dragging the pointer down until all relevant rows are highlighted. Go back to Acuity. Under the Search Results heading, check to see if there are any additional pages of student information. (In the example below, there are 4 pages of student information.) If so, go to the next page of data by clicking the right-hand arrow as indicated below. Copy this data and paste it into the Excel spreadsheet under the rest of the data in the spreadsheet, deleting the unnecessary rows, as explained above. Repeat this step until all pages of data are included in the spreadsheet. 7

8 Back in Excel, once you have pasted in all the student information and deleted all unnecessary rows, delete all columns except for the columns containing: The student first name (should be Column B) Student last name (should be Column C) Student usernames (should be Column D) Student passwords (should be Column E). Delete columns by highlighting the column (click on the letter at the top of each column to delete), clicking the Edit menu, then selecting Delete. Your spreadsheet should now have only 4 columns of information. In Column E (which should now be blank), Row 1, enter this formula: =Left(D1,9) This will truncate the student passwords to include only the 9-digit student ID (OSIS) number (it will delete the word Change from the end of the password field). Copy this formula to all cells in this column by right clicking on cell E1 and choosing Copy. Then highlight column E by clicking of the letter E at the top of the column. Right click anywhere on the highlighted column and choose Paste. Insert a new row at the top of the spreadsheet by highlighting the first row of the spreadsheet, clicking Insert in the menu at the top of the page, then selecting Row. Then enter the following labels at the top of each column Column A StudentFirstname Column B- StudentLastname Column C Username Column E Password 8

9 Save the spreadsheet to your desktop, your My Documents folder, or another folder. Step 1. Creating the individualized letters using the Mail Merge feature in Microsoft Word. Open a new document in Microsoft Word. Choose Tools/Letters and Mailings/Mail Merge. Choose Letters as the document type, click Next Choose Use the current document, click Next For Select Recipients, choose Use an existing list. Click on Browse link. Open the Excel spreadsheet. In the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, click on the dropdown menu in the StudentFirstname column and choose (Nonblanks). Select OK. 9

10 Click Next: Write your letter. Type your letter. When you get to the area of the letter where you would like to merge the StudentFirstname, StudentLastname, User Name or Password, click on More Items and insert the appropriate fields into the letter. Click Next: Preview your letters Click Next: Complete the merge Click Print 10

11 Appendix: Parent Letter Template (adapted from a letter written to parents by Assistant Principal Beth Cohen of P.S. 48 in Staten Island) School Name School Number Principal Name Dear Parent, What is Acuity? Acuity provides clear and immediate information on student strengths and weaknesses to help teachers target instruction and measure students progress toward state learning standards. Acuity aligns to our state s standards and offers targeted instructional materials for your child. Online reports will be available for you and your child s teachers within days of Acuity assessment administration. The goal is to provide more effective and timely information to increase your child s achievement. You may view your child s reports from any Internet-connected computer. In addition to these reports, you will have access to educational activities appropriate to your child s needs. Classroom teachers can assign these activities to address your child s individual areas of need. These activities may be accessed online from a home or public computer. We hope that you will take advantage of this new educational tool. Once you log in with your child s credentials, you will see that you have several options. To view your child s reports on Acuity assessments, click View Reports. To complete any assigned instructional materials, click Study or Take a Test, depending on the teacher s assignment. If you have any questions, please contact your child s teacher. Sincerely, Educator Name To utilize this tool, log on to Acuity at: Your child s individual User Name is: [username] Your child s individual Password is: [password] 11

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