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Tom Lang

Tom Lang has spent more than 3 decades in the field of journalism and marketing, while always having a hand in public education. His father was a school teacher, his mom a school secretary, and his wife teaches high school English and Humanities. On his own, Tom worked his way through college as a school bus driver and today remains closely tied to education as a Board member of FIRST (Robotics) in Michigan. He has worked with high school coaches and athletes for nearly 30 years as a freelance sports writer at the Detroit Free Press, and for more than 10 years as a basketball referee. Bottom line -- help kids grow, learn and create productive futures.

Recent Posts

3 min read

How to Pull Unexcused Absences by Date (Alabama Only) in PowerSchool

By Tom Lang on June 29, 2022 at 12:45 AM

One area that many schools struggle each year with is identifying days students are considered unexcused absent. If a school uses daily attendance it really isn't much of an issue, but for schools that use meeting attendance, getting an accurate count can be difficult and time-consuming until now. 

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3 min read

How PowerSchool Districts Can Now Plot and Plan Boundaries in Just a Few Clicks

By Tom Lang on June 13, 2022 at 11:13 AM

When school districts need to locate the home addresses of all their students on a map, most still use primitive and labor-intensive methods adopted over decades.

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4 min read

Loss of Institutional Knowledge Poses Major Funding and Leadership Challenges for School Districts

By Tom Lang on May 23, 2022 at 8:21 AM

School districts nationwide have been feeling similar staffing challenges as the rest of the U.S. marketplace.

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2 min read

‘Game-Changing’ Opportunity for Skyward SIS Users’ Data Accuracy and Management

By Tom Lang on May 23, 2022 at 8:19 AM

Fred Sharpsteen does not get too excited over new technology designed for schools after a quarter-century of seeing things come and go.

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2 min read

How to Pull Daily Attendance Summary by Code Report in PowerSchool

By Tom Lang on April 11, 2022 at 8:00 AM

For schools that check daily attendance, retrieving detailed daily attendance records is only one piece of the puzzle. Identifying students that have accumulated multiple absences, tardies, or a combination of those codes, is often even more important.

While getting the day to day records for individual students is fairly straightforward, getting to that data for larger groups and then being able to filter based on specific codes or number of occurrences can complicate the process.

With the use of our Daily Attendance Summary by Code Report, schools can now retrieve aggregated daily attendance daily and easily filter the data by date range, attendance code, or number of occurrences.

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1 min read

How to Easily Run All Logs by Month Report in PowerSchool

By Tom Lang on April 8, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Disciplined data is one area that schools strive to keep accurate and up-to-date records.

Entering data whether from logs or incidents is the easy part. Getting that data into a format that can be used for analysis is a different issue altogether.

Have you ever needed to just be able to quickly identify when different discipline issues happen? That is, wouldn't it be great if you could quickly get to a report that shows you how many times a particular discipline issue happens during each month of the school year? Getting to that data now would not only involve searching for and exporting the data but then having to manually manipulate and get it into a usable format. That is until now.

With the use of our Log Entries by Month Report, schools can quickly and easily see when issues are occurring in their school or distract and identify trends or develop intervention needs to address these issues with just a few simple clicks.

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3 min read

Creating Meeting Attendance Summary by Date Reports in PowerSchool

By Tom Lang on April 6, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Attendance can be a complicated process.

Does your school use meeting attendance, daily attendance, a combination of both?

Depending on how your school enters attendance plays a huge part in what you can actually retrieve. Typically for schools to track meeting attendance, the only way to retrieve data is on a course-by-course basis.

However, what if you need to know for a student what codes were entered on a given day or how many times a specific code was entered. Maybe you need to know how many students had more than one, two, or three different codes assigned throughout the day. Getting to that data can be a rather cumbersome process. That is until now.

With the use of our Meeting Attendance Summary by Date Report, schools can now retrieve aggregated meeting attendance values for each student and easily filter the data by date range, attendance, number of occurrences, and even the number of unique codes assigned each day

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2 min read

How to Use PowerSchool to Produce Family List by Street Address Report

By Tom Lang on April 4, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Accessing basic student demographic data is really easy in PowerSchool.

But what about identifying students with the same household?

Again it's really easy if they're in the same school. But what if they were in different schools? Then this can only be accomplished when working at district level.

However, with the use of Family List by Street Address Report, users can now run the report at school level and not only will include students from the current school, but it'll also include students at other schools if they share the same home street address. Making it easy for school staff to identify addresses that have multiple students, even if they are at different schools.

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2 min read

How to Generate Family List by Home Phone Report in PowerSchool

By Tom Lang on April 1, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Accessing basic student demographic data is a fairly easy process in PowerSchool.

But what about identifying students in the same household?

Again it's fairly easy if they're in the same school but if they are at different schools, this can only be accomplished by working at the district level. However, like with our Family List by Street Address Report, users can also run the Family List by Home Phone Report. This report can also be run at the school level and it will include both students from the current school, as well as students from other schools if they share the same home phone number – making it easy for school staff to identify phone numbers associated with multiple students even if they're in different schools. 

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2 min read

How to Manage School Attendance Summary Report in Powerschool

By Tom Lang on March 30, 2022 at 8:00 AM

While schools mainly focus attendance reporting on individual students' dates or codes, there are many times when schools need to look at attendance values from a more summary view.

For example, looking at what codes have been assigned on a period or even day by day basis, this could provide valuable insight as to whether certain periods or days have higher rates of absent or tardy students than others. But getting to that data can often be a bit difficult and often requires exporting individual student attendance records and then manipulating that data outside of PowerSchool.

However, with the use of our School Attendance Summary Report, schools can now easily get a report that breaks down the count of attendance codes by period for each day within a selected date range.

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