Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Settling into the term

It’s only the first full week back for schools, but with this interesting weather we are having it probably feels like much more than that. For those of you just settling in, welcome back and we hope you have had a good break.

It’s going to be a big year for Edge with several positive changes happening in and around the software. I would like to welcome all our new schools that have recently moved onto Edge SM and Edge LM.

I would also like to welcome back Deborah Sims who will be looking after our Northland and Auckland schools. Deborah has hit the ground running and is looking forward to reacquainting herself with schools she has worked with in the past plus all our new Edge SM & LM users. We will also be adding more resources on the ground to support our schools and we will update you on these changes shortly.

It’s also probably timely to remind everyone that March Returns are not far away. Some recent changes relating to these returns will be included in an update this Friday evening (Feb 16). Details about the Returns can be found here.

There will also be an update to Edge LM this Friday (Feb 16) that will include new SCIS functionality.

A reminder that if you are unsure about some of the features in Edge you can click the Help button that is at the bottom of nearly every page in Edge. If you are still stuck email our Support Desk (support@musac.io) or give them a ring on 0800 600 159.

A quick update on training in the South Island .. there is no change for term one with Solutions and Services continuing to provide the high standard of service that they are known for. From term 2 training in the South Island will be managed from Palmerston North but we will have people on the ground in South Island as currently is the case.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Underway in 2018

We are now nicely into double digits February so all schools are well underway. Good to see a range of schools opting to start on Feb 7 giving their students a few more of these very hot summer days at home.

Primary teachers and principals may also be feeling a tad more relaxed starting this year compared to the last few because of the recent changes to National Standards. Maybe we need to stay tuned to see if they are going to be replaced by anything, but quite nice to have a little less compliance at the start of the year.

Speaking of compliance, specifically attendance,the use of the Edge mobile app has ramped up very nicely from day 1 this year. All the feedback tells us that staff are really appreciating the convenience the app brings to marking attendance, looking up student and caregiver details as well as being able to add pastoral transactions and general student notes on the fly.

For those not so aware of the Edge Mobile App it can be downloaded from either the App Store (Apple) or Play Store (Android) by searching for Musac Edge. NB. in the App Store make sure you have the search filter set on Phone apps, even if you are using an iPad .. which it runs very nicely on. Once installed add a pin number, login in once with your usual Edge email and password, and away you go. More features to be added not too far away. NB2 .. NCEA students are also making good use of the app as it keeps them up to date with their historic and on-going results. 

With the new year we also have new staff .. Deborah Sims is back with us as a trainer based in Auckland. Dawood Ali has joined the development team in Palmerston North, and for those that missed it last year, Innocent Bindura also joined the development team late in 2017. Always good to have new people involved as they bring a fresh perspective to what we do.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Sunny Weather

It's perhaps mildly ironic that the weather has dramatically improved just as NCEA exams get into full swing. Silently sweating brain cells whilst in a room in a row with a group of your peers isn't likely to be top priority for anyone, let alone thousands of teenagers.

Related to this the Labour coalition election win has resulted in a number of announcements around changes to National Standards and perhaps also to NCEA. To date MUSAC hasn't received any subsequent software specification changes from the MoE, so it's status quo at the moment.  We'll keep you posted.

Also top of mind for many schools is end of year reporting. We have had a bit of a rush on schools wanting minor tweaks to existing custom reports. If you do need a change made get hold of us as soon as you can at services@musac.io. 

In thinking about caregiver reporting many schools have shifted to using the ATL reporting functionality found in Edge. In brief this is reporting to caregivers in small amounts at regular intervals. Caregivers can view the graphical output on the parent portal giving them almost live feedback on their child. More information can be found here.

The last two weeks of our regional training workshops are on at the moment. Participation has been very pleasing with schools learning from each other as well as by the topics being delivered. After getting feedback from schools we'll be looking to continue these workshops in 2018.

The Edge Mobile app is also getting more and more use, especially after the addition of pastoral functionality.
This is as well as being able to being able to mark attendance, look up student/caregiver details, contact caregivers and view announcements. More is on the way so we highly recommend you download it from either the App or Play store and start using it.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Sprint to the Finish

Is it just me or does term 4 somehow seem to just flash by? It's already T4 W1 D3 .. next week is a short week .. for schools with Y11+, NCEA exams start not so very long after that (Nov 9). Not to mention After 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 OTJ's looming ...

Also in the Edge SM world report writing will begin not too far away so for those schools needing tweaks or otherwise to their Custom Reports contacting MUSAC Services ASAP to avoid a last minute rush is recommended. (services@musac.io).

Use of the Edge App by Staff, Students and Caregivers continues to ramp up very rapidly. The recent addition of Pastoral functionality to the app for staff to view and enter has been very well received and in practical terms means that from a teachers perspective nearly all regular day to day SMS work can be done on the app . .very convenient.

The number of schools moving across to Edge Library Manager from our own MLM and other library packages is keeping us nicely busy. With the only cost to move being a small amount of training, enquiries are coming through on a daily basis. For those of you who have not seen Edge LM this video will give you a good overview. Edge LM Overview Video

Quick Reminders

  • To speed up your enrolment data entry, use the Admin>Setup>School Settings page to pre-populate selected fields.
  • New Filterable lists can create tables of statistics as well as lists of students. Have a look at the ones created by MUSAC then make some of your own.
  • 2018 calendar - set this up now so it's all ready to go next year - Admin>Setup>Define School Calendar.
  • Need to know which caregiver belongs to a phone number you have? Use Quick Find in the right hand end of the purple banner to do this and much more.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Spring Break

The gusty winds and sweeping rain have both announced that Spring is here. At least the temperature is climbing nicely. With luck there will be some settled time on the holiday weeks where both staff and students can recharge for the run through to Christmas .. hang in there parents.

We here at MUSAC are still on deck so if you have a query or question give us a call .. 0800 600 159 .. or drop an email to .. support@musac.io .. Otherwise kick back and have a happy holiday.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Time Saving!!

It's the time of year when lots of pre-enrolments are being added to Edge. Filling out default field values on the Enrolment Settings page (Admin>Setup>Enrolment Settings) can save you a lot of time and help to ensure data accuracy.

Just go to this page and add those values that are common across most or all of your pre-enrollers. These values will then be in those fields every time you do a new enrolment.

How many??

As well as listing information New Filterable Lists is great for giving you tables of totals on the data you have stored in Edge. e.g. Ethnicity by Year Level, Class by Gender by Year Level. 

Select the fields as you usually do then at the end of the field row choose a 'Group by' value. Finally tick Summative in the Output Options area. The PDF output will give you a table with the totals of the fields you selected.

The number you select in 'Group by' determines how the data appears across and down so adjust them if you need to.

If it's a table you might need again give it a name and Save it.

NZPF Conference

Queenstown truely turned on the good weather for the annual NZPF Conference last week, where hundreds of primary school principals have gathered to listen share and contribute.

Great to catch up with so many of you as well as meet new people. Thanks to all those who dropped by the MUSAC stand for a catch up or to find out a few things.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Solutions & Services - Annual Roadshow

Our annual South Island Roadshow is back on in 2017, coming to a town near you. This is a great opportunity to catch up with developments in your areas of interest.

There are three sessions, focusing on two strands, Finance and edgeSMS. You can mix and match your sessions over the three time slots at a cost of $60 per seminar or $180 for the day (plus GST). Full day registration includes a light lunch. Please do not send money with your registration – your school will be invoiced.

To register, follow this link, registration form

Edge Feature Reminders

It's been great meeting so many of you at recent conferences, workshops, road shows and schools visits. Part of your feedback has been about keeping up with the feature updates in Edge and the best way to use these. So here is an overview of some of the recent additions:

- Enrolment Settings - Admin>Setup>School Settings .. enrolment officers can set up default values for a range of student core details such as Date Started Here. This can save a lot of time when pre-enrolling students.

- Custom Categories - Admin>Setup>Category Setup .. Edit/View on the Custom Categories tab on the Student Details page .. these are school defined fields for holding information such as Internet Permission, Sports Choices and How Getting to School.

- NCEA - Unattached Standards - Achievement>NCEA>Unattached Standards .. on this page unattached standards can be viewed, removed or withdrawn as required.

- Mail to Greeting - People>Students>Student Details>Caregivers .. a Mail to Greeting field is now available on each caregiver. If a Caregiver has a Mail to Greeting, this is used when Financial Documents are sent.

- Announcements - Admin>Setup>School Announcement .. you can now send an announcement to more than one portal at once.

- Billable Items (Teacher Mode) - My Class>Finance Details .. a Year Level, Class and Group filter has been added as well as ‘only show my students’ .. unless the Show All Students right from School Settings has been enabled. This will help teachers see who has paid for a school trip or similar.

Finance Bulk Discount/Reversal - Finance>Processing>Bulk Discount/Reversal:  The ability to bulk discount or reverse billable items has been added.

Assay Analysis

Assay Analysis has now been included in Edge as an optional data analysis tool that takes your NCEA data stored in Edge and presents it using an extensive range of filters in a colourful and graphical format. The data can be displayed in Teacher, HoD or School Leader centric views.

For example; Assay can show you how each of your students is going compared to their other classes and previous years’ results. Assay can also give you your current classes, by student, in a form which gives an instant picture for each individual.

For more information: https://www.assay.co.nz/assay-3

For and interactive demo: https://hosted.assay.co.nz/demo/   Username: demo   Password: demo

Assay is a separate 3rd party product that MUSAC has partnered with then embedded into Edge. For those schools wishing to enable this functionality the annual license fee is listed below.

NB: Not all features available in the demo will be included in Edge. The functionality available in Edge will be: Wizard, Global Dashboards, Growth Dashboard, My Classes Student Graphs, My Classes Graphs / Tables, All Classes Student Graphs, and Whole School Graphs / Tables.

Annual license fee
Tier 1 - up to 300 students - $150.00
Tier 2 - 301-750 students - $250.00
Tier 3 - 751-1200 students - $400.00
Tier 4 - over 1201 students - $600.00

All prices are +GST

To enable this functionality or for further information contact: sales@music.io

Monday, 17 July 2017

Term 3 Roadshows: August - September 2017

Straight off the back of our very successful conference in Christchurch (with 160 attendees) we are back into Roadshow mode.
The Term 3 Roadshows will see us offer 2 half day sessions for Senior Management throughout the North Island.
You may wish to register for the morning, afternoon or both.  There will be a 1 hour break between sessions.  
It will be a long (and we feel worthwhile) day.  The morning session starts at 9.30am and the afternoon session at 1pm with both running for 2.5 hrs.
From the feedback we have had, parking has been an issue in the past for our Auckland sessions so both will be held at the Highbrook BNZ Centre, as there is plenty of onsite parking.  We realise this will mean more of a drive for some but it was the best option we felt would work for attendees.
Locations and Dates:
  • 21st Aug – Porirua, Wellington
  • 23rd Aug – Lower Hutt, Wellington
  • 24th Aug - New Plymouth
  • 28th Aug - Wanganui
  • 29th Aug - Auckland
  • 30th Aug - Auckland
  • 31st Aug - Whangarei
  • 5th Sept - Hamilton
  • 6th Sept - Rotorua
  • 7th Sept - Hamilton
  • 11th Sept - Hastings
  • 12th Sept - Gisborne
  • 18th Sept - Palmerston North
Even if you are a MUSAC Classic user, we do encourage you to come along to see what the next generation software is doing.
Below is a brief outline of what we will be covering during each session.
Senior Management (9.30am – 12pm)
  • Reporting (ATL, Custom, Template)
  • Markbook Setup and Use
  • Achievement Setup
  • Analysis / Overall Tracking
  • Assessment – NAG2a
  • Open Session – Questions & Answers
Senior Management (1pm – 3.30pm)
  • Mobile App
  • Filterable Lists Summary Tables
  • Enrolments Online – An Overview
  • Pastoral Setup, Management & Analysis
  • Attendance Setup, Management & Analysis / Reporting
  • Open Session Questions & Answers
The cost per half day (GST excluded) is:
1 person = $125
2 people = $225
3 people =  $300 
Morning or afternoon tea will be provided.
To register for the Term 3 2017 Senior Management AM Roadshow please click HERE
To register for the Term 3 2017 Senior Management PM Roadshow please click HERE

Monday, 10 July 2017

Edge Mobile Release Notes – 10 July 2017

Available for Android (v4, Ice Cream Sandwich, or newer). iOS (8.1 or newer)

New Features

School Announcements: the most recent can be viewed on the home page, earlier announcements can be viewed on the Announcements page.

NB. these are the same announcements that are configured in Edge Desktop and show on the Dashboard page.

High resolution student profile images: Tap the thumbnail on the student details page to view. Pinch to zoom.

The option to refresh data has been added to the Settings page. This can be used when very recent timetable changes have invalidated rolls that have already been downloaded to the phone.

Bug fixes and improvements:

- Pull down to refresh function added to user profile and student profile screens.

- Expired attendance notes no longer shown when marking rolls.

- Unmarked rolls sorted time of day.

- Shortcut button added to Student Search results to open Student’s Timetable.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Custom Categories

These are configurable fields that can hold any additional information relating to your student’s. i.e. sports activities, awards, internet access, etc.

The setup is similar to markbook configuration where data types are first created (Category Value Setup) then applied to the relevant categories (Category Configuration). An example of this would be: .. create a Lookup Data Type of Yes/No, this could be then used on categories such as Internet Access Permission and Prefect. i.e. the data type is created once then applied to as many categories as needed.

The available data types are: Text, Number, Lookup, Comment (max 50 characters).

Custom Categories can be set up by staff with Enrolment Office User Responsibility. 
Admin>Setup>Category Setup.

NB. up to eight values can be applied to each category. Designated under the Maximum Value column.

Data Entry is by staff with Enrolment Officer responsibility. People>Student Details .. select student .. >Custom Categories. All staff can view Custom Category entries via Classes>Student Details>Custom Categories

There is also the option to show the Value 1 entry at the bottom of the Student Profile page. People>Student Details .. select student.

Data can be output via New Filterable Lists from the Student Details fields.

Monday, 29 May 2017

MUSAC Conference

Thanks to all those who attended the MUSAC conference in Christchurch on June 1 and 2. It was great to see so many people attend with a wealth of ideas being shared and contributed.

It's very early days but we are already thinking ahead to the 2018 conference which will also be MUSAC's 30 year anniversary.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Edge Release - 29 May 2017

·     The ability to enter previous years’ assessment data by Assessment Points has been added. This functionality can be enabled on the School Settings page (Admin>Setup>School Settings).

To add a result for a previous year: Click the down arrow on the assessment, choose the previous year’s assessment point, then click Edit/View Results.

NB: Previous years Assessment Points can be viewed/edited on the: Achievement>Assessment>Achievement>Setup of Assessments page, then select the year from the top of the page.

·       NZQA: The ability to select a Vertical or Horizontal Class for the NZQA Submission sorting has been added for schools using both class types.  (The default is Vertical class).

·       A new responsibility of Relief Teacher has been added to User Responsibilities. This will allow relief teachers access to mark rolls without giving them Attendance Officer Rights.

When this role (and only this role) is selected on a reliever, they will log in to Teacher mode. From there they can click the Attendance button, choose the teacher they are relieving for, then choose the relevant class to mark attendance for.

·       Occupation and Notes fields have been added to the individual Caregiver page.

·       Quick Search: Ethnicity, Year Level and Gender filters have been added to the Student Search at the bottom of the page. Once a filter has been Applied the search list only displays the filtered students, one of whom can then be selected as usual. To clear the filter the selected Year and Ethnicity filters can be deleted, and Gender changed to All. NB. multiple filters can be applied at the same time.

·       Quick Find (Tag Lists): This functionality allows users to define and save groups of students from which they can add, edit or view specific data using the Prev/Next buttons. Quick Find has been added to the right-hand end of the purple banner within Edge.

.Clicking the funnel icon brings up the Quick Find filters and Tag List functionality box.

On here a combination of filters can be chosen, then the Search button clicked to list the required students. Some or all of these students can then be selected then Saved as a tag list. Tag Lists can then be Applied to show only those students

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Edge Mobile App update - Term 2, Week 4

The latest release of the Edge Mobile app sees the first deployment of caregiver and student versions. It's the same app for all but the user login determines what features they see. 

For caregivers and students to use the app the Portal settings in Edge need to be enabled: Admin>Setup>School Settings. Caregivers and students then use the same login they have for the portal .. preferably one that is tied to their Google or Facebook account.

This update is mainly for area and secondary schools as it has added three views of the timetable. Staff see their own timetable and those of the students. Students see their own timetable and caregivers see their children's timetable. 

If the phone is held upright you see today's timetable with the current class highlighted. If the phone is held horizontally the timetable for the week is displayed.


Tapping the calendar grid in the top corner changes to a month view. Tapping it again takes you back to the week or day, depending on which way you are holding the phone.

NB. As a number of changes have been made to app we recommend Android users tap 'Check for Update' in Play Store to ensure they have the latest version.

Edge Feature Additions - 12 May 2017

The fourth week of term 2 sees the addition of one oft requested feature as well as a good number of minor refinements.

The headline item is Custom Categories. These are configurable fields that can hold any additional information relating to student’s. i.e. sports activities, awards, internet access, etc.

Enrolment Officers can set up and edit these categories, but all staff can view them on the new  Classes>Student Details>Custom Categories  tab.

Enrolment Officer view
Data can be output via New Filterable Lists.

Student Details

  • A new Caregiver Reports tab has been added to the Student Details page.
  • ATL graphs have been added to the Assessment Summary tab.
  • A filter has been added to the MoE Field Bulk Update.


  • Macrons can now be added to School Announcements.
  • Added the ability to attach files to medical details. e.g. for immunisation evidence.
  • Comments can now be added to markbooks (maximum characters = 1500). This is done by adding the new data type of Comment then applying this to the relevant markbooks. Once added to a markbook double clicking the cell alongside a student opens the comment box for text entry.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Edge Mobile v2

Along with the deployment of the new look and feel in Edge at the end of the holidays, we also released v2 of the Edge Mobile app. The app has had a complete makeover and ongoing fortnightly releases will incrementally add to the functionality.

It is available for both iOS and Android. Search for MUSAC Edge in either App or Play Store.

With this version staff can mark their class attendance as well as look up student and caregiver details; 

- Phone numbers can be dialed or sent a text message by tapping the number.
- Emails can be created by tapping the email address.

Future updates will add features such as notifications, timetable and calendar. Before the end of May caregivers and students will also be able to use the app.

Taking your class attendance is so convenient and straight forward on the app that we highly recommend all staff download and start using it straight away.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tracking student progress over time

One of the key things that schools have been asking for is the ability to show how you are making a difference to students learning across time.  One way to show this is by looking at a student's results in the assessments that they undertake.  These may be standardized tests such as PAT and STAR, Curriculum Best Fit Levels, Running Records, GLoSS, IKAN, JAM, National Standards etc.

We have recently updated Edge to make the tracking of individual student progress in assessments over their time at school much easier.  When you bring up a students profile page you will now see a new tab labeled Assessment Summary. 

In this area you will see the curriculum areas that your school has configured assessments for in Edge.  Clicking the blue arrow (chevron) next to one of these headings will open a page containing tracking graphs showing results for each assessment configured.  As soon as a result is entered in the achievement area these graphs will update to display the latest information.  Where relevant the graphs will also display published national average results for comparison purposes.

 Hovering over a data point will display the actual result recorded.  If required, each graph could be printed or downloaded as a picture file by clicking the 3 horizontal lines in the top right corner of the graph.

Drilling into the data

When you need to look closely at the assessment information for a cohort of students (class, year, group) over time we recommend the use of the Overall Tracking section of the achievement area.  We have covered this in a previous post, but to recap, this part of Edge allows you to easily isolate results across several years.  This gives you the ability to scan results for a cohort of students to identify how the students are tracking and to identify individual students who may need additional support or challenges.

For more on this see the post Achievement Updates in Edge Student Manager.