What's New

Read about the new features released in PowerSchool Special Programs.

To determine which version you are currently running, hover the mouse/pointer over the logo in the upper left corner of the software.

What's New in Version 21.6.0

Learn more with the Special Programs 21.6.0.0 feature walkthrough documents and videos on PowerSchool Community.

Digital Signature

  • Special Programs Digital Signature is a legally compliant electronic signature feature that enables staff, parents, students, and other required signers to sign documents electronically within Special Programs. Your state model must be configured and your district licensed to use Special Programs Digital Signature. State model updates are targeted for future releases.

Formula Editor

  • A new formula editor is available throughout the system to assist users with creating and editing selection criteria and other formulas. The editor provides recommendations appropriate to the formula or selection criteria as you enter the text.

Immersive Reader

  • Immersive Reader is now available for Canadian customers. Immersive Reader improves accessibility to documents, messages, and other key areas for all Special Programs users. This tool includes features like text-to-speech, translations, a picture dictionary, and line item focus.

Schoology Integration

  • Special Programs now offers an integration with Schoology that gives system administrators and instructors access to review Special Programs student alerts, educational plans, accommodations, and documents within Schoology. This integration requires corresponding changes to be released soon in Schoology

System Administration

  • Numerous system administration features and enhancements are included in this release. For full details, system administrators can refer to the Release Notes in the Admin Help.

Previous Versions

What's New in Version 20.11.0

Easy Edit

  • Customize your district's forms and documents. With Easy Edit administrators can add new content or edit existing content in your district's documents and forms. This includes adding fields, links, and symbols, as well as customizing content released by PowerSchool.

Workflow Case Management

  • When precondition criteria exist, a case will not be created if the student does not meet the criteria.
  • View the Workflow Case Type Details for the selected case type by using the new information icon (i) within the Create Workflow Case dialog.

Documents

  • When editing translated phrases, there is now a single icon to accept all machine translations at once. The system will also sort the phrases using the same order in which they appear on the form.

DocuSign Integration Improvements

  • When documents are routed from users authorized to "submit" versus users authorized to "send" to DocuSign, the sending user may send multiple or all documents in the user's queue at one time.

  • In the DocuSign Account Setup screen, the "Time Zone for API Verified?" option has been eliminated since the system is now able to detect this setting automatically. A new "Default Routing Order for Signers" option has been introduced to the same screen to allow the system administrator to default users to sending to staff before non-staff or sending to all signers at the same time.

  • The system administrator can now omit specified document template sections from being sent to DocuSign by overriding a document template section option labeled "Omit from DocuSign".

System Administration

  • Numerous system administration features and enhancements are included in this release. For full details, system administrators can refer to the Release Notes in the Admin Help.

What's New in Version 20.6.0

Workflow Case Management

  • See the Workflow Case Management video and resources on PowerSchool Community, including:
    • Special Programs 20.6 Feature Walkthrough
    • Workflow Case Management Visual Walkthrough
  • The in-app User Help includes a new Workflow Case Management

Accessibility

    • This version includes multiple accessibility improvements, including the date picker option.

Documents

    • You can now print all documents as a PDF.
    • Search, bookmark, and sort documents for an individual student.

Standard Reports

    • You can now specify when you want emails sent to users who have subscribed to receive a report. You can set a schedule to send emails system-wide or location-wide. 
      For more information, refer to Subscribing to a Report.

User Experience

    • New highlight colors for user messages for improved visibility.
    • Minor changes to the top navigation bar to achieve a unified look with other PowerSchool products.

DocuSign Integration Improvements

    • When submitting a document for e-Signatures, you now have the option to send the document to multiple recipients at once. Previously, the e-Signature document would route to one signer at a time.
    • There are two Routing Order options:
      • Send to Staff first, then to non-Staff: The e-Signature document will route first to all staff signers at once, and then after all staff signers sign, it will route next to any/all non-staff signers
      • Send to all signers at the same time: The e-Signature document will route to all signers at the same time.
    • A Send Reminder link allows you to send an email reminder to a recipient who has not yet signed the document.

System Administration

    • Numerous system administration features and enhancements are included in this release. For full details, system administrators can refer to the Release Notes in the in-app Admin Help.

What's New in Version 19.11

Check out the links to walkthrough documents and videos on PowerSchool Community! You can also access the feature walkthrough documents using the following links  (select the version for your SIS):

PowerSchool SIS

eSchoolPlus SIS

Unified Classroom

  • Accessibility
    • This version includes numerous accessibility improvements, including improved ARIA support, improved keyboard navigation, improved visual cues for keyboard navigation, color contrast adjustments, and introduction of a skip navigation link.
  • Immersive Reader (Accommodations Tool)
  • Student/Parent/Guardian Home Page
    • The home page now includes direct links to documents published to students/parents/guardians in the current and previous school years.
  • Documents
    • From a student's list of documents, authorized users can now change the status of multiple documents at once.
    • Once a document has one or more revision/amendment documents, the student list of documents will collapse the original and any previous revision/amendment documents that are not active documents under the latest revision in order to reduce screen clutter.
    • You can now quickly add a new document by clicking the category of the type of document you want to add, and then selecting the document from a filtered list instead of scrolling through a list of documents in all categories.
    • The system now supports a process for authorized users to review and acknowledge final documents, allowing the system administrator to track which users have acknowledged specific documents
  • Standard Reports
    • When publishing list reports to specified security groups, a new option allows administrators to send users an email with a link to the report on specific days of the week (this option was previously only available when an individual user subscribed to a list report).
    • This release includes a preview of the new Documentation Mode feature, which enables users to selectively see more information about reports, including the report description and filter criteria (previously only available in edit mode to authorized users). Additional enhancements will be coming in future releases, based on customer feedback. A common request is to have a way to easily tell where data comes from and how it is used in the report.
  • System Administration
    • A new feature allows the system administrator (ADMIN) to convert simple file-based documents to template-based documents, improving security, categorization, and labeling. Additional details are provided in the System Administration Help.
    • Administrators can now tell who has reviewed and acknowledged a document.
  • PowerSchool SIS Integration
    • Enhanced Special Programs security role integration with PowerSchool SIS user access roles to include 1) an option to integrate roles without considering individual school locations, 2) automatic re-synchronizing of a user's associated locations from SIS upon login (when role integration is enabled), and 3) a preview mode so that the system administrator can see the effect of enabling the integration before enabling it. The preview is also designed to be a useful diagnostic tool after the integration is enabled.
  • Special Programs in Unified Classroom
    • Alerts / New Documents page - all Special Programs Alerts appear in Unified Classroom.
    • Parent / Student access to documents - Student list of documents right in Unified Classroom.
    • If an alert is configured to have a corresponding document, you can navigate directly to the document itself. Otherwise, you can go to the document list page in Special Programs and select the document from the list.
    • Access to accommodations info when creating assignments.
    • Immersive Reader on documents list page and Activity Feed.

What's New in Version 19.4

  • Accessibility
    • Version 19.4 includes accessibility improvements to various application screens.
  • Product Rebranding and General UI
    • The system has been rebranded as Special Programs, with a new logo and some minor color changes that align with other products within the PowerSchool Unified Classroom solution.
    • With the 19.4 release, the Special Education application is now called Special Programs. You will see the two names used interchangeably in the documentation when we are talking about the Special Programs software as a product/application, and you will see "Special Education" when we are talking about the Special Education/IEP module within the Special Programs product/application.
    • As we roll out new branding and content updates over the coming months, we'll be updating product name references and screenshots in the online documentation.
    • Watch the Special Programs Branding and Help Updates video (also available on PowerSchool Community).
  • Help Menu
    • Simplified and streamlined to provide a better user experience.
    • Previously, the Help Menu contained two links: Help Guides and Support. Clicking the Help Guides link in the menu used to open a long list of links to various help resources. The Help menu now includes the following quick links:

What's New (this link has moved from the user Profile menu to the Help menu): Opens the What's New page in the online help which provides an overview of the changes made in each version (you are currently viewing this page).

User Help: Opens the PowerSchool Special Programs Help online documentation space, which covers how to work with students in the Special Programs product.

Admin Help: Opens the System Administrator Help online documentation space, which covers the functions of the Special Programs product that system, data, and security administrators will need to manage the application. 

State/Provincial Help: Opens the online documentation space for your specific state or provincial model, when applicable. We're currently in the process of building out the state/provincial model online documentation spaces, so at this time, you can find general information about your state/provincial model, model-specific release notes, and state reporting and integration information for your model, as it becomes available.

Other Resources: Opens the Other Resources menu pop-up that used to be labeled "Help Guides". The functionality is still the same for this menu. You can still find custom links that your school has added here, and you can still click Configure at the top of the menu to add or edit your custom links.

Support: Opens the New Support Request pop-up window, which allows you to request support.

  • Formula Language
    • The formula language now supports an advanced NTHVALUEOF function that accepts the same parameters as the TOPONEVALUEOF function, but with an additional parameter that allows you to obtain the Nth value. If the additional parameter is zero, that is equivalent to TopOneValueOf. If the additional parameter is one, then the second value is obtained.
  • Document Access Security
    • A new "View Final Only" document security right is available that allows document access from specified security groups to be restricted to final documents only.

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