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Entering Student Course Recommendations and Comments in Aspen

High School Note: With our semester schedule we engage in the course placement process TWO times. Round 1 is ONLY for SEMESTER-LONG courses that end in semester 1. Round 2 will encompass SEMESTER-LONG and YEAR-LONG classes that end in June. The school year window for S1 recommendations opens in early January. The window for S2 and FY recommendations opens around mid-March. The 2nd round of recommendations is only for non-elective courses that complete at the end of Semester 2 (the end of the school year).

Middle School Note: Teacher recommendations for students moving from 8th to 9th grade are done by 8th grade teachers in Aspen. Please be sure that only one teacher/course gives a course recommendation for each appropriate subject, otherwise students will end up with duplicate (and possibly differing) course requests for ELA, Math, etc.

STEP 1. Click on the Gradebook tab. Select a course by checking the box and then clicking the Scores side tab to open the Scores view shown below. If you don’t see the recommendation columns click Set Preferences on the Control Bar (look for your name close to where you would log off from Aspen).

Then click on the Gradebook tab (in the Set Preferences window), and you’ll see the options below.

Check the Show course selection recommendation box to make the columns appear, and uncheck the box to make them disappear. Hiding the columns does not affect the data in them – when you re-check the box, the columns reappear with your recommendations and text comments intact.

Reopen your Scores view and you’ll see the Recommendation and Comment columns shown below.

STEP 2. Click on the Recommendation tab. A dropdown appears with your department’s recommendation choices from the courses. Click on the course you want to assign to each student. You can change your recommendation at any time during the window, and you can remove the recommendation (as opposed to changing it) by changing it to the top option in the dropdown which appears as a blank.

STEP 3. Once you enter a course assignment in the Recommendation column, the Comment field becomes active. If you’d like to enter a brief comment about the assignment for a student, click on the pencil and paper icon.

STEP 4. The comment box will open and you can write a brief comment related to the assignment.  Please note, your comments will be public and open for parents and students to view.

Click OK to close the comment window.

You don’t need to do anything to save your recommendations or comments. The system saves them automatically as you enter them.

FAQs About Entering Student Course Assignments in Aspen

How long do I have to enter course recommendations?
The Semester 1 course recommendation window open in early January and close at the end of the day when quarter 2 grades are due. The window for S2 and FY recommendations opens mid March and closes around April 9. Exact dates are circulated separately each year. Recommendations for 8th graders entering 9th grade are typically due around mid-April for the following school year.
Why don’t I see the recommendation columns in my gradebooks or one of my gradebooks?
The recommendation columns only appear in core academic courses (ELA, math, science, history and foreign language) and a couple other selected courses. If recommendation columns should be available in a class and aren’t, please contact Andy Moore.
What assignment should I make for a student who’s failing my class?
Teachers should make the course assignment for the course the student is mostly likely to take next year based on their current grade.  As such, if a student is most likely to fail your class this year the course assignment for next year should be to repeat the course.  Please recommend 9th and 10th grade students for Mastery repeat classes where available, as these semester-long classes are specifically designed for students repeating full-year length courses. If you have questions about the course sequences or appropriate placement for specific students, please consult with the department lead.
How should I handle AP and Pathway recommendations?
Teachers should make appropriate AP recommendations for students; please discuss potential AP recommendations with students as appropriate to discuss commitment and to gauge interest. Students will then be invited to an assembly. Students not recommended but interested in AP classes will also have an opportunity to self-advocate to the department lead teacher. Students will get the AP contract and only once they have returned the signed AP contract by April 5th will we finalize the AP rosters.
Why are there no Pathway courses in the assignment dropdown lists?
Kim Murphy will complete all Pathway course assignments. As such, you will NOT see Pathway specific classes as options in Aspen. Please assign students to ELA 11 or ELA 12, etc. Once students’ academic records have been vetted by Kim and the students are found eligible for a Pathway, their particular Pathway course requests will be uploaded to Aspen.
What about co-taught classes?
Special Education personnel will handle co-taught assignments.
Do I have to save my course recommendations?
No. Aspen automatically saves your recommendations and the comments as they’re entered.
What’s the difference between a course recommendation/assignment and a course request?
Course recommendations/assignments become course requests once they are “accepted” in Aspen (this happens after the recommendation window closes). You can edit or change your recommendations before they’re accepted; once they become course requests, only a guidance counselor can change them. Having this flexibility lets lead teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators report on – and work with – assignments before they actually become course requests.
Can I change a course recommendation or comment?
You can change a course recommendation or comment as often as necessary until the course recommendation window closes. If you need to make changes after the window closes, they should be sent directly to the student’s guidance counselor.
I still have questions. What should I do?
Please refer questions directly to your department lead. You can also email questions to Andy Moore.

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