Your step by step guide to get your MIS school data into SchoolsBuddy
To sync most of your student body data from iSAMS we will use Batch API keys with an overnight data sync. If you would also like to sync attendance updates to SchoolsBuddy you can also provide REST API keys. See our attendance guide Absentee Alerts / MIS Absence for more information on how we use attendance information in SchoolsBuddy.
Please note - SchoolsBuddy is built around the fact that all users must have a unique email address to be able to access the system. Please ensure all parents and staff have a unique valid email address in the record in iSAMS. If you wish students to have access then they must also have a unique valid email address in iSAMS.
- Creating batch API keys for overnight updates (every 24 hours)
- How to create an API Key
- API Key Settings
- ISAMS Support
- Optional Attendance Updates - REST API Key
- Submit Batch API Keys, Access URL (& REST API key) to SchoolsBuddy team
- SchoolsBuddy Configuration
Creating batch API keys for overnight updates (every 24 hours)
Your iSAMS administrator must set up 6 or 7 separate batch API Keys within the iSAMS Admin Control Panel / API Keys Section (the Medical key is optional). These must be created individually, check only the specified settings below for each key. We will request these via an online form (see step 3 for the link).
Why do we need 7 different keys?
This enables us to call for different elements of the data independently, which helps with load and sequencing of the import (update) processes within SchoolsBuddy.
How to Create an API Key
To set up API Keys, follow the steps below. These may differ slightly depending on whether you use a cloud-hosted or self-hosted instance of ISAMS.
- Log in to ISAMS as an Administrator and click on the Control Panel.
- Select the API Services Manager
- Select Manage Batch API Keys
- Click Request Batch API Key (or Create Batch API Key if you see that instead). You'll need to request 6 or 7 new keys from ISAMS first (depending on whether you want to share medical information or not).
- Enter the Integrator and Product name as "SchoolsBuddy" then Save and close. If you can't see the save & close button, expand the popup window - it is in the top left corner.
- The ISAMS team will create the key for you. When it is ready, it will appear under the API Key Manager. Click the Edit icon to configure the settings of the key.
- Copy the API Key reference for submission to SchoolsBuddy (see reference to the form below).
- Name the key according to which settings it will be used for (so that you can recognise which application and purpose it is for)
- The API key state should be set to Active. Set the Mode to Production. Change the default value for Cache Enquiry to 2 or 3 hours. This minimises impact on ISAMS performance by caching information from the database; if SchoolsBuddy makes another call within 2 or 3 hours, the same information is available. We recommend selecting less than the default “24 hours” as SchoolsBuddy will only query ISAMS once every 24 hours, during the night in your timezone. In the event that you need to add a new student to SchoolsBuddy quickly, you can ask the Support team to run an additional data sync. If the enquiry cache was set to 24 hours, SchoolsBuddy would not be able to get new information from the database for another 24 hours after we last called it.
- Select the Batch Methods tab.
- Configure each key by checking the settings as shown in the table below. This is an example of the Contacts key.
- Save & Close.
API Keys Settings
Each API key requires a different 'batch method' configuration; these are individual calls to modules for data. Check the settings listed below for each key. Do not check any extra settings as SchoolsBuddy will not be able to process data if extra settings are configured; do not check custom fields.
Please Note - If you are only using SchoolsBuddy for some, not all school years/grades, it is possible to filter the Contacts for just the pupils from specific years for account activation.
For further assistance with keys - please contact iSAMS support from within your iSAMS portal. SchoolsBuddy has no direct access to iSAMS. You can contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Optional Attendance Updates - REST API Key
We will only need this if you would like SchoolsBuddy to reference attendance marks from ISAMS on the registers for activities in SchoolsBuddy. For example, for the after school activity leader to see if a student was already absent from their homeroom that afternoon. You can set this up at a later date if you would like to.
Attendance information is synced twice daily before lunchtime and after school activities. See our attendance guide Absentee Alerts / MIS Absence for more information on how we use attendance information in SchoolsBuddy.
You will need to request access to the REST API on SchoolsBuddy's behalf to the iSAMS support team and provide us with the Client ID and Client Secret. We will also need to know the ID of the register(s) you would like us to use for AM and PM registration. If you are not sure what these are we can check what registers are available.
Why do we need a REST API Key for attendance - why not use a "batch" API Key?
We use the REST API because the ISAMS Batch API uses a cache. If the Batch API has a cache of the data within the last 24 hours (by default) then this data is provided rather than querying the database again.
The REST API uses real-time data - as we are requesting this at least twice a day (AM and PM registers) we can't rely on the batch data being up to date.
The batch API is also subject to several limits and "throttling" so we use the batch APIs for the "main" data sync and therefore using the REST API also reduces our risk of running into any of those limits and causing issues with either the Attendance or Main data syncs.
Submit Batch API Keys, Access URL (& REST API key) to SchoolsBuddy team
After the API Keys have been created and saved, please copy and paste them into this online form with your iSAMS access URL (e.g. yourschool.isams.cloud). Optionally include the REST API Client ID and Client Secret if you would like attendance updates.
There is a section on the form to provide notes on contact filtering. By default, SchoolsBuddy only import contacts that have "All Merges", or "Correspondence" mail options checked. We will only import the Contact types "Mother" and "Father" unless you provide other contact types.
Once we have entered the API keys in your SchoolsBuddy account, we will begin syncing your data overnight.
For contacts, SchoolsBuddy default the contact type filter to "Mother" and "Father". If any other contact types like "Guardian" need to be added please let the SchoolsBuddy team know. We can also select only contacts with All Merges or Correspondence flags against them in ISAMS.
After the initial import, we will examine the data and confirm with you that the data has come into SchoolsBuddy successfully.
Q: What if we need to update any student /parent/ staff details?
Q: Will students be automatically removed when they leave?
Q: Will parents automatically be removed when their student leaves?
Q: Will Staff be automatically removed when they leave?
Q : Can SchoolsBuddy import ISAMS 'off-school' attendance each day?
Q: Can SchoolsBuddy import Medical information?
Q: Will teacher's classes be imported directly to SchoolsBuddy?
Q: Can you add boarding houses to SchoolsBuddy?
Q: Can you sync student photos to SchoolsBuddy?
Q: We are using one ISAMS account for multiple campuses by assigning the years as below, is this a problem?
1 - 10
20 - 30
A: SchoolsBuddy syncs the year's display name so if both 10 and 20 are named "05" they would be imported as one year group. We recommend schools add a campus identifier to year group names so that they are identifiably different in SchoolsBuddy e.g. "05 Campus 1", "05 Campus 2".