BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Scouting Forums

Automatically advance Scout's grade level each year

I just found out that a Scout’s grade level in Scoutbook is not automatically advanced each year! That makes the feature essentially useless unless a leader goes in and manually changes the grade of each and every Scout! What’s the purpose of that?

This field should automatically increment sometime over the summer in preparation for the new school and Scouting year.

If you use the Feature Assistant Extension for Scoutbook, a unit Admin can advance all Scouts at once to the next grade level.

And Cub Scouts packs who are advancing their dens using Scoutbook’s (native) “Advance Den” feature will have the grades automatically advanced.

Some schools operate year round. So what is the best date to advance? If I remember correctly someone posted that BSA advances Cub Scouts a grade in the BSA membership system in early June. For Scoutbook I am thinking maybe September 1st is the best date. Opinions?

It’s a bit of a mixed bag. Our scouts come from three different school districts and more than 8 different schools, and that’s just what I know about. It might be useful to have a menu option to advance the school grades, but that won’t address whether or not the scout has changed schools or anything else that may require changes to the profile.

I’m actually disinclined to have such an automated feature, but rather to encourage spending the programming time to create an interface (tabular? CSV import/export?) that allows the unit admin or other unit designee to easily update the profile data and push it back to the database. Provide check boxes for the fields that are included in the “export” to be updated (e.g. only include school and grade, only include address & phone number, etc). That could be useful to update more than just the school year, and would make it less problematic for units with different timing (e.g. units outside of the US, units with some students in year-round schools) to manage things like the school grade/year advancement.

The interface I’m proposing would look a lot like the Report Builder for identifying which scouts and what information to include in the “table”, but the table itself would then have live fields and buttons to “update database”, “cancel without saving changes”, and possibly and “import from/export to CSV” so that your favorite spreadsheet program could be used as the interface, so you can pre-load the data to be updated, both avoiding timeouts and minimizing typos.

Jennifer,

We do advance our Dens using Scoutbook’s “Advance Den” feature. However, the Cub’s grade levels haven’t changed when we advanced their Dens.

Charley,

We also pull from more than 8 schools, but only have 2 school districts to deal with!

I like your idea. We find ourselves utilizing spreadsheets a lot because it’s not easy to manipulate or sort data in Scoutbook. We use one to verify contact information during registration and could easily export and then import that data back into Scoutbook.

That being said, it would be nice to not have to export & import a file just to update school grades though. If a Cub advances in Dens, they obviously advance in school grades too. Those 2 pieces should be linked as Jennifer said they were. We aren’t finding that it works though.

How are we supposed to know that? Looking at the Feature Assistant page here: Feature Assistant - What is it? It says “School information can be quick edited” but says nothing about bulk advancing grade levels.

It’s great that there is a way to do things that Scoutbook can’t, but it doesn’t do any good if users can’t tell what it can and can’t do. I know my limited experience with it hasn’t been all that smooth.

I mainly use Firefox. Does it work better with Chrome?

I think everyone agrees that needing an extension to do various things isn’t ideal. It’s an interim step forward provided and maintained by a volunteer scouter to help close the gap between what the users are trying to do and what has been natively coded into Scoutbook. The BSA doesn’t automatically notify everyone using Scoutbook about the extension because it’s not an official BSA tool. Not to put words in @GaryFeutz’s mouth, but I suspect his goal is to be out of a job as a Scoutbook extension maintainer as soon as Scoutbook gets all of the needed features supported natively. In the meantime, Gary’s out there slogging in the trenches with the rest of us, and trying to make our lives easier.

Regarding detailed documentation of the features, the page @JenniferOlinger linked to says:

I won’t repost the link from the description in this post in case Gary updates the reference document link.

ETA: sigh still fixing typos…

To be honest… Tracking school grade isn’t that useful a feature in the first place. I’m not sweating that it’s not updated for any of my Scouts.

Yeah… not a data point for either my pack or troop. We have a number of public/private/charter schools around us and most do not allow solicitors.

Charley,

I get it and kudos to @GaryFeutz for taking the time not only to write the Extension, but to support it and keep it up to date.

My frustration lies with BSA not improving Scoutbook like they should. They bothered to purchase the app and they increased everyone’s dues with the idea of investing in IT for all users. That hasn’t happened and Scoutbook lacks some key features needed to manage Packs & Troops. I would have preferred to have paid for it if they took the $$ and invested in the product. All we ever hear is that features are scheduled…

That’s too bad. Almost all of our private & charter schools are happy to let us recruit. Wish it was the same for you. You can’t get a better program for youth than Scouting!

This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.