The central concept in ParentEve is that of an event, which is a single parents evening, parent consultation or other function that you wish to schedule. Events are stored by the program in simple text files and when you use ParentEve you load and save these files just as you would any other document; you can alter your event as much as you like, and your changes are only made permanent once you save your file. The event file contains all the information needed to create the schedule for one parents evening:
A schedule is an event with appointment times filled in for each parent's requests. One of ParentEve's most powerful features is that it can optimise schedules to minimise waiting times - a schedule is optimised by moving the appointments around but keeping the rest of the event's details unchanged.
An important ability of the program is its ability to score and optimise a schedule. Schedules are given a score, which indicates how good they are at removing waiting times. The default scoring method is as follows:
ParentEve knows that one set of parents may have two children in the same year and consequently it needs to know which children belong to which parents. In the case of twins (or other such situations) it is vital that ParentEve should know that both twins belong to the same parents, as that way it can ensure that appointments relating to individual twins are held at different times. Appointments are entered against pupils, but it is their parents which are scheduled to see teachers. An appointment made against a pupil represents the fact that the parent wishes to talk to a teacher about the pupil in question. It is quite possible for twins to have very different academic needs and ParentEve accomodates this. Consequently the parents of twins will nearly always have around twice the number of appointments than parents with only one child - this way there can never be a clash or overlapping appointment for parents of twins.
A teacher can be marked as teaching more than one subject. When a pupil makes an appointment request, the subject they wish to discuss is held with the request. Therefore pupils may request multiple appointments with the same teacher as long as the subject is different each time. If a pupil wishes to discuss one subject for a longer time, the appointment's length can be increased. ParentEve can store a list of the teachers and subjects that each pupil is taught by. This is used to reduce the list of options visible to you when entering responses from parents, and also to reduce the options that parents see if they are responding online.
A presentation in ParentEve terms is something that has a fixed start and end time during your parents' evening. Any parents or teachers can be marked as attending it. While attending a presentation, the person in question is marked as busy (so they don't incur waiting penalties) and they are also not available to be booked on any appointments during this time. For example, during a parents' evening there may be a talk about choosing subjects for next year. To incorporate this, simply set up a presentation at the appropriate time, and then mark parents and teachers as attending it. The presentation will then appear on their schedules and be included in the event optimisation process automatically.
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