How to deploy School Data Sync by using Clever Sync

Note: 

Clever is an identity management and rostering solution for education that integrates with School Data Sync (SDS) and Classroom in Office 365. Using Clever Sync allows you to synchronize student, teacher, section, school, and roster information from Clever directly into Microsoft Azure Active Directory using the REST APIs provided by the Clever system.

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Before you get started

Before you start synchronizing with SDS using the Clever Sync method, read the Overview of School Data Sync and Classroom and make sure you meet the following prerequisites:

  • An Office 365 for Education tenant.

  • Global Admin Permissions

  • The attributes in your Clever instance selected in the sync profile must not contain any characters shown in this list of invalid characters.

If you are configuring School Data Sync for a tenant which is synchronized from on-premises Active Directory through AADConnect, you may notice an increase in the number of Disconnectors shown in your miisclient. This is a result of Office 365 Group being unable to synchronize back to the AADConnect Metaverse and On Premises Active Directory. These warnings do not have any negative impact on your current AADConnect deployment, and only provide an informational note on the resultant sync failure. You should expect these warnings in AADConnect after enabling sync in SDS, as one O365 Group is created for each class synchronized through SDS.

Note: The data that you provide through School Data Sync may be accessible to third-party application providers through their apps, so you should sync only the data that you want to make available to these third parties.

Set up Clever for SDS

Watch the video: Deploy School Data Sync

Deploy School Data Sync Video

Before School Data Sync can connect to your Clever instance, you must add and authorize the application integration within Clever. Then, follow these steps to complete this process.

  1. Log in to the Clever system as a District Admin at https://schools.clever.com/school.

  2. Open a new tab within the same browser.

  3. Copy and paste the following URL into the new tab:

    https://schools.clever.com/signup/microsoft-school-data-sync

  4. Authorize the Microsoft School Data Sync App:

    1. Check the I authorize Clever to share this information with Microsoft School Data Sync check box.

    2. Choose Authorize App.

      Choose Authorize App to share information with SDS
  5. Set the appropriate Data Sharing scope for your Clever instance. Available options include Share Entire District, Share by School, Share by Section, and Share by Rules.

    • Share Entire District shares the entire district and every school in it.

    • Share by School allows you to select individual schools to share and sync with School Data Sync.

    • Share by Section allows you to select individual sections to share and sync with School Data Sync.

    • Share by Rules allows you to configure custom sharing rules for selectively allowing sync on an object by object basis.

      Set data sharing scope for Clever sync

      Tip: Note: After sharing any scale of data with SDS, it will then be written into Azure AD and stored in that new target location. As a result, later restricting the sharing settings to a more restrictive data set, will not result in the removal of the original data written to Azure AD. It will only stop new data within that sharing scope from being written into Azure AD. This behavior is different than Clever integration with other applications where un-sharing results in the data no longer being present in the target application or directory. Un-sharing with Azure does not follow that same model.

  6. After you’ve selected the appropriate Data Sharing scope, check the confirmation check box listed below the option selected, and then choose Save Changes.

  7. Capture the District ID of Clever for use in the SDS Sync Profile Setup:

    1. Within your Clever instance, on the left pane, navigate to the Data > Browse to display your District within Clever.

      Browse to display your district
    2. Click your district to capture and record the District ID, which is required for the Sync Profile Setup later in this process.

Synchronize your users using the Clever Sync Import method

After you've authorized the app and enabled access to Clever, create a sync profile in Microsoft School Data Sync to synchronize your Clever information.

  1. In your web browser, go to sds.microsoft.com and then enter the global admin credentials for your Office 365 Education tenant.

  2. If it's your first time signing in and setting up a profile, choose to enable/disable SDS and Microsoft Classroom. To enable School Data Sync and proceed with the setup, toggle the School Data Sync switch to the On position.

    Screenshot of Settings in School Data Sync, to turn School Data Sync on or off.

    After you've enabled School Data Sync setup, choose Add Profile to create an SDS Sync Profile and begin syncing data from your SIS.

    Screenshot of Add Profile option in the menu of School Data Sync.
  3. Type a profile name in the Enter a name for your profile box.

    Screenshot of Enter a name for your profile, during Add Profile in School Data Sync
  4. In the Data extraction options section, select Clever API in the Select data source drop-down menu.

    Screenshot of Data extraction options, Clever API, during Add Profile in School Data Sync
  5. Choose Log into Clever to verify your district information.

  6. At the web prompt, enter your Clever District Administrator credentials.

    Enter your Clever district administrator credentials
  7. After connectivity to Clever has been verified, select either Create new users or Sync existing users .

    Screenshot of options for the profile to create and sync new uers data, or sync data for existing users, during Add Profile in School Data Sync
    • Create new users Select this option if you are not syncing identities from your on-premises Active Directory, or the users in scope for sync are not created within Azure AD already. This option will create new user accounts for the students and teachers in Clever in scope for this sync profile. The scope of users from Clever will be determined on the following page.

    • Sync existing users Select this option if you are syncing identities from your on-premises Active Directory, or the users in scope for sync are already created in Azure AD. This option will not create new user accounts for students and teachers in Clever, in scope for this sync profile. The scope of users from Clever will be determined on the following page.

  8. If you selected the Create new users option, skip this step. . If you selected the Sync existing users option, select the appropriate Identity matching options from the available drop-down menus. This is where you’ll define how to match students and teachers from Clever to the user accounts in Office 365. Watch the Identity Matching video for additional information on how to select the appropriate source, suffix, and target values, and properly configure the identity matching settings listed below.

    Identity Matching Options - Students and Teachers

    Screenshot of three settings to sync students in School Data Sync, including source property, suffix, and target property.

    Screenshot of three settings to sync teachers in School Data Sync, including source property, suffix, and target property.

    Select source property This drop-down menu allows you to select the source property from Clever, to be used for Identity Matching.

    • Secondary Email   Secondary Email attribute in Clever (ex. JohnSmith@contoso.com)

    • Student/Teacher Number   Student or Teacher Number attribute in Clever (ex. 1234567)

    • Username   Username attribute in Clever (ex. JohnSmith or JohnSmith@contoso.com)

    Select suffix This drop-down menu allows you to append a domain suffix to the source property selected. All domains added to your tenant will be listed.

    Select target property This drop-down menu allows you to select the target property within Office 365, to complete the match between source and target.

    • UserPrincipalName   Logon name of the user (ex. JohnSmith@contoso.com)

    • Mail   PrimarySmtpAddress of the user (ex. JohnSmith@contoso.com)

    • mailNickname   Exchange Alias of the user (ex. 1234567)    

  9. After the Profile Name, Data Extraction Options, and Identity Matching Options are set in place, choose Next.

  10. On the Directory Options page, select the appropriate domain for each drop-down list available. If you selected the Sync existing users option in step 7, you will only need to select the appropriate domain for Schools and Sections because all existing students and teachers already have domains associated with their respective user accounts. This domain will be used as the domain suffix for the Office 365 Group created for each section, unless policy is in place to override this domain setting.You may also assign Classroom licenses to all users within the scope of sync, by checking the Assign Microsoft Classroom licenses checkbox. If you would like to allow SDS to maintain control of the Section/Group display names in O365, do not select the Sync option for Section Group Display Name checkbox. If you prefer that SDS create the group's Display Name based on the initial SDS sync, but allow the teachers to overwrite and maintain a custom display name after the first sync completes, check the second checkbox.

    Screenshot of domain selection for the sync profile, and checkboxes to assign Microsoft Classroom licenses and Section Group Display Name in School Data Sync

    If you selected the Create new users option in step 7, you will need to select the appropriate domain for Schools and Sections, in addition to a domain for teachers, and a domain for students, as shown below. This domain will be used as the domain suffix for the user accounts created by SDS, for each student and teacher in scope for creation and sync.

    Only one domain can be entered for teachers, and one domain for students within a single sync profile. If you have objects of those types which must be spread across multiple domains, you'll have to create a separate profile for each set of users (one sync profile per domain).

    Screenshot of domain selection for schools/sections, teachers, and students in School Data Sync
  11. If you selected the Create new users option in step 7, you also must select the appropriate SKU to assign to each of the newly created Teachers and Students using the drop-down menus shown below. Each available SKU in your Office 365 tenant will be present in the list. You can also choose to license each of these users for Classroom, by checking the checkbox shown below. After you've completed this section of the setup wizard, choose Next.

    Screenshot of SKU and license selection for new users in School Data Sync
  12. In the Select schools to Sync page, select the schools from your Clever Instance you want to sync under this profile.

  13. Under the Select properties to sync section, select any optional attributes you would like to sync for each of the various object types. The required attributes are already selected by default under each object type. After you’ve added in any optional attribute you want to sync to Azure, choose Next.

    Screenshot of categories of properties to sync in the School Data Sync profile
  14. On the Summary page, choose Submit to create the profile.

    The sync process does some data validation before creating the profile. If there are any errors, you'll have to correct them and then wait for the next sync cycle. Sync cycles run every 10 minutes.

  15. After the sync profile is created, select the Start Sync option to begin syncing the Clever source data to Azure AD.

    Screenshot of completed profile options on dashboard of School Data Sync, including option to Start Sync

After all user identities have been synced successfully for the profile, Profile Status changes to Success. If you need to create more profiles, for example, if you have users set up with different domains, repeat these steps for each profile.

Video: How to match source and target attributes for sync

For various examples of matching logic success and failure for sync, watch the Identity Matching video:

Identity Matric Matching video

Switching between sync methods

While you can successfully migrate from one sync method to another, we recommend maintaining the sync method initially deployed indefinitely, due to the difficulty associated with maintaining source anchor values through the switch between sync methods. A source anchor is the attribute SDS uses to identify a synced object in both the source and target directory after the initial sync. This source anchor must always be unique, and must never be changed throughout the lifetime of the synced object.

When an organization enables sync, there are 5 objects types that synchronize through School Data Sync. SDS synchronizes Schools, Sections, Students, Teachers, and Rosters. Once an object is successfully synchronized, SDS must keep the object in sync, to continue to synchronize object attribute level updates from the source directory (CSV, Clever, or PowerSchool) to the target directory (Azure AD). The objects types and their corresponding source anchor attributes are detailed below:

Object Type

Source Anchor Attribute (PowerSchool)

Source Anchor Attribute (Clever)

Source Anchor Attribute (CSV)

School

SIS ID

Clever ID

SIS ID

Section

SIS ID

Clever ID

SIS ID

Teacher

SIS ID

Clever ID

SIS ID

Student

SIS ID

Clever ID

SIS ID

Roster

SIS ID (Section) and SIS ID (User)

Clever ID (Section) and Clever ID (User)

Section SIS ID and SIS ID (User)

Once the source anchor is established upon the initial sync, nly certain objects can update their source anchor, while others cannot be changed. This concept is critical if you are considering switching between sync methods.


When transitioning from one SDS sync method to another, the source anchor values for Schools and Sections must always be persisted, to continue to sync each object under the new sync method. Any deviation or change from the original source anchor value will result in objects failing to sync. If the source anchor attribute values are not identical through the switch, the only way to transition from one sync method to the other is to delete the object in Azure AD and then recreate it under the new sync profile, using the new sync method.


When transitioning from one SDS sync method to another, the source anchor values for Students and Teachers can be updated during the switch, on if the user objects is not created through SDS sync, and maintains the identity matching values associated with the previous sync method. For example, if the original sync profile matched the identity for student using the username = userprincipalname matching logic, this same matching logic must be included under the new sync profile and result in an identity match under the new sync profile. Any deviation from the original identity matching logic may result in the sync failure and subsequent failure to update the source anchor value for that respective object.


Finally, when transitioning across sync methods when the new sync method is a CSV file, you must also update the student and teacher SIS ID values in the studentenrollment.csv and teacherroster.csv to reflect the correct SIS ID values of those respective object, if they have changed from the original Sis ID/Clever ID value set under the previous sync profile

See Also

Overview of School Data Sync and Classroom

Install the School Data Sync Toolkit

CSV files for School Data Sync

How to deploy School Data Sync by using CSV files

How to deploy School Data Sync by using PowerSchool Sync

How to deploy School Data Sync by using OneRoster CSV files

School Data Sync errors and troubleshooting

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