Secondary Week by Week Onboarding Guide

Welcome to Arbor!

Congratulations on choosing Arbor as your new MIS. We're excited to get started and we hope you are too.

You've joined a community of over 3000 schools, 100,000 school users, and 76,829 students and parents who use Arbor to work more collaboratively, reduce busywork, and drive their schools forward.

This week-by-week guide will give you an overview of the implementation process, and more information about what to expect at each stage.


Getting Started

You’ll receive an email from your Customer Onboarding Manager just before you're due to get started with Arbor. We’ll provide you with some helpful information, links to book your meeting for week 1, and your implementation workbook link. We’ll go through how to use your Implementation Workbook during your Kick-Off, so you’ll just need to save the workbook link somewhere safe. 

Week 1 - Kick Off

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To begin your implementation you will have a Kick-Off meeting webinar with one of our Customer Onboarding Managers. This will last an hour and we’ll cover some important aspects of your onboarding such as your project team, the onboarding process, support and training. Details regarding how and where to book will be sent out before Kick Off week as part of a series of 'Welcome to Arbor' emails and will be shared by your Customer Onboarding Manager on week 1 of your Onboarding.

To enable you to see how your data will look on Arbor as soon as possible, we complete one "Dummy Data Migration" in addition to your final Data Migration, and we ask that you submit your first data backup on week 3 of your onboarding journey after cleansing the data in your previous MIS. 

Click here to see the process for how to migrate your data.

Actions for week 1

  • Book and complete your kick-off meeting with your Customer Onboarding Manager

  • Start cleansing the data in your current MIS using the relevant tab in your Implementation Workbook
  • Assign roles and responsibilities within your school team and start thinking about who will be your Arbor Champions! Ensure these are submitted via post kick off call survey to receive a Welcome to Arbor Training Hub.
  • Look out for an email about how to log in to the Arbor Training Hub, once received, please ensure key staff can all log-in
  • Fill in the ‘Third Party Applications' tab in your Implementation Workbook

Top tip for week 1

Get to grips with your Implementation Workbook this week - look through each tab and familiarise yourself with the content. We will go through this in more detail during your kick-off meeting.


Week 2 - Data Cleansing

Screenshot 2023-10-24 at 13.50.09.pngIn week 2, your priority should be to complete all data cleansing tasks in your current MIS. 

Data cleansing is the process of amending the data in your previous system so that when a migration takes place it transfers to the correct container. All tasks
 must be completed to reduce the risk of outdated, incorrect data migrating from your current MIS and negatively impacting your Go Live.

Alongside data cleansing, you should ensure all staff have logged in for the Arbor Training Hub, have joined the learning group relevant to their role, and have booked all of their foundation webinar sessions for before you go live.

Actions for week 2

  • Complete all data cleansing in your current MIS using the relevant tab in your Implementation Workbook
  • Weekend Migrations only: Discuss how you will manage cutover as a school, who will be responsible for entering this data following the live migrations, use the onboarding checklist in your workbook to assign and share this plan
  • Ensure all key staff members have registered for the Arbor Training Hub and have booked all live sessions for their learning group
  • Make a plan with your Arbor Champions for a smooth change management process
  • Notify any Third Party Applications of your move to Arbor 

Top tip for week 2

The sooner you can let your whole school team know you’re moving to Arbor, the better! Take a look at our Change Management guide for some tips on how to get staff on board with the changes ahead.

Having an open forum for people to ask questions and understand more about why you decided to move can help with the change, and ensure people know what their role will be in making Arbor a success at your school and what their roles and responsibilities will be in the coming weeks.

Week 3 - Send us your Dummy Data

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By week 3 you should have completed your data cleansing tasks in your previous MIS so you can send us a backup of your current MIS that we will migrate to Arbor to create a dummy site for you to log into and check. Please see our instructions on how to migrate your data here.

Once the data has migrated, your Customer Onboarding Manager will release this site to you and provide instructions on how to log in. They will also have completed some basic site checks so please look out for any advice included in the email.

You’ll also need to check in with your school team regarding training, Arbor Champion engagement, and how you’re getting on with contacting any Third Party Applications.

Actions for week 3

  • Get your team excited about the move by sharing online training resources and videos and ensuring any relevant Arbor Champions have access to the Arbor Training Hub
  • Send Arbor a backup of your current MIS so we can provide you with a dummy site
  • Ensure all training attendees have booked the sessions relevant to their learning group

Top tip for week 3

If not done already, please ensure you sign off your data cleansing form to allow us to start migrating and release your Arbor dummy site! The link to do this can be found on your week 3 email

Week 4

Screenshot 2023-10-24 at 13.50.09.pngNow that you’re 4 weeks into the implementation, you will have sent us a backup of your previous MIS so we can migrate this to Arbor and release your dummy site to you. Once received, you should get started on the data checks in your implementation workbook straight away to ensure the data transferred to Arbor matches what is displayed in your previous MIS. If you encounter any data migration issue you should raise these with the Arbor Support Team or your accredited support partner ASAP.

You will also be making good progress with your training by week 4, and it’s always good to keep checking in with your Arbor Champions to ensure they are happy with the implementation plan.

Actions for week 4

  • Start data checking in your Arbor Dummy Site to ensure the data matches up to your previous MIS
  • Continue to contact any Third Party Applications and let them know you’re changing MIS
  • Continue your training

Top tip for week 4

Getting your Arbor Champions involved in the data-checking process will not only make the checks more thorough but will also help staff get used to navigating their areas of the new system.

Week 5

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In week 5 you will continue checking your data raising any migration queries with the Support Team/your Support Partner. You should also be ensuring that staff are attending relevant foundation training sessions for their role in preparation for go live.

You’ll have a progress meeting with your Customer Onboarding Manager and should continue to keep your internal teams and Arbor Champions up to date about the move to Arbor.

Actions for week 5

  • Attend a progress meeting with your Customer Onboarding Manager
  • Complete data checking
  • Raise any data migration queries with the Support Team/your Support Partner
  • Make sure staff are getting the most out of their training sessions and share any recordings of the sessions with anyone else who may find the content valuable

Top tip for week 5

Ensure you are familiar with our data checking guide, and that you have completed all our recommended checks ahead.

Week 6 

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You are more than halfway towards Go Live! You should be most of the way through your data checks and should raise any outstanding data migration issues with the Arbor Support Team or your accredited support partner.

Actions for week 6

  • Finish cleansing your data and raise your last data migration queries with the Arbor Support Team or your accredited support partner
  • Ensure you check roles and permissions in your dummy site, ahead of all staff accessing the site
  • Continue your training to ensure you’re confident with how Arbor works ahead of your Go Live

Top tip for week 6

Maintain strong internal communication with Arbor Champions and other users of the MIS to ensure they are ready for the change and have the opportunity to feedback, or ask any questions

Week 7

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In week 7, you may want to provide access to the system to your wider staff team. It’s a good idea for staff to work through their current workflows in Arbor, to make sure they can access everything required for their role at Go Live, and so that they can get to know how Arbor works and put their training into practice!

Keep checking in with your Arbor Champions, and keep your Customer Onboarding Manager up to date with how you’re getting on with data checking/cleansing, training, and contacting 3rd parties.

Actions for week 7

  • Attend progress meeting with your Customer Onboarding Manager
  • Continue training sessions
  • Continue your data checks in Arbor, and data cleansing in your current MIS
  • Ensure Arbor Champions are engaging with training, and advocating Arbor to colleagues

Top tip for week 7

Check out our Top Things to Consider Before Go Live, for things to look out for on your second dummy site and common queries that schools have when using Arbor for the first time.

Week 8

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Now you are only a couple of weeks from going live with Arbor, you must sign off you data migration report to say you are happy with how your data will migrate to Arbor. This has to be done to allow us to start the data migration in week 10. Your project team should all be aware of the rollout plan for Go Live, completing training, and confident/ready to set up priority modules.

Ensure you’re checking in with Arbor Champions this week to confirm everything is on track.

Actions for week 8

  • Continue/complete any outstanding foundation training sessions
  • Make sure all third parties are ready to connect to Arbor once you are live in a few weeks time

Top tips for week 8

Make sure each team knows how they are going to configure their area of the system by running through our “8 Ways to Customise Your New Arbor MIS” here.

Week 9

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Make sure you have completed your data checks and counts and make any final tweaks to your existing data so it is in perfect condition ready for your move to Arbor!

This week, you will have a readiness for Go Live review with your Customer Onboarding Manager. This is a great opportunity to run through the Go Live plan, making sure you and your team are feeling confident with the plan and any setup requirements for your Go Live.

School staff will also finish off any outstanding training using the Arbor Training Hub.

Actions for week 9

  • Finish any outstanding training using the Arbor Training Hub
  • Readiness for Go Live Review with your Customer Onboarding Manager
  • Make sure plans are in place for your go-live and everyone is aware of the rollout plan

Top tip for week 9

Time for a dress rehearsal! Duplicate some data entry and workflows (e.g. taking a register, amending student details) in both your existing system and Arbor to get used to using the new system and plan any process changes.

Week 10 - Final Backup

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It’s almost time to go live with Arbor! 

On the day agreed with your Customer Onboarding Manager in week 10, you will upload your final data backup to us, and we will migrate this data into your new Arbor site.

Once the final migration is complete, your Customer Onboarding Manager will be in touch via email with instructions on how to log in, and then you can put all of your hard work into practice and set up your new Arbor system ready to hit the ground running on your Go Live day.

Actions for week 10

  • Ensure the wider team is aware of final backup date and Go Live
  • Ensure all training is complete and Arbor Champions are prepared for Go Live
  • Take final backup from your current MIS and upload that to Arbor via your Secure Upload Portal on your agreed migration date
  • Sit back and wait for Arbor to complete your final migration!
  • Once your final migration is complete, you can start checks and set up ready for day 1
  • Weekend Migrations only: Watch the videos in the Cutover Period - Weekend Migrations course on the Arbor Training Hub; download paper registers; ensure you have a plan for logging Behaviour; make sure staff are aware SIMS will be read-only during cutover week; create a log to manage staff absence and cover; consider advising guardians about the change in MIS - Please see your workbook for further details

Top tip for week 10

Anything entered into your current MIS after you take your final backup will not migrate to Arbor. You should communicate this to your team to avoid any surprises!

Week 11 - Go Live Week!

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The start of week 11 is your official Go Live day, and the first day you’ll use Arbor to take attendance.
Now you have your live MIS, you should stop using your previous MIS and start work on configuring your Arbor system to suit your needs.

This includes connecting any Third Party Applications, and starting your final round of data checks/cleansing to ensure you’re happy with the data that is in your live Arbor system.

Actions for week 11

  • Take attendance on your shiny new Arbor MIS!
  • Make sure all third-party integrations are functioning as expected 
  • Weekend Migrations only: Add your attendance data into Arbor for Friday and Monday; Add your Behaviour Incidents into Arbor for Friday and Monday; Add any Record Changes into Arbor for Friday and Monday

Top tip for week 11

Some schools like to print out a “how to take a register in Arbor” guide to prepare teachers for their first day of using Arbor.

Week 12 

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In week 12 you will continue configuring the system to your requirements, continue data checks in Arbor, and also continue with any outstanding training.

You should also check in with your Arbor Champions to ensure that the wider team is feeling comfortable using their new MIS. As this is the last week of your onboarding, you'll also have a "Handover to Account Management" call to signify the end of your time with your Customer Onboarding Manager and introduce you to your Account Manager.

Actions for week 12

  • Attend your "Handover to Account Management call with your Customer Onboarding Manager
  • Check in with staff to ensure they are confident using their area of Arbor - they can use our help centre and contact support if they get stuck!


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