Secondary Onboarding Week by Week Guide for Moving to Arbor

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.

Weeks 1 and 2 (Discover)

Week 1 - Project Kick Off

Timeline_Graphics__1_.pngTo begin your implementation you will have a kick-off call to introduce you to your Project Manager. This will be a quick 15/20 minute call, so we can say hello, confirm a few key project dates, and book your in-depth Project Discovery Meeting.

Following the kick-off call, your Project Manager will send you an email containing confirmation of the key project dates, as well as access to your Implementation Workbook, which is a shared document to help us keep track of the project.

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

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

Actions for week 1

  • Meet your Project Manager on your kick-off call, and book your in-depth Discovery Meeting with them
  • Upload your first dummy data backup from your current MIS as soon as you can - this will give you as much time as possible with access to your Arbor dummy data site
  • Assign roles and responsibilities within your school team and start thinking about who will be your Arbor Champions!
  • Fill in the ‘Roles & Responsibilities’ and ‘Third Party Applications' tabs 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 in week 2 during the Discovery Meeting.

Week 2 - Project Discovery


In week 2 you will have your Discovery Meeting. This meeting is a great opportunity for your Project Manager to gather information about your school so they are able to better understand the vision/goals and scope of the project.

On your Discovery Meeting, your Project Manager will also review the implementation plan with you so you're aware of key dates, and you'll also discuss the training you have purchased and when is best to book this training in line with your goals.

During the meeting, you will also arrange a convenient date and time for regular Progress Meetings with your Project Manager.

Following on from the Discovery Meeting, your Project Manager will send you your Shared Success Plan which you should review and sign off on to confirm the scope of your project.

Actions for week 2

  • Attend your Discovery Meeting to set your Project Objectives, and develop your Shared Success Plan with your Project Manager
  • Access the Arbor Training Hub and start to think about booking training - we have put together this guide with recommendations on when to complete your training
  • 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.

Weeks 3 to 8 (Plan)

Week 3


By week 3 you should have access to your first dummy data site. Your Project Manager will provide you with the URL so you can log in and see what your new system will look like!

Now that the implementation is well underway, you will have your first progress meeting with your Project Manager. During the progress meeting, you’ll discuss data checking in your Arbor dummy data site, and data cleansing activities you can complete in your current MIS ahead of the next dummy migration.

You’ll also check in 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
  • Start your Data Checks/Counts in your Arbor Dummy Site using the guide in the implementation workbook. This gives you the opportunity to confirm you’re happy with how the data has migrated across to Arbor before your final migration
  • Ensure all training attendees know when the sessions are and how to access them
  • Confirm that you are happy with how business roles and permissions have migrated for staff members  

Top tip for week 3

Make sure that users do not send comms from the Arbor dummy site as these will go out to real (and confused) parents/guardians. If you are worried about users doing this you can restrict sending permissions.

Week 4


Now that you’re 4 weeks into the implementation, you will be working through the data cleansing and data checklists in your workbook to ensure you’re happy with how the data migrates from your previous MIS. Some of the differences that you spot can be resolved by cleaning up the data in your current system ready to check again when your next dummy data migration happens.

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.

You will have another progress meeting with your Project Manager this week, to check in and make sure everything is on track!

Actions for week 4

  • Attend your progress meeting, to catch up with your Project Manager, review the implementation plan/timeline and ensure everything is on track
  • Continue with your data checking in your Arbor Dummy Site, and continue data cleansing in your previous MIS to ensure the data comes across even tidier on the next dummy migration
  • 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


In week 5 you will complete your data cleansing and checking and will be ready to send a second dummy data backup.

Once you’re happy that you have completed all the required data checks and cleansing activities, you should take a second backup of your current MIS and upload that to us so we can complete your second dummy data migration.

You’ll have a progress meeting with your Project 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 Project Manager
  • Complete the first phase of data cleansing and checking
  • Take and upload a second dummy data backup
  • Make sure staff are getting the most out of their training sessions and share any recordings of the sessions with those who may have missed them 

Top tip for week 5

Ensure you are familiar with our data checking guide, and that you have completed all our recommended checks ahead of sending us your 2nd dummy data backup

Week 6 


You are more than halfway towards Go Live! Your second data backup will be loaded into your Arbor dummy site ready for you to view the results of your data cleansing and check any issues that have now been resolved.

Actions for week 6

  • Attend your progress meeting
  • Login to your 2nd dummy data site, and start to check how the updated data looks
  • Ensure you check roles and permissions in the 2nd dummy site, as we recommend getting all staff to log into the 2nd dummy data site at least once ahead of your Go Live
  • 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


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 Project 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 Project 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 week7

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


Now you are only a couple of weeks from going live with Arbor, you should be feeling more confident with the data in your Arbor Dummy site and have almost finished your data checks. 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

  • Attend your progress call with Arbor Project Manager
  • Test out setting up your priority operations in your second dummy data site (for example, if you want to use Behaviour or Assessments from Go Live, really utilise the dummy site to set up and test out these areas)
  • Continue/complete any outstanding pre-launch 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.


Weeks 9 to 12 (Deploy)

Week 9


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

Either this week or next week (week 10), you will have a readiness for Go Live review with your Project 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.

Actions for week 9

  • Progress Call or Readiness for Go Live Review with your Project Manager
  • Finish checking data in the second dummy site
  • Make sure plans are in place for your go-live and everyone is aware of the rollout plan, priority modules, and operations  

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


It’s almost time to go live with Arbor! You will do your final data checks and counts (you should be a pro at this by now!) and get ready to send us your final data backup.

If you didn’t have your Readiness for Go Live Review last week with your Project Manager, you’ll have that this week, to make sure everything is in place and on track for your Go Live!

At the end of 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 Project 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

  • Complete your data checks in dummy site 2
  • Complete data counts in your Implementation Workbook from your current MIS for the final time to compare to Arbor once you are live
  • 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 setting up and required priority operations 

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!


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, configuring your priority modules (behaviour, assessments, parent portal), 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!
  • If you’d like to, book a Progress Meeting with your Project Manager to check in with you regarding your Go Live
  • Start to configure any priority modules, such as Behaviour Workflows, Assessments or the Parent Portal
  • Make sure all third-party integrations are functioning as expected 

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 


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

We ask that in week 12, you sign off your Arbor Data Migration Report to confirm that you are happy with the data we have migrated from your previous MIS and there are no issues with the data.

You should also check in with your Arbor Champions to ensure that the wider team is feeling comfortable using their new MIS.

Actions for week 12

  • Attend a Progress Call with your Project Manager if you did not have one last week
  • 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!
  • Continue to configure the different areas of your Arbor MIS
  • Continue your post-launch training
  • Sign off your Data Migration Report

Top tip for week 12

Before signing off your data migration report, ensure you have reviewed this data-checking article and are happy that all of your data has migrated from your previous MIS correctly. But don't worry, if you do notice any discrepancies after signing off the report, we will still look into them for you!

Weeks 13 to 16 (Embed)

Week 13


By week 13 staff should be building up confidence in using the new MIS, now that they have been using the system for a few weeks.

You may still be in the process of setting up and configuring your Arbor system and priority modules (such as Assessments), so remember you can always get in touch with our support team via the live chat button in the MIS!

Actions for week 13

  • Continue to set up additional modules e.g. Assessments, Behaviour, Parent Portal
  • Continue your post-launch training sessions
  • Continue to check in with your Arbor Champions, and keep your Project Manager in the loop with any feedback  

Top tip for week 13

Remember that all of your training session recordings and resources are available to re-watch and share with the wider team in the Arbor Training Hub

Week 14


In week 14 you might want to review how the system is being used and make sure the workflows for staff members are optimised - you’ll have a Progress Call with your Project Manager this week, so it will be a good opportunity to discuss this and check in against your project goals/vision to make sure you’re on track to achieve them.

Actions for week 14

  • Check that processes are working as expected for each team
  • Check in with your Project Manager about your project goals and objectives - are you on track? Is there anything you can do to ensure you meet your project objectives?
  • Continue post-launch training 

Top tip for week 14

Ask ‘Why do we do it that way? Is there a better way?’. Moving to a new system is a great opportunity to evaluate your current processes and find better ways to work. Now is a good time to challenge your teams!

Week 15


In week 15 you should have set up most of your priority modules and have a clear plan for any additional modules setup you would like to complete.

Now that we’re almost at the end of the implementation, you should start to think about the progress you’ve made so far throughout the project - are you making good progress toward your objectives? What has gone well so far? Are there things we could do better? Next week, you will go through these on your project review with your Project Manager!

Actions for week 15

  • Book any outstanding training
  • Finishing setting up your required priority modules, and ensure you have a plan for setting up the rest of the system if required
  • Think about how the project has gone so far, and what your next steps will be
  • Make arrangements for your Project Review and handover meeting next week 

Top tip for week 15

Now that you are getting used to the system, we would love to hear your feedback! See the different ways you can submit your feedback here.

Week 16 - Project Review


Your final project review will take place this week, where you will meet your Account Manager who will work with you after implementation.

During this meeting, we will discuss the key modules you’re using in Arbor and what modules you plan to roll out next. If you have any outstanding training, we can plan on how to use this in the future. We’ll also discuss the key successes and challenges during the implementation.

Actions for week 16

  • Attend your final project review with your Project Manager and meet your Account Manager
  • Move from Implementation to Account Management

Top tip for week 16

We want to give schools the best implementation experience possible, so would love any feedback you have - we will send you a survey so you can let us know how you found your onboarding journey.

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