Set up a direct sync via SFTP

For administrators with a Remind plan.

Direct sync via SFTP is a simple, powerful option for rostering your school or district. By automatically creating accounts and classes with data from your SIS (student information system), you can expand reach and drive adoption across your entire community. 

Before you begin:

  1. You are a district administrator. Here are directions on how to add administrators if you want to create an account for the right person. If you don't have access to your district's dashboard, contact support
  2. Your organization has the ability to set up a recurring SFTP transfer from your SIS or other data source to Remind

This resource covers the following topics:

Setting up a direct sync

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Step 1: Export CSVs

The first step to setting up your direct sync is determining which CSVs need to be exported from your SIS. Your CSVs should include only the data required to create the accounts and classes you need.

Data can be exported directly from your SIS or through a SQL query. If you’re unable to produce the required CSVs, please contact your SIS directly; Remind is unable to troubleshoot data exporting from your SIS and SQL for direct syncs at this time. 

Step 2: Format CSVs

Direct sync can contain up to six CSV files. Be sure to include all required fields in your CSVs. Your files should always include a full snapshot of active school data; Remind will handle necessary additions, deletions, and updates for recurring syncs that sync to Remind at least once every 90 days.

Please review the following guidelines before exporting your CSV files:

  • Header rows are required and must match the formatting requirements exactly.
  • An account will be created for every parent/guardian contact included in your files. We strongly recommend excluding any emergency contacts as well as any individuals prohibited from contacting students.
  • Remind classes will be created for every section included in your files. We strongly recommend excluding any sections that should not be created in Remind.
  • As a CSV file, fields like IDs and names should not incorporate commas ",".  

How to format CSVs for direct sync:

Step 3: Transfer CSVs to Remind

Once your CSV files are prepared, it's time to transfer your data to Remind via SFTP. You can set up an automatically recurring sync, or transfer your data manually whenever you need to update roster information in Remind. All required CSV files must be transferred at the same time.

For static syncs, we recommend using an FTP client like Cyberduck to transfer CSV files to Remind at least once every 90 days. See this walkthrough on How to direct sync with Cyberduck here.

First, you will need to receive your SFTP credentials. Go to your district administrator SIS sync report and select sync directly with Remind.

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Next, click on Set up direct sync in the top right corner:

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You can choose whether to transfer data directly from your SIS, or by uploading files using an FTP client. You’ll need the information from your sync details in your administrator Remind account to complete the direct sync upload. 

  • Upload URL*
  • Port #
  • Username and password credentials

*Upload URL can be found in your FTP client under different terminology (i.e. Host)

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Remind can receive your transferred files at any time. If you would like to set up a recurring SFTP sync, we recommend scheduling your data transfer between 7pm and 10pm PST.

Data can be uploaded to Remind a maximum of once per day. Files cannot be sent in a zip folder. 

Step 4: Match your schools

After your transfer your data to Remind, you’ll receive a confirmation email with details of your sync and next steps. The initial upload can take several hours to process. Follow the instructions provided to match your schools in Remind to your schools from your CSV files. If you’d prefer not to roster a school with direct sync, deselect the school.

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Make sure that Remind schools match the corresponding SFTP schools. Review the list and correct any discrepancies. Initial syncs can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours. For subsequent syncs, processing time should not exceed 8 hours.

Classes will remain in a pending state until the teacher logs into Remind and claims their account. As classes become live in Remind, administrators will be able see those classes from the 'Classes' tab in their admin dashboard. Please note that teachers who are already active Remind users will gain access to their rostered classes immediately.

Once the initial sync is complete, you’ll receive a confirmation email with details of your sync and next steps. Please note the first direct sync can take several hours to process. 

Step 5: Send teacher, student and parent notifications 

After the direct sync is complete, you’ll need to notify teachers, students, and parents about their new accounts. Any district or school administrator can manually trigger notifications from each school’s SIS sync report. You can learn more about the first teacher, student and parent notifications here.

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Step 6: Update your CSV files at least once every 90 days

In order to automate the removal of users and classes in Remind (based on changes that happen in your SIS), you must upload your CSV files at least once every 90 days.

When new classes or accounts are added or removed from your SIS, these updates will be automatically reflected in Remind. User actions in Remind (like changing the name of a class) will not be affected by these syncs. 

Once a Remind account has been created, email addresses and phone numbers can no longer be updated. Instead, users can update their contact information directly in Remind.

Troubleshooting a direct sync

To ensure accurate data is transferred via SFTP, Remind has several safeguards in place. Reference the articles below for information on addressing CSV file format errors, sync holds and errors/alerts.

  • CSV file format errors: If your files have format issues, your sync will not proceed. You will be notified via email if your files have any format errors. Learn more about CSV file format errors.
  • Sync holds: A school's sync will be placed on hold if Remind suspects a data configuration issue in your files. You will be notified via email when a sync is placed on hold. Learn more about sync holds.
  • Sync errors and alerts: Errors are issues in your SIS that prevent teacher or student accounts from being created. It's critical that you address these as soon as possible. Alerts are minor data errors in your SIS that, if fixed, would make Remind more useful and productive to use for your school community. Learn more about sync errors & alerts.