Where is my information stored?
All the information you enter is stored on the Charms database in our secure data center. Nothing is kept on your computer. There are no files to swap between home and office, and your information is always available. Our database is stored in a separate location from the website and is protected by a firewall. Only an authorized user can gain access to your student records.
How do I "save" my information?
You never have to remember to save your data with Charms. Since the data is stored on our computers, every time you add or update a record the information is automatically saved. You never have to worry about your computer being wiped clean over the summer or replaced with a newer model.
How does Charms work with District Internet Filters?
Charms has been tested with many school districts and has proven to work with all filters, firewalls and proxies such as Bess.
Can I upload my existing computer files?
Charms provides many Excel based import wizards which you can use to import your existing data without a charge from us. For a modest service charge we can convert and upload your existing Excel, Access, WinBand, Music Manager, RCI or FileMaker Pro files to the Charms system. Please contact us for more information.
How do I start accepting online credit card payments?
It's easy! All you need to do is open a merchant account with one of our four credit card providers: Affinipay, School Pay, RevTrak or PayPal, and let us know when you're up and running.
What fees do card processors charge and how do I handle them?
Affinipay charges you 1.9% plus 20 cents for each transaction. PayPal, School Pay and RevTrak charges you 2.9% plus 30 cents for each transaction processed. There are several options to handle the fees:
1) Add a flat percentage to all your prices
2) Ask Parents who use the On-Line payment to pay an additional convenience fee
3) Add 1.5% to all your prices so the extra money collected will cover the fees for those that use it
4) Build in a handling charge to every payment through Charms.
Can't I write my own database?
Of course! Database programs such as FileMaker Pro, Access and Panorama are readily available for purchase. Any of these programs can store data. Even a file box with index cards can work. With FileMaker Pro or other off-the-shelf software you need to spend time to configure the files, learn the program, and write all the scripts.
Would you rather learn to program a database or work with your group? Charms is ready to work from the first day you sign up, and is continually being improved. Plus, when you use Charms, tech support and training is only an e-mail or click away.
What happens at the end of the school year?
The information in the Charms database transfers from grade to grade, and from school to school. If your entire cluster is on the Charms system, the student information need only be entered once when they start in 6th grade! Student and parent information can be transferred to any school within your district, as long as that school uses Charms.
Is my information private?
Absolutely! Only you and your authorized assistants have access to your student and program records. Your username and password are unique, and unless you give them out to someone no one can see your data. The Charms system also has an automatic log out feature, which will disconnect you if you forget to log out.
Charms runs on a secure server (notice the https) with Starfield 256 Bit Encryption.
Do you share or sell student information?
No! At Charms we try to ensure our users have the upmost privacy with their personal information
Can parents help enter information?
Charms provides a way for you to create \"helper\" accounts with access only to the areas you specify. For example, if you want to have a parent help with the library, you can grant library-only access to that parent. We offer \"helper\" accounts for uniforms, library, finances, budget, inventory, calendar maintenance, email only, collect forms, and lots more.
Also, if you allow it, parents can maintain and enter their own child's demographic information in the Charms Parent's Area. All you need to enter is their ID number and name!
Can you help me with my bookkeeping?
No. We are not certified accountants and cannot offer accounting advice such as setting up your budgets, or handling transactions. We can only provide the software tools to help you enter transactions.
Nor are we forensic bookkeepers - please do not ask us to spend hours trying to locate an item in your books. We are happy to identify and fix software bugs, but we are not able to teach you how to keep financial records or undo your mistakes.
What if I need a custom report or special field?
Since the Charms system is being used by teachers across the country, chances are that someone else might have your same need. We always welcome suggestions for improvement, and depending on the complexity of the request, might be able to implement your suggestion quickly. For a modest service charge, we can create custom reports, available to you alone.
How fast can I get help?
With our Mr. Blinky Live Chat Support system, help is one click away! If a technician is available, you will be able to ask your question in real time, and get an answer right away. When Mr. Blinky is not available, you can email our support desk. We try to respond within 24 hours. We realize that you are working and need an answer fast. Read our testimonials to see how seriously we take user tech support.
Can I get my information once it has been entered?
Yes! All of the Charms reports are designed to be printed directly from your browser any time. You can Download 6 files directly into Excel: students, library, inventory, uniforms, activity fund, booster club.
Many of our reports are also configured for quick download into Excel!
What is your database and web connection?
Charms is powered by mySQL, the leading open source database in the world. We run on Windows 2012 Enterprise servers with redundant hard drives for hardware security. Our server is hosted in a secure data center away from our offices and features 4 redundant top speed internet lines - 2 GigE and 2 100mbs! We run complete data backups every night and store them off-site. We archive our backups for a full year in case you need older information.
What kind of computer do I need?
Charms is designed to work on any PC or Macintosh computer that has access to the Internet. The only requirement is that your Internet browser be at least Internet Explorer version 7.0 or newer, Google Chrome, Firefox, or Macintosh OSX. All browsers are available for a free download from various sources.
To use our recording studio you need to have the latest version of Java installed.
How do I use barcodes with Charms?
To enable barcoding with Charms you will need to download and install the free CharmsBarcode font. Then, you will need to purchase a simple barcode scanner, either from us or any office supply store. Most scanners require no configuration to operate. Simply print the barcodes to paper, labels, or iron-on fabric and scan away! We also provide indelible uniform labels and super-sticky inventory labels with your information.
How do I put barcodes in my uniforms?
We provide professional care labels, with your information and barcodes on each label for a token charge per label. These labels are designed to be ironed or sewn in to each garment and are guaranteed not to wash or dry clean out. Please contact us for a quote on the cost and a sample of these labels.
How do I put barcodes on my inventory?
We provide small labels (1.5\" x .5\"), with a barcode and a very brief description on each label for a token charge per label. These self-stick labels are very durable and should last. Please contact us for a quote on the cost and a sample of these labels.
What different sizes of mailing labels are available?
Charms can print labels directly from the web browser as a PDF file to Avery 5160 and Avery 5163 for student information, and Avery 5162 or 5163 for library information.
You can also print to any size label by using our label export feature for mail merge to Word. We provide detailed, step-by-step instructions for both methods in our Help section.
Do I need a high speed internet connection?
No. We designed Charms to be light on graphics for faster downloads. Charms will work on a standard telephone modem connection. Of course the faster your connection, the faster you and your students will be able to enter and retrieve your information.