Overview of School Data Sync

School Data Sync

School Data Sync (SDS) is a free service in Office 365 for Education that reads the school and roster data from a school's Student Information System (SIS). It creates Office 365 Groups for Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, class teams for Microsoft Teams and OneNote Class notebooks, school groups for Intune for Education, and rostering and SSO integration for many other third party applications.

SDS helps to automate the process of importing and synchronizing Student Information System (SIS) data with Office 365. The tool also gives application developers a single cloud API to use for creating applications that integrate with multiple SIS providers, along with single sign-on (SSO) capabilities. App developers can use the API to access section, student, teacher, school, and class roster information to personalize experiences for teachers and students who use their apps.

To access SDS, simply log in to sds.microsoft.com, or open SDS from the Office 365 Admin Center. Microsoft provides free, one-on-one support to deploy SDS. Sign up for free deployment support today.

To learn more about SDS, please visit https://sds.microsoft.com.

Choose a deployment method

There are several methods available for syncing SIS information with Office 365: Using comma separated value (CSV) files in the SDS format, in the Clever format or OneRoster CSV files, OR using an API such as PowerSchool or OneRoster. The table below shows the core SDS provisioning and insights capabilities that light up when using the various ingestion methods.

capabilities and deployment methods chart.

Regardless of the method you choose, the same requirements apply.

SDS requirements

  1. An Office 365 Education tenant
  2. Global Administrator Permissions

Deployment methods using CSV Files

The CSV method requires the creation and/or export of data from the SIS into one of the supported CSV formats listed below.

Deploy SDS using SDS format CSV files

SDS CSV V2.1 file format

Using this method, you will export or create CSV files for SDS from your SIS data, set up a synchronization profile, and upload the CSVs into SDS for processing. The reasons you might want to use the SDS CSV V2.1 file format are as follows:

The new V2.1 CSV format supports:

  • Updates to users.csv - includes all users synced, including guardian users

  • Adds roles.csv - includes users roles for students and staff organizational relationships, and enables you to define the teaching or learning level for each user. Also supports multiple org and/or role relationships for a user.

  • And more...

  • Learn more about SDS V2.1 CSV files, additional data that can be included and how it can enhance more experiences.

SDS CSV V1 file format

You can use SDS formatted CSV files to help import SIS data into Office 365. Using this method, you'll export or create SDS format CSV files for SDS based on your SIS data, set up a synchronization profile, and upload the CSV files into SDS for processing.

How to deploy SDS by using SDS format CSV files

Deploy SDS using Clever format CSV files

Clever is an identity management and rostering solution. SDS allows you to use CSV files in the Clever format to import and synchronize SIS data with Office 365. Using this method, you'll export or create Clever Format CSV files for School Data Sync based on your SIS data, set up a synchronization profile, and upload the CSV files into SDS for processing.

How to deploy SDS using Clever format CSV files

Deploy SDS using OneRoster format CSV files

OneRoster is an industry standard for SIS data formatting. SDS enables you to use CSV files in the OneRoster format to import and synchronize SIS data with Office 365. Using this method, you'll export or create OneRoster Format CSV files for SDS based on your SIS data, run them through a conversion process to the appropriate SDS format, setup a sync profile, and then upload the converted CSV files into SDS for processing.

How to deploy SDS by using OneRoster format CSV files

Deployment methods using API

An API connection is a direct connection to the SIS. SDS supports the PowerSchool and OneRoster APIs.

Deploy SDS using PowerSchool API

PowerSchool is a SIS provider that works with SDS to help import and synchronize SIS data with Office 365. SDS connects directly to the SIS and synchronizes data using the REST-based APIs provided by PowerSchool. Using this method, you can avoid exporting and managing CSV files from the SIS database. Instead, you create a synchronization profile in SDS and sync directly from your PowerSchool SIS.

How to deploy SDS by using PowerSchool API

Deploy SDS using OneRoster API

OneRoster is an industry standard and format that SIS providers leverage, which works with SDS to help import and synchronize data to Office 365. SDS connects directly to the OneRoster formatted SIS and synchronizes data using the OneRoster APIs. Using this method, you can avoid exporting and managing CSV files from the SIS database. Instead, you create a synchronization profile in SDS and sync directly from your OneRoster API accessible SIS.

How to deploy SDS by using OneRoster API

SDS for Insights

SDS for Insights combines SIS data with user activity data from Microsoft 365 applications, providing educators and leaders with valuable analytics information that can be found in the Teams Insights App with a new Education Leaders dashboard. This data will help leaders deepen their understanding of how well learning approaches work, discover trends, identify opportunities for learning improvements, and adapt learning strategies. Go to the Settings page in the SDS Admin Console to ensure the Collect activity data for Insights is enabled. Under Sync organizational data, you will need to click on the link ‘To continue set up and monitoring navigate to SDS for Insights’ to connect your data for Insights. For more information, see Education Insights Premium.

Welcome to School Data Sync

CSV File Sync Automation

SDS Errors

SDS Helper Scripts

SDS Sign Up and Support

Sign-up for SDS Deployment Services

Contact SDS Support