Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Illuminate Lightning Grader is Here for 2017-2018!

Assessments in 17-18 just got easier with Illuminate's Lightning Grader (LiG)! If you were previously printing bubble-type answer documents for student assessments, you now have MORE options for questions type besides multiple choice. Lightning Grader replaces the GradeCam scanner in Illuminate and brings more choices and options for both test creation and grading.

Here's some highlights of the changes:
  • Create flexible assessments with M/C, rubric, short answer & more on a single answer document and LiG will scan students hand-written responses.
  • You can print multiple answer documents on a single page! Great for exit tickets and short quizzes!  You could even laminate and reuse.
  • You can see the answer document as it is scanned!
  • You can now upload a scanned .pdf file with 100 student answer documents. Great workflow with our Canon Copiers.
  • Chrome is the supported browser for Lightning Grader.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Technology Update: Net Neutrality, Erate and YOU! - 07132017

Greetings WUSD Staff,

I know that many of you are out enjoying summer fun, but I wanted to share some information regarding potential changes at the Federal level that if put in place, would have a negative impact on Washington USD and other districts across the nation.  Please take a moment to read through the information below and join the movement to protect our students by clicking on the links below.  Yes, please click!

Net Neutrality
“Net neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits Internet service providers . . . from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content, applications, or websites you want to use.”  Net neutrality was adopted in 2015 and creates rules to keep the Internet free and open and is seriously at risk of being repealed by the new administration’s FCC. If we lost Net Neutrality, the large service companies (AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon) could “censor” the Internet by determining which sites will be blocked, sped up, or slowed down. It would remove the equal playing field for all web content and application providers to have equal access of users to their content.  Take a minute to watch the short YouTube video put out by Fight for the Future that explains Why Net Neutrality Makes the Internet Great.

CUE ( is collecting teacher and administrator responses  that will be sent directly to the FCC – please take a moment to complete this form and to let your voice be heard!  

E-Rate Funding
Washington USD has benefitted from the Federal E-Rate program over the last two years through the recabling of Elkhorn Village, Westfield Village, Southport, and Bridgeway Island, 80% discounts on WAVE circuits that provide Internet connectivity to classrooms, and 20% discounts on phone services. The total savings for the 2016-2017 school year was approximately $370,000.  The projected savings for 2017-2018 for phone service, Internet service, and new network equipment (pending funding approval) at River City, Stonegate, Southport, Westmore Oaks, and Bridgeway Island is approximately $770,000. If there were no Federal E-Rate discounts after the 2017-2018 school year, the ongoing costs of services starting in 2018-2019 would be over $270,000 and there would be no future upgrades in cabling or network equipment for Yolo Education Center, Washington Middle College Charter, or Alyce Norman, the remaining three sites needing upgrades. As you can clearly see, the Federal E-Rate program has had a tremendous impact on supporting connectivity to classrooms in Washington USD and not having these discounts in the future will severely impact what we are able to do beyond connectivity. 

Please take a moment to advocate for the continuance of Federal ed tech funding with E-Rate being one of the priorities by going to This will generate a form letter to be sent our Congressional representatives: Sen. Diane Feinstein, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Rep. Doris Matsui. 

These are two important priorities that are critical to the work that we do in teaching students and serving the West Sacramento community. Please help rally behind protecting Net Neutrality and E-Rate by clicking on the links above to have your voice heard.

If you have any questions, please contact me by email or phone. Thank you!


Director II, Technology

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Planned Illuminate Downtime 7/17-7/31

We will be migrating to Google Single Sign On (SSO) authentication for Illuminate Education’s services. While we make this transition you may experience some loss of connection. This means, beginning July 17 until the anticipated date of service, July 31, you may experience intermittent downtime. While we aim to minimize the loss of service during this time, please be aware of this possibility. We believe the change to Google SSO for students and staff will provide increased functionality and an improved user experience during the upcoming school year.

Once we complete the necessary changes, I will follow up with another communication announcing the access change. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know. If you have any urgent tasks planned during this time period, please contact me with details so we can attempt to plan around your situation.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Starting Line-up of Tech Teacher Team (T3)

On Friday, July 7, the starting line-up of your 2017-2018 Tech Teacher Team (T3) met to begin their journey towards becoming Google Certified Educator. They are off to a great start and we can't wait for even more awesomeness to follow!  Watch our promo video to learn more about our twelve teachers from schools throughout the district that comprise our Tech Teacher Team (T3).  Learn more by visiting the T3 website.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Technology Update: EOY, Summer, and Upcoming Changes for the 17-18 School Year - 053117

WUSD Teachers and Staff,

As we close out the 16-17 School Year, a few Tech Updates regarding access to programs, archiving classrooms, and some changes you may notice over the summer and in the Fall.

Student Lexia Access (K-8 Teachers)
Students will not have access to Lexia over the summer months. For Lexia and other programs, there is A LOT of summer back-end work that our team will be doing to archive the 16-17 data, rollover accounts in preparation for 17-18 and do the heavy lifting needed to prepare for the rostering automation and Single Sign-On that will be available at the beginning of the school year that will create an improved user experience for both teachers and students.

Archiving your Google Classroom (Google Classroom Users)
Google Certified Innovator and Trainer, Eric Curts, wrote an excellent recent blog post detailing 6 End of the Year Google Classroom Tips with great directions and tips for closing out your Google Classroom(s) and Calendars for 16-17 so you can start fresh for 17-18.

Student Access to Google Accounts (All Teachers)
Students will not have access to their Google Accounts over the summer unless they are enrolled in Summer School. All Seniors received an email earlier this week with directions on how to transfer their Google Drive content to a personal account if they choose. Seniors have until June 9th to initiate this process. After that date, they will no longer have access to their WUSD Google Account. The transfer directions shared with seniors are available for reference at

Changes you may notice over the Summer

Where’s my Chrome extension? (All Teachers/Staff)
During the summer we will be doing some digital housekeeping by updating our Chrome configurations. There are a number of extensions pushed out district-wide that are not being widely used. This creates a bloated infrastructure and can cause slower performance. We will be removing several of these extensions in our housekeeping efforts. Any Chrome extension that is removed will be placed in the WUSD Chrome Store for easy access and for staff to reinstall if they were a frequent user.

What’s happening with my Chrome Shelf? (All Chromebook Users)
You may notice some changes to the Chrome Shelf (easy access icons usually on the bottom of your screen) over the summer to reflect new adoptions and district-wide programs. These changes are designed to create an improved user experience and ensure easy access!

Updated WUSD & Chrome Stores (All Teachers/Staff/Students)
Another summer project will be updating both the WUSD and Chrome Stores with recommended apps and extensions.

Upcoming Changes for the 2017-2018 School Year

Illuminate Lightning Grader Upgrade! (All Teachers)
Any teachers using Illuminate to create scan-tron assessments, the GradeCam plug-in and interface is being replaced with Lightning Grader. This upgrade will have new, enhanced features such as the ability to scan written responses, provide more scoring options beyond just multiple choice, and much more! Please be advised that any scantrons you have laminated or placed in sheet protectors for student re-use will need to be reprinted at the start of the 17-18 school year for use with Lightning Grader. You will not need to recreate any existing assessments within Illuminate, just reprint the answer documents.

Illuminate Dashboard Enhancements (All Illuminate Users)
Illuminate will look a little different when you return in August. The New Dashboard enhancements will provide improved navigation and access to assessments and reports.

Single Sign-On (Teachers/Staff/Students)
Pending Board Approval, we will be launching a Single Sign-On solution this Fall for all users to provide an improved user experience and preserve instructional time. You will receive more communication regarding Single Sign-On this August.

Password Security Enhancements (Teachers/Staff)
This Fall, there will be new password requirements for all staff to ensure the security of our network and our digital files. Expect more information this Fall.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions.