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neutrality was adopted in 2015 and creates rules to keep the Internet free and open and is seriously at risk of being repealed by the new administration’s FCC.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.