Online Data Breach Reveals Millions of Emails and Password

Last week another large online data breach was reported. (Read the article from CNET.) The technicians that checked the breach list found that much of it was current and accurate, which is rare for such a large data set.

What can you do?

  1. Enter in your email address(es) in the following website to see which websites/accounts have been breached, and potentially exposed data about your account.
  2. Get notifications of future breaches that expose your email address and potentially other sensitive data.
  3. Learn about data breaches and the types of fraud so that you are prepared when it happens.
  4. Change passwords! Make unique passwords for every account.
    • To keep track of all your unique passwords, consider using a password manager like 1Password, Dashlane, LastPass or one of the free ones reviewed here where you only have to remember one [unique and complex] master password and the app will save the rest of your passwords in AES-256 bit encrypted vaults.
    • When using a password manager, make sure to set the settings to automatically log you out after a short period of inactivity to prevent others from accessing your vault (it completely defeats the purpose of the vault if you leave the door always open!).
  5. Read this article: Data breaches can sucker-punch you. Prepare to fight back

Visit these sites for information and next steps if you have been a victim of identity theft:

Hope you find this helpful and that it serves to keep you digitally safe during harrowing digital times.

REMC Virtual Courses – February 2019

It’s easy to embrace your love of learning with REMC’s Virtual Courses! They offer a convenient way for teachers to connect and collaborate while reducing time and cost. These courses are available throughout the school year and are open to all Michigan school personnel. Best of all, all courses are instructor lead, free, and offer free SCECHs when completed.

Register Now for the February sessions

Five to seven courses are offered each month. Each course is open for three weeks and consists of two (2) one-hour webinars and four (4) to eight (8) hours of resource review, assessment developments and written reflection. SCECHs are available, ranging from 6 – 10, depending on the course.

Courses offered in February:

  • The What, Why, and How of Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • OER to Support Competency-Based Education (CBE)
  • Design Thinking made Practical
  • A Practical Guide to Global Success Skills in the Classroom for the 21st Century and Beyond
  • Social Media: Professional Development through Social Media, Level 1
  • Extending Your Classroom to the Cloud
  • Coding in the Classroom

Please feel free to contact the technology department if you have any questions.

Remind Will No Longer Work with Verizon Starting January 28, 2019

Remind, previously known as Remind 101, is a commonly used notification system in the district. This is why it is important that all staff utilizing this tool read this blog post. Starting January 28, 2019, Verizon customers will no longer receive Remind notifications through text messaging. Please note that Verizon customers, as well as all other users of Remind, can still receive notifications through the Remind app. Please read below for further details from Remind’s announcement regarding this issue.

“What’s happening
Starting on Monday, January 28, text notifications will be ending for Verizon Wireless customers who use the free Remind service.

If you communicate with your class on Remind: People who normally get your Remind messages as texts may no longer receive them.

If you have Verizon Wireless as your phone carrier: You’ll no longer receive Remind text notifications. To get messages, you’ll need to turn on smartphone or email notifications instead.

Why the Verizon fee affects free text messaging on Remind
To offer our text messaging service free of charge, Remind has always paid for each text that users receive or send. Now, Verizon is charging Remind an additional fee intended for companies that send spam over its network.

Your Remind messages aren’t spam, but that hasn’t helped resolve the issue with Verizon. The fee will increase our cost of supporting text messaging to at least 11 times our current cost—forcing us to end free Remind text messaging for the more than 7 million students, parents, and educators who have Verizon Wireless as their carrier.

What you can do
IMPORTANT: If you have a phone plan with Verizon Wireless, click here first to make sure you can still receive Remind messages on the app or by email after January 28.”

In the wake of this change, Richard Byrne (from the Free Technology for Teachers blog) has posted Free Alternatives to Remind that you may also want to consider.

If you have any questions or need help with this adjusting for this change, please feel free to contact us at or submit a service request for technology integration support.


IMPORTANT: Before You Leave For Break…

For those of you about to begin a well deserved two-week break, which we hope will be all you hope for and a bit more, before you leave on Friday…

WOULD YOU PLEASE SECURE ALL VALUABLES in the classrooms and office spaces you inhabit. This includes laptops, document cameras, Apple TVs, remotes, and interactive pens. 

Further, would you please make sure all iPads and Chromebooks are in their carts and those CARTS ARE LOCKED and plugged in before leaving.

Finally, would you please also POWER OFF any of the following equipment, if it is equipment you handle:

  • projectors
  • sound amps
  • SmartBoards
  • desktop computers
  • monitors
  • printers
  • copiers
  • and hit the lights on the way out, if you’re the last one 😉

Adobe Spark For Education – Now Available For All Staff

Adobe Spark

Are you looking to add a little more spark into your presentations? Then you might want to consider taking a look at Adobe Spark for Education. This graphic design app allows you to create impactful graphics, web pages, and video stories in just minutes. Best of all, it’s free for all P-CCS staff! For a quick tutorial on how to use Adobe Spark, we encourage you to watch this tutorial video from Richard Byrne.

When you are ready to get started with Adobe Spark, you can log in by following the instructions at

Want your students to use Adobe Spark? Well, you are in luck! In late January, the technology department will enable Adobe Spark for all students 13 and older, as well as students under the age of 13 whose parents/guardians have initialed the district’s COPPA agreement. Additional details will be shared in a future blog post.



During the week of January 7th, the Technology Department will make a change to our district wireless network. After this change, our wireless network will no longer broadcast at the lower frequency band of 2.4 GHz; it will only broadcast on one band, 5.2 GHz.

Technology equipment that was manufactured in the last nine years, if WIFI-enabled, typically can connect to both bands (N.B. all currently deployed district-owned WIFI-enabled devices connect at both bands). The Technology Department feels comfortable making this adjustment so that devices connecting to our network will default connect to the 5.2 GHz band since its higher bandwidth can provide much faster data connections than the 2.4 GHz band. Since November we have piloted this change in one school and performance results there support this decision.

Staff will be asked to submit a service ticket if they, or students that alert them, experience unexpected wireless connectivity issues after the week of January 7th.

Free REMC Virtual Courses for Michigan Educators

Looking to integrate emerging topics into YOUR classroom? REMC Virtual Courses are FREE and open to all Michigan school personnel. You can take courses “just to learn” or you can complete all assignments for SCECHS! The next round of courses begin in January. Staff can register for January – March courses. Here are the January course topics:

  • OER to Support Early Literacy
  • Student-Designed OER for 21st Century Learning
  • Inquiry and Questioning: Igniting Student Curiosity with Technology, Level 1
  • Authentic Student Learning and Gamification
  • Applying Google Apps for Education in Chrome, Level 1
  • Transforming Education – Maker Movement
  • Increasing Efficiency and Productivity

All courses are facilitated by Michigan educators. Each lasts three weeks and consists of two one-hour webinars and four to eight hours of resource review, assessment development, discussion boards and written reflection. SCECHs range from 6 – 10 depending on the course.

Changes to the Google sign-in interface

Starting November 27th, 2018, Google made some small changes to the appearance of the Google sign-in page. These follow changes made earlier this year, which updated the sign-in page to match the Material Design principles used in other Google products.

Specifically, you might notice outlines around some entry fields, and changes to the spacing and styling of other text on both the web and mobile screens. The changes started to take effect on November 27th and may take up to two weeks to reach all users.

Sign-in page that will start rolling out on November 27, 2018
page prior to November 27, 2018