Have a great break!

Happy Thanksgiving break, one and all.

As you close out your classrooms for a well deserved break the rest of this week, please ensure these technology items are also taken care of. Thanks!

Classroom Technology

  • Please also secure or take home all District-assigned devices (laptop, Chromebook, iPad, etc.), as well as all personally-owned devices.
  • Power off projectors/IFPs, sound amps, and desktop computers. Unplug any lamps, power strips, etc. You may leave district printers and copiers plugged in and powered on.
  • If you have a cart of devices, ensure that all devices are plugged in, the cart is locked and plugged in.


A few highlights from the November issue….
Create Digital Thank You Cards with Applied Digital Skills
Gobble up the fun this Thanksgiving! In our Show Appreciation with Google Slides lesson, your students can create heartfelt digital cards showcasing their creativity while expressing gratitude.
Arts & Culture: Take your Students on a Virtual Field Trip to the White House
The White House is opening its virtual doors with a new guided tour on Google Arts & Culture. You’re invited to virtually explore the historic grounds with your class, no permission slips or travel arrangements required.
White House
Arts & Culture: Native American Heritage Month
Explore Google Arts & Culture’s Indigenous Americas hub which honors Native groups’ rich heritage and evolving presence, and is expanding with of nine new digital exhibits.
Indigienous Art
Arts & Culture: A Taste of China
Learn about Chinese culture through its gastronomy and explore 5,000+ years of culinary heritage on Google Arts & Culture.
Chinese taste
See past issues or sign up for the Google Education Newsletter.

What’s new on IXL – Oct 2023

IXL October roundup

IXL continues to share feature updates. Their October roundup highlights new units of the Takeoff curriculum, more tailored learning games, and more.

New Takeoff by IXL Math™ units We’ve added units 4 and 5 to the Takeoff curriculum!
These comprehensive lesson plans, learning activities, and assessments provide 2nd-5th grade teachers with everything they need to personalize whole-class math instruction.

New school-level reports
School administrators have two new reports to track student practice: Skill Usage and Skill Proficiency!
These reports clearly show how your students are tracking towards research-backed goals, complete with powerful filtering and seamless export.

Tailored IXL game variations

We’ve made updates to our IXL learning games to be better tailored for each grade level!

IXL’s games include a wide range of content and gameplay options. To make it easier for younger students to work on content that’s appropriate for their grade level, we’ve added multiple variations of some games that better align to different levels of advancement. We’ve also preset the difficulty levels and game board sizes so that students can jump right into gameplay.

Check out some of the new game variations below:

We now have more than 360 games on IXL! Find them on the grade level pages for K-5.

Action Required: MiStar Configure

Middle and high School teachers, please ensure that your MiStar Gradebook setup is complete. If just one teacher for a student has not completed this step, that student and their family will not be able to view any of their assignments for any classes in MiStar.

TO DO: Please go to your MISTAR grade book and locate the Configurations area. Make sure you don’t see red Xs or yield signs in the first three columns. If you do, go to the specific area to see what is missing in set up.

Configure gradebook

FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS: Also, make sure you are NOT having an incorrect term (for example Q1 instead of now Q2 or Semester 1) display for your students/families in your grade book. If you do, that will also cause students and families to not see any of their students’ assignments in Parent and Student Connect.  From this reference sheet:

making visible marking periods

For more information about using MiStar, see this training guide.

Status update – where district leadership stands on AI and NLP as of October 2023

AI and NLP in Education

Advancements in generative artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) have been evolving quickly over the past year, which is both exciting and concerning. While generative AI and NLP have tremendous educational potential, there are also concerns about the quality of these tools, as well as their data privacy policies and practices. In response, P-CCS has put together a working group to better understand, evaluate, and determine how students and staff might use generative AI and NLP in the future.

Our district leadership, in collaboration with other districts and industry, is already working on a plan for generative AI and NLP tools. We have begun to explore how we might leverage the power of generative AI and NLP to enhance teaching and learning practices, promote innovation, and prepare students for an AI-informed and driven future; at the same time district leadership also acknowledges the educational arena shouldn’t simply allow full access to all manner of AI and NLP tools and services. Within our exploration and plan development, we believe consideration ought to be given to the ethical considerations of using generative AI, including equity implications, bias, and privacy concerns, and how to address them responsibly. Service terms of use (including age restrictions and data usage) also need to be reviewed and factored in.

While it might frustrate those who want to adopt and embrace all that is AI right away – and the allure to do so is understandably compelling since AI tools are so powerful – this school year should be considered as a year of learning, so that a thoughtful implementation is more likely to follow. Please understand that as part of this journey, access to some tools is expected to shift in the coming months, with some tools and services presently accessible later being blocked and other tools and services presently blocked later made accessible. 

We will continue to provide updates from the District’s AI working group throughout the year. 


Google for Edu

A few highlights from the October issue.

National Disability Awareness Month
October is National Disability Awareness Month. AI has been built into Chromebooks and Google Workspace for Education from the beginning, like Live Caption, reading mode, translation, and more. Find helpful features and tips for using them in the classroom on our website.

The Next Phase of Digital Whiteboarding in Workspace
We’re winding down Google Jambaord and teaming up with FigJam, Lucid, and Miro to offer whiteboarding in Workspace. To learn more about each offering, see which is best for your educational institution, and get guidance and resources for using these tools, please visit the Help Center.

New ways for people to engage with culture through play
Play four surprising new experimental games to approach and consider art in unique and thought-provoking ways – from getting your fortune read with an art themed tarot deck to a staring contest with famous artworks.

Exploring Latino cultures on Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture’s Latino Cultures hub features a variety of new meaningful topics, including the vibrant and rhythmic world of Caribbean salsa music, the impact of Latinos with disabilities and the long history of Indigenous Mexico.

Connecting people and places on Google Arts & Culture’s Preserving our Past hub
Explore Google Arts & Cutlure’s expanded heritage preservation hub “Preserving Our Past”, featuring new sites and digital stories by the US State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center.

Día de los Muertos Fun with Applied Digital Skills
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos in style with our Create Papel Picado in Google Slides lesson! Unveil the vibrant world of this Mexican holiday tradition as your students craft their own digital papel picado art.

See past issues or sign up for the Google Education Newsletter.

Google for Edu archives


BrainPop’s Digital Citizenship Week resources

Digital Citizenship Week BrainPo

In today’s world, teaching kids about digital citizenship is essential. When we equip them with the skills to think critically and navigate online spaces on their own, that’s how they really grow.  Digital Citizenship Week began October 16th, and while the week is almost over, consider still bringing these themes into your curriculum over the weeks ahead. Supplement your instruction with BrainPOP’s timely content, tools, and resources.

As a reminder, all district students, K-12 can access our paid subscription to BrainPop/BrainPop Jr via Clever at https://clever.com/in/pccs


Citizenship resources


Here are some suggested pacing guides:

Internet Safety (K-2)

Digital Etiquette (3-5)

Media Literacy (6-8)

What’s new on IXL – September 2023

New on IXL September 2023

See everything IXL has added since school started back up! Read on to find out what’s new on IXL this fall including new units of the Takeoff curriculum, assessment data on the teacher dashboard, filtering for courses and more!

Summary of some key releases in the screenshot below:

IXL fall releases

Table of contents:

Major releases

New units for Takeoff by IXL Math™

We’ve released Takeoff by IXL Math™ Units 3 and 4!

Takeoff by IXL Math™ provides everything 2nd-5th grade teachers need for their daily math instruction, personalized to meet the needs of each student, including:

  • Detailed day-by-day lesson plans
  • Differentiated support and enrichment resources
  • Print and online learning activities
  • Built-in unit assessments with personalized next steps

Unit 3 covers the following topics:

Unit 4 covers the following topics:

Unit 4 for Grade 3 will be released soon.

Takeoff Unit 4 Grade 4

Feature updates

Assessment tab on the Teacher Dashboard

Teachers can now find all of their assessment-related information in one place from the Teacher Dashboard! Under the new “Assessment” tab in the middle of the dashboard, teachers have three new sections covering:

  • Diagnostic levels: displays students’ overall math and ELA Real-Time-Diagnostic levels, and links to the Diagnostic Overview report.
  • Screener levels: displays the results of a class’ most recent Screener, and links to the Screener Levels report.
  • Upcoming assessment windows: displays upcoming universal screener and Diagnostic Snapshot windows scheduled by an administrator.
Teacher dashboard Assessment tab

Filter courses in Teacher Analytics

Teachers can now filter their reports to view all students within a course! Courses are groups of students in IXL who are rostered in different classes, but are working on the same material. For middle and high school teachers who teach multiple classes of the same course, this will allow them to filter across class periods.

Teachers can click the “Students” filter at the top-left of each report to filter by their classes or courses. Once they select a course, they will only see data in the report for students who are in roster classes that are associated with that course.

Filter for courses

Suggestion stars on the Student Usage report

The Student Usage report now displays the gold suggestion star next to a skill if the student practiced it while it was suggested! This update makes it easier for teachers to ensure that their most prioritized skills are being practiced.

Starred skill in report

Skill plan updates and new skills

New math skills

We’ve released a handful of new math skills, including new calculus skills:

New ELA skills

We’ve released new reading strategies skills and book study skills:

New science skills

We’ve released new science skills:

New social studies skills

We’ve released new social studies skills:

New Learn to Read skill plan

We’ve expanded our popular Learn to Read skill plans to now include Pre-Kindergarten! Tailored for our youngest learners, the Pre-K Learn to Read plan focuses on nurturing essential skills such as letter knowledge, phonological awareness, and beginning phonics, providing a strong foundation for Kindergarten readiness.

New textbook skill plans

This release we added the following textbook skill plans:

New standards skill plans

We released skill plans for the following state and provincial standards:

We’ve also updated alignments for the following plan:

Additional releases

New video tutorials

We now have over 2,700 math and ELA videos on IXL.com! We’ve added 24 new phonics videos, 40 new reading foundations videos, and 4 new middle school ELA videos. With this release, we now have videos covering about 50% of the “reading foundations” skills in grades 2-3. These videos cover topics such as:

We’ve also added 335 new math videos across grade 2 through Algebra 2. This release covers more than half of the skills for both grade 2 and Algebra 2. Video topics include:

We’ve also released 16 Canada-localized math videos to expand our coverage in grade 6. With topics like:

Spanish subtitles have also been added for 50 more math videos in grade 6 through Algebra 1. See an example of the new subtitles:

More math skills with Spanish support

We’ve expanded our Spanish-language support to include a handful of new skills covering grade 2 through Algebra 1. These newly supported skills include:

New international ELA skill

We have added the ELA skill “Identify the purpose of a text” to our international editions (CA, AU, NZ, UK, IE, IN, ZA); this skill was previously only available in the US. This skill allows students in grades 2-3 to practice reading for the author’s purpose (to persuade, inform, or entertain) by interacting with engaging graphic elements. These include book pages, newspaper articles, web pages, and more.


MISTAR-Q: FREE Online Training for Teachers


Registration is open for the next session of Monarch running now through December 18, 2023

Monarch will be offered twice this academic year:

Session One: Now through Dec 18, 2023
Session Two: Jan 22 through May 13, 2024

Teachers are invited to transform their use of MISTAR-Q by participating in Monarch, an asynchronous online learning experience. Monarch is especially beneficial for teachers new to MISTAR.

Complete activities designed to increase your skill and knowledge of MISTAR teacher apps including Class Attendance, Grade Book, Seating Chart, generating reports, and more.

Working online at your pace, you will progress through four levels of activities. SCECHs are available: complete levels 1-2 to earn 7 hours, levels 1-3 to earn 11 hours, or levels 1-4 to earn 13 hours.

This course is free. Please register only if you fully intend to participate as there is high demand for this course.

Register here  — After registering, watch for emails with details on how to get started.