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.

Canva for Education School Teams

We have recently updated Canva to incorporate school teams. Now we can send up a brand kit for each school and have more ability to choose what tools are available for different age levels. Additionally, if you have student classes rostered to you, you’ll have a “class” set up in Canva which works like a shared folder. Two important things to be aware of:

  • Going forward, please use your Canva school team, especially if you are using it with students. You can change teams with the team switcher:

  • If you have designs in the other team that you want to use with students, you can copy the design to another team.

steps to copy to another team

If you are already a Canva user, the next time you log out and log back into Canva, you’ll be joined to the new school team. Your pre-existing content will be accessible by switching between teams; you can copy designs to your new school team by following these steps. Click here to log out of Canva to get started.

  • Please read the Canva teacher’s guide, even if you’ve used Canva before – there are a few differences between our new organization-wide version of Canva and versions you may have used in the past.
  • To learn more about using Canva to support your work, check out Canva’s general learning site (Canva Design School) or their Teacher Resources page for resources specific to K-12 students and teachers.

Seesaw Rebrand! Look for the new icon October 27!

Seesaw is rebranding! Seesaw began over a decade ago with a mission to provide every elementary student with joyful and connected learning experiences that lay the foundation for success in life. On October 27, 2023 Seesaw will launch a new logo, app icon and marketing website inspired by the learning loop. They’ve updated our colors and fonts to demonstrate our commitment to accessibility and enabling all learners to participate effectively.

To support the transition in your classroom, seesaw has created classroom printable materials, resources, and an FAQ to answer questions. These will allow your students and families to get familiar with the new brand logo and icon. Find these exciting resources here.

At PCCS all K-2 students have access to seesaw for schools through clever with rostering through the district. If you are not in grades K-2 and want to use Seesaw with your students, you can do so by sharing a code for students to join your classroom in Seesaw. If you have any questions about Seesaw, please submit a tech request.

Resource: Science Journal for Kids and Teens

screenshot from website


Are you looking for an exciting way to bring real scientific research into your classroom? Science Journal for Kids offers a free online science magazine featuring peer-reviewed research papers adapted into kid-friendly language.

Each article on the site includes:

  • Assessment questions and answer keys
  • Introductory videos
  • Keywords, reading levels (some articles offered at multiple reading levels), and curriculum alignment
  • Some articles are translated in up to 5 languages
  • Additional teaching resources like slideshows, labs, quizzes, and recommended websites

The Science Journal for Kids team selects recent, high-impact research papers covering diverse topics like pollution, endangered species, climate change, and more. They rewrite the papers using common vocabulary, real-world examples, and funny anecdotes, when appropriate, to make them accessible and engaging to students.

The adapted articles are then reviewed and approved by the scientists who authored the original research. Experienced science teachers also provide supplementary materials like presentations, hands-on activities, worksheets, and quizzes to easily integrate the articles into your curriculum.

With Science Journal for Kids, you can introduce your students to cutting-edge scientific discoveries in a format they’ll understand and enjoy. This free resource saves you time in locating age-appropriate materials and supplements them with everything you need to actively teach the concepts.

Bring some excitement into your classroom and tap into your students’ natural curiosity! Visit Science Journal for Kids and Teens today to explore this invaluable teaching tool. If you are inclined, check out the TED Talk from the founder below:

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

Citizenship resources


Here are some suggested pacing guides:

Internet Safety (K-2)

Digital Etiquette (3-5)

Media Literacy (6-8)

October 23, 2023 Third-Party Google Apps Change

Google sign-in option

As online and digital learning has expanded in schools, many educational applications have been adopted that collect student data – sometimes more than necessary for their core educational purpose. Protecting student privacy is crucial, which in part explains why Google is implementing new security measures on October 23rd that will affect Google Workspace for Education users.

Google Workspace for Education, which includes tools like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, has provided schools with collaborative learning solutions. However, Google is putting additional safeguards in place to limit third-party access to sensitive student information. If you have chosen to “sign in with Google” or connected an app to a Google Doc or Sheet, you have been asked to allow another app permissions to data associated with your Google account. Google is now adding more safeguards to help restrict these permissions, especially for students.

For Google Workspace for Education users, new data protections will be enabled by default. Data sharing with third party sites and services will be limited. Certain advertising targeting practices will also be prohibited.

Over the last month, the technology department has done its best to review a lengthy list of more than 2000 third-party applications that one or more district users have enabled to work with their Google accounts. Some third party app integrations with District Google accounts have been or will be blocked on and after October 23 as part of this process. In many cases, if being able to use Google Sign in is not possible, a user could instead sign in with their username and password (a password reset may be required if the user does not already know their password). Other integration permissions that are revoked might yield some other inconveniences.

Please note, if you have a third party app whose Google integration stops working, the integration is required, and there is a legitimate educational purpose for continued app access, please submit a tech support ticket for review. 

While Google’s increased security may affect some workflows, protecting student information is paramount. Thanks for being flexible so that learning can continue to thrive in more secure digital environments.

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! 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.


Read&Write Toolbar Adds Two New Features

We know that as educators, you constantly strive to make learning more accessible and engaging for your students. That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce some exciting updates to the Read&Write toolbar that will empower you to do just that! The two latest features, Rewordify and Simplify AI, are designed to transform the way your students interact with digital content, making it easier to understand and more inclusive for all. Let’s dive into the details of these fantastic enhancements.

1. Rewordify

Rewordify is a game-changer for teachers and students alike. This versatile tool is now available on the Read&Write web toolbar, making it accessible on websites, Learning Management Systems, emails, and more. Its primary mission is to simplify text, ensuring that students encounter fewer barriers when reading and comprehending content.

How does it work? Rewordify identifies complex or difficult words within a webpage and replaces them with simpler, more easily understood alternatives. This feature promotes reading comprehension and helps students tackle challenging texts with greater confidence. Rewordify is a valuable resource for students of all ages and abilities, as it fosters inclusivity in the classroom and supports diverse learning needs.

2. Simplify AI

Introducing Simplify AI, an innovative beta feature within Read&Write for Google Chrome. This cutting-edge tool takes web content and transforms it into a more digestible format, enhancing accessibility and understanding. Developed by OpenAI, Simplify AI relies on advanced AI algorithms to perform its magic.

Simplify AI is your secret weapon when it comes to breaking down complex web content. It distills lengthy, convoluted passages into concise, clear, and easy-to-grasp summaries. This feature is a boon for teachers and students tackling challenging articles, research papers, or any online content that could benefit from simplification.

However, it’s important to note that Simplify AI has a few limitations:

Word Count Limits: Simplify AI can be applied to content ranging from approximately 75 to 2300 words. This range is carefully chosen to accommodate various types of content while maintaining readability.

Usage Limit: Each user can utilize Simplify AI a maximum of ten times per day. This restriction is in place to ensure fair access to this powerful tool among all users.

Incorporating these updates into your teaching arsenal can revolutionize the way your students engage with digital content. Whether you’re using Rewordify to make text more accessible or Simplify AI to provide concise summaries, these features empower your students to comprehend complex information with greater ease.

By leveraging these tools, you’re not just enhancing reading comprehension; you’re fostering an inclusive learning environment where every student has the opportunity to succeed.