New Web Team Support

School webmasters, teachers and other FCPS staff,

I have accepted another position within FCPS (MUNIS support) and will no longer be the main technical support for school and public teacher websites and Lyris.  Your new web team  support person is Andre Thomas.  Please click here for more information about him and his website.

I am grateful for what a pleasure it has been working with you.  Thank you for making my work fun and enjoyable.

Warm regards,


New Web Support Specialist

Hi all!

Sow-Foong has moved to a different department within FCPS and I, Andre Thomas, have taken her place as the Systems Analyst. From now on, I will be assisting all faculty and staff with their online presence. That includes (but not limited to) WordPress, Umbraco (School websites), Google Sites, Google Classrooms, and Blogger.

From now on, please visit my website for support for the aforesaid online programs.

Website: The Hub

I look forward to speaking with you all!

Adding and Managing Tables in WordPress

Ever tried and was unable to add a table in WordPress?  Ever tried unsuccessfully to copy a table from Word to WordPress?  Fret not – there is a very handy plugin, ‘Tablepress, that will allow you to add and manage tables in your posts, pages and widget areas.  For details on how to use this plugin, please go to page 2 of WordPress Beyond the Basics (July 2015).

Upgrade Feature Highlights

WordPress has been upgraded from version 3.2.1 to version 4.1 (hot off the press – released on 12/18/2014).  Since that is across nine major releases, there are a lot of new features.  Highlights of each version can be found in,,….

Below is a summary of the highlights (extracted from

  • Easier Uploading
    • File Type Detection – A single upload button
    • Drag-and-Drop Media Uploader
  • Dashboard Design
    • New Toolbar in the dashboard, combining the Admin Bar and admin header
    • Responsive design for some screens, including iPad/tablet support
    • Flyout menus, providing single-click access to any screen
  • Enhanced theme control
    • Customize theme options before activating a new theme using Theme Customizer
    • Use Theme Previewer to customize current theme without changing the front-end design
  • New Media Manager
    • A streamlined, all-new experience
    • Create galleries faster with drag-and-drop reordering, inline caption editing, and simplified controls
    • Insert multiple images at once with Shift/Ctrl+click
  • A smoother media editing experience
    • Improved visual editing – speed, accessibility, and mobile support
    • Edit images easily – quicker access to crop and rotation tools, scale images directly in the editor
    • Drag and drop your images right onto the editor
    • Image gallery previews right in the editor
    • Live widget and header image previews in the Customizer
    • New theme browser
  • The content-editing experience is better than ever
    • The visual editor now expands to fit your content
    • A fixed toolbar in the editor when you scroll
  • New  Theme – Twenty Fourteen
    • Easily create a responsive magazine website with a sleek, modern design.
    • Feature your favorite homepage content in either a grid or a slider.
    • Use the three widget areas to customize your website, and change your content’s layout with a full-width page template and a contributor page to show off your authors.
  • New Theme – Twenty Fifteen
    • Clean, blog-focused theme, designed for clarity.
    • Your content always takes center stage, whether viewed on a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
    • Designed to maximize tools available in the Customizer.


IMPORTANT – WordPress Upgrades Dec 22- Jan 2

We are scheduled to make multiple upgrades to FCPS’s WordPress installation on Dec 22 – Jan 2Please plan on the system being unavailable and do not make any updates to your site during this time.  Even though the WordPress sites/blogs may be available for viewing after Dec 24, the system may be unstable and any updates made between Dec 22 – Jan 2 could be lost.

Formatting Issues After Adding an Image in Umbraco

When adding an image to a page in Umbraco, a common problem that users face is formatting issues with text around the image.  A simple fix to this problem is to center the image. To do this:

  1. Click on the image
  2. Select “Image Center” in the Style box on the ribbon at the top.
  3. Save and Publish.

Save your changes in Umbraco!

In order to resolve issues that some schools were having on the school websites, we are refreshing Umbraco every hour on the hour on the back end.  This is transparent to site visitors but If you are making changes in Umbraco you must save any changes you want to keep before “the clock strikes” (at 1:00 a.m./p.m., 2:00 a.m./p.m., 3 a.m./p.m., etc.).  When Umbraco refreshes, you could be logged out and could potentially lose any unsaved changes you are working on. In the event that you get logged out, you could log back on right away.

I hope this will not be too much of an inconvenience.  Hopefully, this will be temporary until we find a better long-term solution.

Be careful when activating plugins in WordPress

Using plugins is a great way to extend the functionality of your WordPress site.  However, exercise caution when activating them and make sure that the plugins are not incompatible with each other. A recent example was when a site froze and rendered the Dashboard inaccessible due to the activation of two incompatible plugins, “Follow” and “Subscribe2” (even though each was fine on its own).  Also, only activate the ones that are necessary because they could slow down your site.

Looking to spruce up your school site?

If you are looking to spruce up your school website in Umbraco, try adding a photo collage banner or an animated flash banner in the header.  If you are interested, just contact me to get started.  Check out a few examples of schools that have done that:

Breckinridge Elementary (flash banner)

William Wells Brown Elementary (flash banner)

Beaumont Middle (flash banner)

Southside Technical Center (photo collage)

Linking to “How do I…” items on District Site

Please see note from our district website editor regarding how to link to “How do I…” items on the district homepage:

“School webmasters:

Just a reminder to NOT link to any of the ‘How Do I’ questions on the district’s site. Those four dozen or so items rotate on and off the home page, thus changing their URL and resulting in ‘page not found’ clicks.

Instead, please link directly to whatever content you’re referencing. For example, don’t use the ‘How do I’ URL for questions about grades and Infinite Campus; rather, link to to take folks straight to the IC page.”