Rochelle VanDenHeuvel delivered a report on the status of technology in the district at last week’s regular meeting of the school board.
VanDenHeuvel said that the district’s one-to-one initiative has expanded to grades 2 through 12 and gives students in those grades access to IPads. Many equipment upgrades were being made especially at the high school, she added.
The district’s network administrator T.J. Russell, followed VanDenHeuvel and reported that his staff performed an upgrade to Windows 10 across all of the districts PCs this past summer.
The IT department has also turned to an internal cloud for its storage needs. This move, said Russell, saves the district a lot of money. The district has also pushed out a product called WebEx, which allows online meetings. Principals and the superintendent now have the ability to engage in video conferencing, he noted.
The district also converted from Qwest to Paul Bunyan for phone services, saving the district money and giving it the ability to meet legal requirement for enhanced 911 calls. Russell concluded his remarks by informing the board that his team is moving toward a next-generation firewall on the district’s network. “This will give us a much more efficient and accountable network as well as keeping our students safe while giving them the tools they need to do what they need to do,” he said.
Randy Longmore, the district’s lead technician presented several more pieces of information regarding technology to the board. The district is engaging in installing door accesses at Forest Lake as well as the entrance from the Reif Center into the high school. The district also is engaging area law enforcement to increase the amount of information that is shared. Plans are in place to build two identical command centers. Longmore said the district would have two command centers, one at the administration building and one at the high school. The command centers would have the ability to access up to 470 cameras at any given time.
Angie Carlisle was the final speaker in the presentation on technology. Carlisle is a technology integration specialist for the district as well as a teacher. She noted that the one-to-one initiative was enriching the lives of the district’s students in the areas of collaboration, creativity and communication.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the Grand Rapids High School International Club trip to Portugal and Spain during June of 2018.
• Approved a memorandum of understanding with Concordia College in Moorhead for student teaching placement.
• Hired one coach, one teacher, one bus driver and accepted the resignation of one ESP and the retirement of one staff member.
• Approved a request to post for a custodial position.
• Approved the board’s 2016/2017 goals:
1) The board will continue to work on a plan to address facility needs.
2) The board will continue to provide 21st century learning opportunities.
3) The board will look for collaboration opportunities.
4) The board will identify needs in the area of mental health services for students.
5) Will maintain current curriculum offerings.