Monday, November 12, 2018

Everything is going well

We are already a quarter of the way done with the school year. Students started their second quarter of classes last week Tuesday, the 6th. Time goes faster and faster every day.

Everything has been going great in terms of the network and computer system here at Paynesville Schools. With the hard work performed over the summer, staff and students were able to come back and start using the network and computer systems without many hiccups as they returned to classes. This was a big goal of mine - to make sure everything was updated, maintained and ready to go for the school year by the end of the summer. It is great to see hard work pay off.

I am consistently looking for things to improve for our network here. This is usually not an issue as technology changes day by day. There is always room for improvement in the network to make sure that it can handle what is thrown at it. One thing that always changes no matter what is network security. That is something that constantly needs to be monitored and taken care of to make sure that the network can perform at 100%. As we head into the winter months, I will continue making our network as secure as it can be.

Wireless (Wi-Fi) systems also change constantly as well to make themselves faster and more reliable. We replaced our entire wireless system February of 2017 district-wide. This provided more reliable Wi-Fi coverage. There is now a new generation of Wi-Fi available. Plans will be made to make sure that we keep our Wi-Fi up to date along with the rest of our network to ensure we are providing the best experience possible to staff and students.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Makerspaces Continue to Grow!

As the school year rolls on, the Makerspaces at both buildings continue to grow with new equipment coming in daily. This month we added four new 3-D printers, Knex kits, LEGO kits, numerous handheld tools, and some cardboard creation kits. Over the next month, we will create a handbook to better assist teachers in brainstorming ideas along with training on equipment. The picture is of the secondary Makerspace. You can see the repurposed computer lab tables with a fresh coat of paint, the table play area for Sphero and VEX challenges, and the whiteboard collaboration tables in the middle of the area. Stay tuned for more information and to see the spaces in use soon! 

Paynesville Cares

Paynesville Cares
A local project supported by a grant from PrairieCare Youth and Family Fund

Paynesville Area Schools was awarded a grant to promote resiliency and mental wellness in youth.  The local project is called Paynesville Cares, and it includes many types of education and resource development for our community.  In August, Paynesville Cares trained twenty-six adults in Youth Mental Health First Aid.  This was the first of several trainings to be offered in our area.  Youth Mental Health First Aid will be available through Community Education again in the Spring.

The next community activity sponsored by Paynesville Cares will be Monday, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Elementary Media Center. We will be gathering ideas from the community and sharing information and resources.  Everyone is invited to this informal event to share ideas, ask questions, meet the project team, and share suggestions.  Refreshments will be served. 

If you have questions or need accommodations for this gathering, please contact Jennifer Wirz at or 320.243.3725, ext. 1173.

Monday, October 1, 2018

BNC-TV Bulldog Football Livestream Debut

The BNC-TV Bulldog Football Live Stream Team held their season broadcast debut on Friday, September 21.The team conducted their first live football broadcast of the Bulldog VS Holdingford Game.  The response was fantastic with over 300 views during the event.  BNC-TV started live streaming Bulldog Athletic Events last spring, broadcasting all the home baseball games as well as a home softball game.  Eric Johnson does the play by play, Lee Schleper provides the color commentary and Duncam McNab is the video technician.

The football games will be available at the end of the season for video playback on our YouTube Channel 

The team plans to broadcast the next home game which is Homecoming on Friday, October 5th.  The pregame show will begin around 6:50 PM.

Go Bulldogs!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Makerspace Moving In!

In the next few months, we will be adding two new Makerspaces in our district. Both buildings will have dedicated space in their media centers. A Makerspace is an area where students can collaborate on projects, design things, and develop problem-solving skills using a variety of tools and materials. The Makerspace will include 3-D printers, sewing machines, cutting and milling devices, common household tools, and numerous other gadgets to give students instruments to explore. Throughout the day classes and individual students will have the opportunity to spend time in the Makerspace. The goal is to create a space where EVERY student is welcome and EVERY student has opportunities to develop projects and learn. The Makerspaces at each building will include different equipment which will be grade appropriate. During conferences in the future, we hope to invite parents to stop by and see what is happening. I look forward to sharing more information with the community throughout the school year. Stay tuned! 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Playground Update

If you have driven by the playground lately you have noticed that not much has changed.  Construction on the playground has been slow, but the planning and fundraising has been moving along nicely. 

When we started to throw around the idea of doing some upgrades to the playground, we thought, who better to consult than our most loyal customers, the students!  Last spring our teachers conducted a survey to find out what the students would most like to see on the playground.  Once we were able to gather that information we started our work by discussing plans and getting quotes from a number of playground companies.  In the end, we chose MN/WI Playground.  We are now in the process of securing dates to begin the upgrades.  Our hope is to finish as much as possible by the end of October.

Along with planning and construction, we have also been busy trying to secure the funding needed to make it all happen.  Through generous donations, fundraising events and grant applications we are well on our way!  We will continue to raise money through our Cherrydale fundraising event this fall, along with planning another color run for the spring or early summer.

We have been blessed with a great committee who has worked tirelessly to help make this project possible.  We hope that when you drive by the playground later this fall you will start to see measurable progress!

David Oehrlein

Friday, August 31, 2018

District phone system update

As you may or may not know, the technology department installed a new phone system this summer district-wide. We are still in the porting process to move our external 243 numbers to the new system. In the meantime,  you can still reach the district and elementary offices at their normal numbers. However, the secondary school office currently is unable to be reached at their respective number.

The old phone system needed to be removed out of the secondary office as part of the remodel that occurred this summer. We have a temporary number that can be used which will allow you to reach the secondary office. This temporary number will be a long distance call. The temporary number you can reach the secondary school office at is 320-247-6804. This number will only be used until our external 243 phone numbers are ported to the new phone system. We will notify you again when we are moved over to the new system and when the regular secondary school phone number can be used.

If you cannot make a long distance call, please call the district office and they will get your contact information to the secondary school office to call you back.

If you have any questions, please let us know at Thank you.
Jonah Johnson, District Technology Director

Saturday, August 18, 2018

PAWS School Age Childcare Program

PAWS School Age Childcare Program 

Well summer is coming to an end and it is time to start thinking about getting ready for back to school and juggling your busy family schedules.  Did you know that Paynesville Area Community Education offers before and after school care for preschool thru fifth grade students?  If you are looking for a safe, affordable and convenient childcare solution for your school age child, PAWS might be just what you are looking for.  

For more information about our PAWS program please click here.

Our PAWS program is entering its fifth school year.

PAWS is a place where each child is a cherished and unique member of the team. Each child in PAWS will be nurtured, kept safe and encouraged to pursue their own interests, develop friendships, independence and confidence. Our goal is to ensure the success of children in our communities by establishing positive relationships, providing educational and recreational activities and offering opportunities for children to share ideas and feel valued. Feel confident that PAWS offers the very best care, with lots of age appropriate activities that help your child grow. Activities range from: computer lab, field trips, gym time, group games, art projects, reading, math, choice time, toys and more! 

PAWS Activities Include
Sports & Recreation Computer Lab Homework Help Arts & Crafts Free Choice Time Recess Movie Days Enrichment Activities Science Projects Games Field Trips/Special Events Fun! Fun! Fun!

You can register for PAWS by clicking Here.

Monday, August 13, 2018

A summer full of updates

I graduated from St. Cloud State University on May 4th earlier this year with a degree in Information Technology Security. It seems just like yesterday I walked across the stage at commencement in Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. All of a sudden here it is August 13th, and every staff member working in the district over the summer is wondering where the summer went.

As Garrick mentioned in his post, he handles a lot of the curriculum in regards to technology, and I handle all of the technical side of things. Many do not know that I work throughout the whole summer as there are many things that cannot be done while staff are around to improve our network. Usual things that take place over the summer break include updating staff computers, cleaning Chromebooks and other mobile devices, and handling any staff moves that occur within the buildings. It is now also common place to set up 160 Chromebooks in preparation for the incoming 6th and 9th grade students.

Luckily, the most laborious part of setting up that many Chromebooks is just the unboxing. We use a tool called the Centipede which performs the virtual set up piece of the Chromebook for us. All necessary set up information is stored on a USB device and that automatically walks through the set up and enrollment process of the Chromebook into our network. If you are interested, there is a video embedded below that shows our set up process.

It only took Garrick and I about 8 hours total to set up 160 devices. If we would not have the automation in our deployment process, that time could go well up to 24-32 hours.

This summer, we installed a new phone system. The new phone system runs completely on the network now rather than requiring analog telephone lines to go wherever a phone is needed. This makes it much more dynamic especially when staff switch rooms. New extensions were assigned as part of the new system, and you can find them here. They no longer correlate to building and room numbers.

We also changed Internet service providers. Our Internet used to be purchased through the State of Minnesota, and then transported up to our server room through Mediacom. While this worked well, we were approached by Arvig earlier this calendar year and they offered us Internet service. After much discussion within our department and through the Technology Committee, the school district decided to go ahead and proceed with Arvig as our new Internet provider for the next few years. We now receive 1 gigabit per second download and upload speed in comparison to 200 megabits per second from the State. Money is also saved as this new service costs less per month, and we benefit by getting bigger bandwidth to help improve the speed of our Internet access.

One last exciting project that is currently taking place is a new fiber line being installed between our secondary and elementary buildings. Arvig also assisted us in getting this through. We currently have our own fiber line in place, but it will not be able to handle increased speeds as we progress into the future. This new line, which is also privately owned by the school district will be able to handle any speeds we need it to as time goes on. It is exciting to see this being completed as the fiber link was the last part of our network that needed to be improved.

BulldogTech, the technology department also moved offices. We are now located in the Middle School Media Center. This new location makes us more easily accessible and approachable. Our new digs are nice and we look forward to using it as our office.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at Have a great day!

Another Year of Technology Ahead!

by Garrick Grace
District Technology Integration Specialist
ISD 741 Technology Department Mission:
To provide reliable technology services to help students achieve the greatest possible learning.

Another school year is around the corner and it is time to update everyone on the happenings within the technology department. First, I want to point out that technology in education has changed considerably in the past ten years. Therefore, the technology department decided to do two blog posts this week. This article will focus more on the curriculum and instruction side of technology, whereas Jonah Johnson will write an article on the more technical side of things.

On Wednesday, August 1st, parents of students in grades 6-12 should have received an email discussing the new Chromebook insurance and procedures. Let me summarize by saying we already have confirmed insurance plans with fifty percent of our sixth and ninth grade students, along with any new students in grades 6-12! However, that means we still need to hear from the other fifty percent regarding Chromebook insurance for the 2018-2019 school year. By CLICKING HERE, you can find out all of the important information regarding Chromebook insurance. For students with their paperwork done, they will receive their Chromebook during the first week of school.

Technology in our society continues to advance at exponential rates. This school year we will do our best to keep everyone informed on what is happening within the school and reach out to different community groups to be transparent and work together to promote healthy digital citizens. Digital citizenship will be promoted twice as much this school year compared to last year. In the end, digital citizenship is an extension of being a good citizen in general. In the image below, the updated International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) student standards highlight the seven main areas. You can also CLICK HERE to go directly to the ISTE website to read more.
Digital Citizenship for Students
We will do our best as a school district to promote and educate students using the ISTE standards this school year. It is vital to understand the power of technology in the 21st century, but it is equally as important to understand proper safety when using technology. This year do not hesitate to reach out to the technology department with questions or concerns in relation to technology use by students and teachers. There has never been a more exciting time in education regarding technology. Join us in helping students achieve the greatest possible learning this school year! 

Go Bulldogs!

You can reach Garrick Grace directly at

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Stay Current With Activity Schedules

With the upcoming school year it is time to update the online schedule notifications.  Often, due to conflicts of many types, game locations or times are changed on very short notice.  Hopefully we are doing the best that we can to get these changes communicated to our loyal fans. A person can subscribe to notifications via email and text message to all schedule changes in just a couple of minutes time by following these steps.  Schedule reminders can also be set up so that event reminders are emailed or sent out via text even if there are no changes. Updating is important to make sure you are getting the information for specific sports, and not getting the information from previous years.

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Paynesville on the list of schools at the right hand side
  3. Click on the “notify me” button located on the upper right hand corner next to the calendar
  4. When selecting which activities to be notified about be sure to select any category that may encompass your sport. (For example- if interested in selecting 9th grade baseball, make sure to select Baseball C, and Baseball 9th grade)  You will still only receive one notification but each school might label their program differently.  After selecting all desired activities click continue 
  5. Choose to be notified of upcoming games through email by selecting an advance time (leave blank if you don’t want the reminder) BE SURE TO CHECK THE BOX ON THE RIGHT TO BE NOTIFIED OF SCHEDULE CHANGES
  6. Enter your name, email address, and cell phone number (optional- necessary to receive text updates) and create your account.
After an account is created it will need to be updated to stay current with the age level of interest.  In order to stop receiving these messages just log back in on the website and un-select the boxes for the previous categories and change them to any new categories of interest.  
If anyone has any questions concerning the schedules for our activities feel free to email Max Meagher at or call the activity office 320-243-3715. 

 I look forward to seeing you in the stands. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

"The Best Way To Plan For Your Future Is To Create It"

“ The Best Way To Plan For Your Future Is To Create It.”
(Abraham Lincoln)

Our building goal is to help students link what they are doing in the classroom to real career choices and career pathways. Over the past few years, we have developed five Project Lead the Way Programs. Human Body Systems, Robotics, Modeling and Design, Principles of Medical Science and Principles of Engineering. All of these classes receive college credit and have daily classroom experiences linking to numerous careers in the medical, robotics and engineering fields.

This year we are looking to develop another new program with a specific career focus.  This has become possible through the help of Mike Guenther and the Paynesville Community Foundation.  We will be transitioning our current Land Transportation class from an exploratory auto mechanics course to an ASE Repair and Light Maintenance Certification Course through SCTCC. Students will have the opportunity to earn college credit from SCTCC and a national certification from the ASE organization.  Students will learn industry relevant trade skills and job-related soft skills. Any students wanting more information on the program should stop in the secondary school office.

      School registration is also just around the corner. On Wednesday, August 8th from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Registration will begin by the auditorium. We are asking all parents and students to park by door 1. Door 4, by the secondary school office will be locked in order to ease congestion during registration.  Our Paynesville Royalty will be collecting backpacks and school supplies for the Community Center to help support students in need. Please bring any items you wish to donate to registration.

Lorie Floura, Secondary Principal

Monday, July 30, 2018

It's a Busy Place!

     When I was an elementary student growing up in Richmond, the last day of school was literally the last day of school!  When that final bell rang, I ran as fast as I could to my bike, threw my baseball glove on the handle bars and off I went.  From there I spent my summer playing baseball, fishing and hanging out with friends that lived within the radius of where I was allowed to ride my bike.  The elementary school was virtually "closed up" for the summer.  Things have certainly changed!
     When the last bell rings at PAES, the building does not go into hibernation!  Instead, the building becomes a place where students spend an entire day attending our PAWS program.  It is a place that serves thousands of free breakfasts and lunches.  It is a place where students attend community education classes, summer school, theater camp and VBS.  It is also a place where custodians and contractors tend to the building's many needs.
     Registration and open house are rapidly approaching.  When I was a child, Open House meant meeting new classmates and catching up with friends who lived outside my biking radius.  Today, it seems more like an extension to the many activities available for our students.
     Soon, school will officially start and the building will be full of activity, but in today's world that is nothing new!

David Oehrlein, Elementary Principal

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How Do Career Pathways Fit in Today's School System?

How Do Career Pathways Fit in Today’s School System?

by Matt Bullard

Sitting here today, I am twenty-five years removed from High School.  I also happen to come from a ‘split family’.  What I mean by a split family is that my mother and I both pursued careers in public education.  My father and brother journeyed through the private sector with careers in insurance and health care.  This, ‘split’, creates its share of robust discussion at family gatherings and holidays.  Without doubt, the question, ‘What has changed in public education over the last twenty-five years?’, is raised.  This question undoubtedly generates many answers.  In fact, most responses will be grounded in an individual's personal experience.

One element impacting public education that has changed over the last twenty-five years is the job market.  Generations of Americans are graduating from high school, pursuing advanced training and degrees with the hope to position themselves in the job market to secure the career of their choosing.  The job market today is different than the job market when I was in high school.  In the last 10 years, the following jobs have been created:
     Application Developer
     Social Media Developer
     Uber Driver
     Driverless Car Engineer
     Cloud Computing Specialist
     Big Data Analyst / Data Scientist
     Sustainability Manager
     Youtube Content Creator
     Drone Operator
This list is far from exhaustive.  It is just a small sample of the jobs that are now occupying the market place.  I am sure others could add additional new jobs in their industry as well.  Clearly, none of these jobs existed at the time of my high school graduation. Furthermore, I would venture a guess that none of my classmates, or I, would have guessed that these careers would be a possibility. 

To further complicate matters, the main goal of high schools in Minnesota, and across the nation, twenty-five years ago was to develop students for colleges and universities.  In fact, I would argue that most schools systems defined college quite narrowly.  In many cases, college was viewed as a four year baccalaureate producing institution.  My high school experience was a reflection of this definition.  Coursework was crammed with the academic foundation required for my success at college.  Generally speaking, in my case, it was successful.  But that model may be outdated.  Today’s high school students need options.  The job market demands far more than academic skills. 

Enter career pathways.  At the core of all pathways is a rigorous and relevant commitment to academic and technical literacy.  These skills are fundamental in today’s society and particular our rapidly evolving job market.  Paynesville Area Schools is beginning the process of developing career pathways for students to explore while in school.  The Minnesota Department of Education has provided a useful illustration defining the career fields and clusters. 

Our plan as we become intentional about preparing students for college and careers after high school is to provide students an opportunity to explore different career fields while creating partnerships to the pathway of their choosing.  These partnerships may include area colleges and training centers along with local and regional businesses.  The overarching goal is to provide opportunities for all students to access a rigorous and relevant education while fostering the individual passions within all students. 

Back to the original question, What has changed in Public Education?  In my opinion, education has moved away from an ‘one-size fits most’ approach.  Career pathways is one example how Paynesville Area Schools can offer a rigorous and relevant education that develops the unique passions of each student.   The conversations about career pathways are just beginning at Paynesville Area Schools. 

Go Bulldogs!


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Welcome to the NEW PAS Bulldog News Blog!

Welcome to the New - PAS Bulldog News Blog.  To stay up to date on all of our Bulldog News, please subscribe to our Blog by entering your email in the address bar on the right side of this page.  This Blog will be updated frequently throughout the School Year. 

Everything is going well

We are already a quarter of the way done with the school year. Students started their second quarter of classes last week Tuesday, the 6th. ...