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 technology@isd741.org. 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 jjohnson@isd741.org. 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 ggrace@isd741.org

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 www.centralmnconference.org
  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 mmeagher@isd741.org or call the activity office 320-243-3715. 

 I look forward to seeing you in the stands. 
GO BULLDOGS!

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


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. ...