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Schools share Internet system

Maureen Miller, technical coordinator of the Central Minnesota Educational Telecommunications System, introduced herself and the CMETS program to the Osakis School Board at its Monday, April 8 meeting.

CMETS includes eight area school districts, including Osakis, Sauk Centre, Melrose, Brandon-Evansville, Alexandria, Albany, Minnewaska, and Parkers Prairie. The consortium was formed in the late 1980s in order to share Internet and ITV classes, Miller said.

She described the video, wireless, voice, data center and technical collaboration phases of the consortium.

More than 13,500 students and staff use the Internet "ring" on a daily basis, Miller said. Each school district pays for Internet, based on its use. The cost is divided by each school for the equipment leased from Arvig.

All eight schools have wireless control systems, optimized for 1:1 environments.

Four districts, including Osakis, Sauk Centre, Alexandria and Brandon-Evansville, are on a Cisco Server, which eliminates long-distance telephone charges between the four schools, along with video phones, instant messaging, voicemail and E-911 calls.

Data centers are located in Osakis, Alexandria and Melrose, for phone, wireless, core routing, backup and directory systems. There is room for expansion.

The main center in Alexandria is climate controlled and backed up by a generator.

Sue Laubach is the Osakis tech coordinator, and each school has a similar person.

Tech collaboration allows CMETS districts to qualify for Telecom Equity Aid and additional E-Rate savings, which amounts to a 40 percent savings in buying power, Miller explained.

Since the incident in October, 2017 when Parkers Prairie's system went down, causing Osakis' system to be down for two hours, Arvig has stepped up and completely redone the system. During the incident, the Osakis system had to re-boot, and the stack "blew up."

"Now it is much better, it's a more stable network today because of this," Miller said.

Following Miller's presentation, Osakis Supt. Randy Bergquist commented that many Minnesota schools, including Osakis, are beginning to do MCA testing on Chromebooks, which is possible because of the technology in the schools.

Principal reports

Elementary Principal Shad Schmidt reported that KoKo Sandaker, a third grader in Mrs. Schmiesing's class, was the March Win The Day winner. More than 150 students were nominated in March, and eight postcards were sent home.

Fourth graders toured Target Field in Minneapolis on an educational tour March 26, and put into use math and science information.

MCA tests in grades 3-6 for reading and math began April 9; and fifth graders will take the MCA science tests in April. A kickoff-pep fest was held preceding the MCA testing as a way to get students inspired to give the testing their best efforts. There will be incentives for the students' efforts, and those who make their goals will be entered in prize drawings.

Grades 6-7-8 who show good attendance, attitude, with no office or discipline issues will receive T-shirts and make a trip to ValleyFair. Sixth graders will visit the Minnesota State Capitol April 11.

High School Principal Tim Roggenbuck reported prom is April 28, and the spring music concerts have been moved to April this year. The band concert is April 16, and the choir concert on April 23.

High School MCA testing will include reading in 10th grade, math in 11th grade, and science after 10th grade.

Snow Day, a third quarter incentive, was well received. It was an event brought back to reward a dramatic change in grades earned.

Only two students participated in the statewide walkout.

Next year's schedule is complete.

Student reps' report

Riley Moundsden, senior board representative, and Elana Eckel, junior board representative, reported on March activities.

Riley thanked the School Board for its recommendation in his application for a Minnesota School Boards Association scholarship. He gave a brief report on the Close-Up program he attended along with seven other seniors, and teacher Brad Hoffarth, March 18-23.

Teacher Hoffarth commented that the Osakis students represented the state of Minnesota with pride during the Close-Up events.

Emily reported both the Osakis band and choir scored Superior ratings in the recent music contests. Solo and ensemble contest are still to be held.

Junior class members will be taking the ACT tests, and work is being done on the prom.

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