After hopes of replacing cameras at the middle/high school all summer, the Wadena-Deer Creek board approved a Tech Check video surveillance system on Aug. 16. The goal is to make accessing and reviewing video footage easier for administration.

At the June school board meeting, technology director Vince Hinojos and middle/high school principal Tyler Church shared about the “woes” of the current system. Church described the cameras as lacking functionality and others as “useless.” The videos can be accessed by authorized people, and only through a specific computer at the school.

The search for the new system showed how videos can be accessed remotely, with better image quality and without having to view hours of footage for a few moments of time. The district is replacing 64 cameras at the middle/high school. Wadena County also uses the Tech Check system.

While the camera quality sits at four megapixels, it is a needed improvement from the previous system, as Hinojos said. The cameras are expected to last 10 years.

The camera equipment, hardware and installation will cost $49,575.63. A three-year subscription and hardware with the Meraki system were expected to cost $41,424.80. The installation costs caused the delay in the board’s decision. Rather than a subscription, the Tech Check system is a one-time license fee that can include up to 100 cameras. The district would be interested in additional cameras outside, though no new cameras are planned. The district could use capital or long-term facilities maintenance funds.

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Elementary principal Louis Rutten said the cameras at the elementary are set for awhile longer, though it requires accessing videos through a digital video recorder.

WDC baseball team honored

As section champions and state tournament participants, the baseball team received thanks for representing the school and community well in their successful season. With packed stands, exciting final outs and the joy of the team, coach Kyle Dykhoff described the championship game as a “baseball game for the ages.”

“It’s been a long road to get where we did this spring,” Dykhoff said. “These guys have been in the program from tee ball to little league to Babe Ruth all the way to the varsity and it’s pretty special to see them breakthrough. We’ve had a lot of teams that were extremely close to the state tournament and we could taste it and this team finally pushed through.”

The team also thanks the parents, coaches, umpires and the community for their support.

“I’m proud of what we have (with WDC baseball) and what these kids have accomplished this season,” Dykhoff said.

11 teachers welcomed

With the largest group of new teachers in his time as a principal and superintendent, Lee Westrum and the board welcomed 11 teachers. There are eight new teachers at the elementary and three at the middle/high school.

The teachers are completing their orientation and working with teacher mentors.

Wadena-Deer Creek school board member Barb Tumberg welcomes new elementary teacher Andrea Skillingstad on Aug. 16, 2021.
Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal
Wadena-Deer Creek school board member Barb Tumberg welcomes new elementary teacher Andrea Skillingstad on Aug. 16, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal

The board also approved:

  • The hires of Trent Becker (Transportation Director), Lydia Rutten (C Volleyball Coach), Val Christensen (Custodian), Abby Lenz (Elementary Paraprofessional), Grace Christianson (Cheer Coach) and Sheena Hagen (Elementary Paraprofessional).

  • The retirements and resignations of Greg Kramer (Transportation Director), Kevin Tendall (Bus Driver), Doug Jones (Bus Driver), Tony Uselman (Bus Driver), Heather Lehmkuhl (Elementary Paraprofessional) and Tawni Kyllonen (Elementary Paraprofessional).

  • Paying the district’s bills totaling $761,001.06.

  • Accepting donations of $31,324.08 for sports, the fishing team and the FCCLA national trip.

  • The Concern for Youth program sponsorship for $2,790, which helps kids stay out of the legal system. The program partners with Todd-Wadena Community Corrections for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Youth worker Dan Huebsch meets with students on a weekly basis, though Church said he is very flexible and will meet with students as many times as needed. He also shares presentations on topics such as vaping, sexting, internet safety, bullying and being a positive member of the community in area schools. Both schools and cities fund the program.

  • The student handbooks for the elementary and middle/high schools. The handbooks are available on the school website.

  • The 2021-22 Minnesota State High School League membership for approximately $4,500. The final cost depends on the number of student participants. The cost decreased from last year’s $6,325 that was high because of finance losses with the league due to the pandemic.

The board also had a closed session on a purchase agreement for the Deer Creek school.