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BRAINERD SCHOOL BOARD: Committee hears from technology consultants

The Brainerd School Board Curriculum Committee Tuesday heard from representatives from Cisco Systems, Inc. on the educational benefits of upgrading the district’s technology.

Steve Velner and Ed Vince of Cisco spoke to the committee. Velner is a former high school teacher who also sits on the technology advisory task force for the Edina School District, where he has four children who attend school.

Velner told the board how new technologies are transforming the traditional classroom.

Superintendent Steve Razidlo said businesses are now utilizing this type of interconnectivity. For example, he said a Crosby surgeon can consult on a surgery in Australia or a sales presentation in Phoenix, Ariz., can be done in Staples.

Velner said a school district in Arizona has articulation agreements with universities in Minnesota and Wisconsin and is in talks with Duke and Harvard to offer class opportunities for its students. The technology is there and ready for adoption, he said.

Three northern Minnesota school districts are teaching Spanish and Ojibwe via HD video technology, Velner said.

The committee also heard from Deb Lechner, director of teaching and learning, who provided a language arts curriculum update.

Razidlo told the committee that nearly 50 percent of Brainerd High School sophomores are enrolled in pre-Advanced Placement courses.

“It’s the highest number of students opting for that level of rigor that I can ever recall,” Razidlo said.

JODIE TWEED may be reached at or 855-5858.