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Polar Communications ushering in school TV channels

From North Dakota Living staff reports

Polar Communications visits Cass school to providing training on operating their TV Channel
On the day Polar Communications visited Northern Cass School to provide training on operating the TV channel, Superintendent Cory Steiner observed students editing video footage. Inset photo: NCS student Joshua Austin does some video recording, which students later edited for broadcast. (PHOTOS BY NDAREC/KENT BRICK )

Across the nation, October is celebrated as “Co-op Month” to recognize and applaud member-owned businesses.The cooperative foundations of member ownership and control continue to be central to providing modern telecommunications service in rural America.
As part of the broadband connectivity revolution, telecommunications cooperatives are advancing, modern, multi-channel cable television service for their members.
Now, in the tradition of cooperative membership control, students are operating television channels for their schools, which are part of rural telecom cooperative cable television packages.
Polar Communications, Park River, has recently been facilitating area high schools in the operation of cable television channels dedicated to each school. The channels are added to the Polar Cablevision Network the cooperative makes available to its members and the communities it serves.
To help a school establish and operarte its own dedicated cable TV channel, Polar Communications and the participating school collaborate closely. Polar Communications wires the school and donates all of the equipment, wiring and software. It also conducts a “training camp” for students on the operation of the broadcast production resources.

Thus far, Polar Communications has helped the following schools establish their own school cable channels (school name, television channel name):

  • Dakota Prairie School – Knight Vision
  • Park River Area School – Aggie Vision
  • Valley-Edinburg School – Titan Vision
  • Cavalier Public School – Tornado Vision
  • Lakota Public School – Raider Vision
  • Northern Cass School – Jaguar Vision
  • Drayton Public School – Drayton Global Vision; channel launch scheduled for Oct. 6

On these channels, schools are broadcasting school announcements, sports highlights, special assembly features, band and choir concerts, athletic calendars, lunch menus, homecoming highlights and more.
Last August, Polar Communications staff conducted a “training camp” at Northern Cass School for high school students and staff. The school launched  Jaguar Vision 79, the school’s dedicated cable TV channel, on Sept. 9.
Northern Cass school Superintendent Cory Steiner expressed appreciation for what Polar Communications is doing with the school.
“Polar Communications has been as helpful and as willing to help as I have ever seen in an organization,” Steiner said. “Every time they’ve walked in our school, it’s been about ‘How can we help your kids and your community have a better experience?’ ”
Polar Communications CEO Karl Blake indicates the cooperative has enjoyed  these collaborations with local schools.
“We didn’t anticipate when we launched our first school channel that it would develop into a program across our entire service territory,” Blake said. “We’ve really enjoyed building this opportunity with our schools.”    
Steiner pointed out that integration of technology-based learning, once downplayed, is now central to education.
“Now, schools look at information technology with this idea: Let’s teach kids digital citizenship, and let’s let kids use the skills they have – their creativity and their communication skills, using the information technology to enhance learning,” Steiner said.