How important is technology in education?  Let's ask this rural Montana school district.

Date Published
Sep 15, 2016 7:00:00 AM
Reading Time
Reading Time: 2 min


Located in the eastern area of Montana, near the North Dakota border on MT highway 16. Savage is a small, isolated farming community. Savage School District is all too familiar with the technology challenges rural communities face: location, resources, and funding. 

Competing for access to resources, funding and the professionals that can implement, support and manage an idea can be much more difficult for rural communities. This is especially true of all things IT related, as the appeal of city living and compensation often pull homegrown talent away from the communities they grew up in. Pine Cove Consulting recognized this trend at its inception and has strived to partner with and support rural communities, bringing top tier technology so that their students have equal access and exposure to learning opportunities. 

Lynne Peterson took over as the superintendent for Savage School District in 2013, Lynne learned first-hand how far behind her district was. She began looking for solutions and partners to upgrade Savage’s teaching and learning experience.

What are some of challenges you face being the superintendent of a district in a rural community?

“Geographically, we’re in the Bakken oil field and the oil companies snatched up all the techs. We have not had a technology person for probably six years. Previous superintendents came in and thought they had a little bit of tech knowledge which is always dangerous.

How did you hear about PCC?

“I first met Matt at a tech meeting in Sidney where they were talking about the SBAC testing and I knew that there was no way my school could support what was being mandated by the state. He saw the look of panic on my face and set up a meeting.”

What was your first impression of the Pine Cove approach?

“I felt Pine Cove looked at Savage School's challenges, did a needs assessment, and fit a solution to us.”

How did you start this tech overhaul?

“We basically had to start from ground zero. Network cabling services first but Matt had to come to a few board meetings to talk them into it.

How did you fund this project?

“We got the network cabling services done with some oil money and Matt helped me organize my thoughts on a Mill Levy for technology. We passed a ten-year mill tech to cover the Hardware as a Service (HaaS) cost of the endpoints and servers.  It was a lot of help that Matt was a presence here with my board members; walked around with Char, my board chair and had constant dialogue with them. Through the board members, the teachers and the kids expressing their frustrations about how the system was always letting us down and how we could never count on it we got it across that we had out grown our system.”  

How do you feel about Pine Cove service since the install?

“I love it. I have monthly meetings with Brandon Bassett (Pine Cove's head of account management) where I can discuss what is going on.  Brandon is awesome and gets things done.

What would you tell someone who asked about your Pine cove experience?

“Call Pine Cove and sit down and talk to them.  They will take you by the hand and guide you through what you need.

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