News Release
Release No.STELPRD4015736
ContactAdam Czech(651) 602-7799
DEER RIVER, Minn., Mar 28, 2012 --

@@Contact: Adam Czech, Public Information Coordinator

Phone: (651) 602-7799 (office); (651) 788-5307 (cell) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


USDA Officials Visit Deer River High School to Highlight $1 Million Distance Learning Grant

DEER RIVER, Minn., March 1 – USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited Deer River High School today to tour its tele-presence classroom and highlight how a $1 million grant will help the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative (IASC) improve educational opportunities using distance learning technology at 21 schools in North Central Minnesota.

“This is a great example of innovation and collaboration that produces results,” Landkamer said. “Students need access to quality educational opportunities and the latest technology, regardless of where they live. The IASC is making that happen and this grant supports those efforts.”

Grant funds will be used to install technology that enables teachers and students to conduct video conferences, access core and advanced courses at Itasca Community College and offer live classroom sessions to multiple sites. Native American and cultural courses led by an Ojibwe teacher also will be offered.

The IASC was formed in 2005 to bring new focus to a partnership of area school districts seeking increased educational opportunities for students.

In addition to new opportunities for advanced courses and educational opportunities, the distance learning technology increases access to specialized courses for students entering technical fields, enhances training and advanced degree opportunities for local teachers and offset cuts to foreign language courses by using video courses led by staff from a nearby community college.

Distance tutoring and remediation courses will be available to students struggling with coursework. The network also will install a content server for recording and streaming video.

The grants come from Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program, which provides funding for expanded educational opportunities and increases access to quality healthcare in rural and remote areas.

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The IASC grants were two of 100 grants announced totaling over $30 million in 34 states in December of 2011. Since 2009, over $5 million DLT grants have been awarded throughout rural Minnesota.

To learn more about the DLT program and other Rural Development programs, visit, or call the local office in Bemidji at (218) 751-1942, ext. 4.

To learn more about the IASC visit