Norby discusses addition security upgrades

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The hiring of two social media coordinators has proven to provide an increased viewership of the accomplishments of students, updates to schedules and school information, along with increased traffic among Facebook posts that benefit the district in showcasing the positive aspects of both the elementary and high school activities.

By Robert Williams


Frazee-Vergas School Superintendent Terry Karger lauded the work of Social Media Center Paraprofessionals Michelle Sharp and Markay Larson in sharing information and successes from students in both schools during the Frazee-Vergas School Board meeting on Monday, April 7.

The duo split up the coverage with Sharp concentrating on academics and Larson on athletics and activities. Posts are currently shared on Facebook and Instagram.

“The goal is to do a little bragging, advertising and informing,” said Sharp. “I think our presence on social media is important so that we put a positive message out there that is seen consistently. I feel like if we don’t have a presence we leave the opportunity for others to control our narrative.”

Since adding the efforts of Sharp and Larson, the school’s online presence has seen an uptick in response and acknowledgement.

Sharp thanked Technology Coordinator Gretchen Norby for her support.

The school also has a limited number of approved social media users, other than the two paras, that included Superintendent Karger, his assistant Stacey Foss, both Principals Smith and Nagel, Activities Director Nick Courneya, Sharp, Markay and the Community Education program.

“It’s really taken off and that has been fun to see —how much positive feedback we’ve gotten from the community and parents,” said Norby. “Something as simple as putting our student of the month out there, it just shares like wildfire. Being able to share those positives and brand ourselves and brag about the things that are happening in our schools that are really worth celebrating has been such an awesome thing.”

Norby applauded Markay’s efforts of focusing much of her work on the elementary activities and athletics that don’t often get a lot of social media coverage.

“Props to these ladies; they have done such a great job with it,” Norby said. 

Norby noted that using Facebook and Instagram tends to split the coverage between older and younger generations. According to analytics, there are a lot of students following the school district on Instagram, liking, commenting and sharing, while parents and grandparents tend to migrate more to the Facebook side.

The accounts can be found at and, respectively.

Tech upgrades

Norby also reported on notable upgrades that are planned in the coming future, especially, the addition of new digital video recorders and a more up-to-date camera system.

The security system was updated this past fall. Plans for this summer are to add 20 new cameras, 10 at each school. The high school currently has 50 cameras and the elementary has 12. Most of those cameras are analog and dated and the addition of new digital cameras has showcased the need to continue replacing the old with the new.

Digital cameras also include motion sensors and following ability, whereby a person entering the school will automatically be tracked and they pass through the building encountering other lenses on the system.

Norby also reported on the life cycles of computers for students at both the high school and elementary. For instance, high school students utilize one laptop on a three-year schedule and hopes are that hardware improvements will allow them to add one more year to that cycle.

The district is operating with an outdated, analog phone system that needs to be upgraded.

“It’s becoming increasingly unreliable,” Norby said. “We need to look at a new system.”

Norby has received three quotes so far but Norby is still researching. Arvig is the current provider.

The last planned update is to the school website.

“We’ve been really lucky these last couple years; we’ve used a Google site as our website,” Norby said. “It’s been really good for us, but a shift has occurred as you’re seeing more websites becoming marketing tools.”

Investing in a new website, which will tie into apps that families can use, is helpful to get information from the school to parents in a rapid fashion.

“We’re expanding our ways of communicating and we certainly want that for our families in the district,” Norby said. 

The new website will also remove some software programs that are currently separate from the website and cost extra.

Elementary Phy Ed

The board approved a recommendation by the administration, at the elementary level, to transition to everyday physical education for students by adding a physical education teacher.

By a majority vote, elementary classroom teachers supported transitioning to everyday physical education for their students.

The change was brought up by the teaching staff after a retirement announcement in the art department. In turn, staff agreed to deliver the needed art to their students.

“This was not an easy decision,” said board member Tammie Frank.

The purpose of this recommendation is to increase physical activity, daily, for students. It is not intended to lessen the importance or value of visual arts. A committed effort to embed weekly fine art activities, delivered by classroom teachers, is expected and will be monitored through the posting of weekly lesson plans.

“Our art facility will remain a source of pride and will be utilized through online sign-up format for our staff,” the proposal stated. “In addition we hope to tap into the expertise of the secondary visual arts teacher and possibly some of her talented students for guidance. If supported, we will monitor over the course of the school year and provide updates throughout.”

Board member Daneele Shipman letting the staff pursue the solution was necessary and reevaluating the decision over time will be important.

Chairman Kimberly Antonsen echoed that the change will be evaluated and is not a permanent change. Elementary Principal Travis Nagel echoed those sentiments.

The board approved the change unanimously.

Hornet Pride

The board approved the following donations to the district:

• $500 from Thaddeus and Kristin Helmers to be applied to negative lunch account balances for families who have qualified for Free/Reduced meals.

• $500 from the Detroit Lakes Rotary Breakfast Club for the Reading Program.


The board approved the following hires:

• Maegen Reller, Junior High softball coach

• Hailey Brower, Head Dance coach

• Chrissy Edwards, Head Volleyball coach

Contract employees

Contracts were continued to the following staff who have completed three years of service in the district or have been tenured in another Minnesota school district and have successfully taught one year in our district: 

• Mike Sievert, Elementary Education

• Karli Wherley, Elementary Education 


The district received the Enrollment Options Applications for enrollment out of the District to: Detroit Lakes (3) and into the District: none.

Upcoming activities

• This year’s United Way of Becker County Day of Caring is Wednesday, May 8. Staff will be contacting those who have been provided services in the past to schedule for this year’s event.

• The Scholarship Awards Ceremony will be Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.