Every once in a while here at GoGuardian, we come across a story that's begging to be shared.
Nestled in the Northwest corner of Montana, less than 12 miles from the Canadian border, is a small region called Yaak. The words “rugged” and “remote” are often used to describe Yaak, which is named after a Native American word meaning "Arrow". A number of its 248 residents enjoy the solitude, and many are even "off the grid".
Within this small community are two beautiful little wood cabins with a very surprising use: they are actually the Yaak K-8 Elementary School—which serves 3 elementary-aged children grades Kindergarten, 4th, and 7th—and the teacher’s cabin. Older children drive more than an hour away to attend Troy High School in the slightly larger town of Troy, Montana.
When GoGuardian had the opportunity to visit Yaak, Roy Richardson, the Technology Coordinator for Troy Public Schools, showed us the rich history, and amazing landscapes surrounding the area. We were able to hear the wonderful story of how Yaak students and their teacher—all of whom still get their heat from a wood burning stove within the cabin—are using technology to improve learning in at their school.
Cell phones don’t work in Yaak; Internet access can be spotty, and is only available through satellite. Even in this remote setting, blended learning—the combination of face-to-face instruction with collaborative, online learning resources—is able to thrive. Students use Chromebooks to access educational websites, collaborate in Google Docs, and communicate with each other and their teacher, allowing them to keep pace with changing technology and the progress of other districts throughout the state and nation.
Kootenai River. Yaak, MT
Since online access to information is so important for such a remote school district, we decided to donate the GoGuardian suite of products to Yaak Elementary school in order to ensure their students were able to use their Chromebooks in the most safe and efficient environment, helping the educators get the best out of their students—and their technology—every day.
We’re happy to have been able to help out this tiny school district that is showing so much initiative in equipping its students to be responsible digital citizens and future leaders in our increasingly online world. It’s all part of our mission to help unlock student potential through technology.