Rachel Server – Big hit with OYA Geek Squad

Camp Tillamook is an Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) transitional program designed to help the youth served become better prepared for transitioning back into the community. Camp Tillamook is 10 minutes from the Oregon coast in Tillamook, OR.  The Camp T program offers K-12, College, Vocational Skills and Work Experience.

One element of the program includes training youth up to repair and re-purpose computers and become CompTIA A+ Certified.  This class has earned the nickname as the “OYA Geek Squad.”  A small group of youth interested in pursuing careers in the IT field have banned together to re-purpose Oregon Department of Corrections computers and insert them on the living units across the 10 OYA correctional sites in Oregon.

Recently the OYA Geek Squad learned of the Rachel Server (by World Possible) from the NORSC website (see Rachel, a pre-packaged offline server). The OYA Geek Squad decided to look pilot the Rachel Server at the Camp T location.  The youth went to work re-purposing some DOC micro-XT cases for the cottage.  One was fitted with a 2TB drive and the remaining 4 computers retained the original 40GB drives.

The youth incorporated the Rachel Server content on the server.  Also the Rachel Server is very customizable and easy to prepare, upload and index with a little HTML experience.  So the OYA Geek Squad supplemented the content with additional college courses from Education Portal, Ted Talks and OYA’s own content for job readiness skills development. During the initial roll out, it was well received by the youth at Camp T.  Many youth have been see looking through the content on the Rachel Server and are impressed with the volume of content.  There is content from Wikipedia, Kahn Academy Lite, Medical encyclopedia, K-12 text books, literary books and novels, typing course, music theory and much more.  The OYA Geek Squad is considering adding more content to the Rachel Server to enhance the offline learning experience.

The OYA Geek Squad was so happy with the pilot they produced a video of their experience with the Rachel Server.  This video was written, filmed and produced by the OYA Geek Squad youth in order to share the Rachel Server with other programs and agencies.  They have also re-purposed another DOC computer with Linux Mint 17 and loaded the Rachel Server on the computer for them to evaluate in the adult system.  This may open the door for redirecting a lot of state surplus computers back into institutions and empower those incarcerated with the tools to help become competitive and successful when they return to their communities.

NORSC will be hosting a webinar on February 19th beginning at 11 AM PST to provide an overview of the implementation of the Rachel server. Jeremy Swartz founder and developer of the Rachel Server will be attending this webinar as well.

For more information about the Rachel Server or attending the webinar, please submit your request below: