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Copper Country educators providing resources to students, families

I have been in education for 32 years now and have witnessed many challenges throughout my career. I can honestly say this is the toughest situation I have faced. There is no script or playbook to rely on.

This is truly an unprecedented time.

Even though the situation is difficult, Copper Country educators are figuring this out. Schools are busy putting together learning plans that describe how they will reach all students. The plans may be different depending on the student or school, but in the end, education is and will be delivered.

I want to highlight some great examples of collaboration among the Copper Country Schools. The first program I want to highlight is the CCISD Supporting Kids through Radio project. This is a joint effort between the Copper Country ISD, area schools, and Houghton Community Broadcasting. Spearheaded by Houghton Elementary School counselor Micah Stipech and the team of Mental Health Professionals at the CCISD, the program is designed to help kids during the COVID-19 Pandemic through stories and answering questions.

Short radio segments are airing on 97.7 FM on weekdays at 8:40 a.m. Each segment features an area educator reading or sharing a story and then answering questions that have been sent in by kids. Students in grades K-12 can email questions to kids@copperisd.org, Questions can be related to school, emotions that they may be feeling, life in general and any other concerns they might have. Aired segments will be available on the radio station’s web page (thewolf.com). The most amazing part of this project was how fast our local educators signed up to read. We plan to have stories read until our scheduled last day of school on June 10.

The next project I want to highlight was spearheaded by Angela Emblad, the CCISD’s literacy coach. Emblad stated, “Teachers want to reach and teach their students. This task is a large one right now, but our local teachers are doing something about it.”

Emblad, along with each local school’s Literacy Leaders, are helping teachers to create and share videos of content related read-alouds, phonological awareness lessons, and much more. As many teachers did not have a chance to bring home their classroom materials, this program emphasizes the need to work together to help our local students and families. The goal for this project is to have a bank of local resources for teachers to share with families. Our hope is to have them all up on the Copper Country ISD website for anyone to use.

Another project that the CCISD is working on is a “Promoting STEM Through Literature” program. This program will be offered through the REMC Association. It’s based on a collection of books that help teachers engage students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) topics. Steve Kass from REMC1 and Emily Gochis from the Western U.P. MiSTEM Network have teamed up to help deliver this project remotely for the students of the Western U.P. They plan to offer our local students video recordings of a book, along with focus and discussion questions, and STEM project ideas. This project and the previous projects will be linked on the CCISD website. Please visit www.Copperisd.org.

I have just described three great projects in which many Copper Country educators have come together and collaborated to help reach students across the region. I know that students miss their teachers, friends and school in general. I also know that our teachers miss their students. Every year, teachers and students create bonds with each other and this pandemic has created a disruption in those bonds. During the next couple of months, teachers will do their best to reach out and continue to build those bonds. The Copper Country ISD is here to help all of our local schools, students and the community as a whole by facilitating projects described in this article. Stay safe!

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