• All students (291) in grades K-5 participated Monday through Friday in Peaceful Playground activities during recess at Washington Elementary.
  • Good sportsmanship and fair competitive play are the goals.  Students learn to take responsibility for their actions and about compassion for others.
  • Activities included 4-Square, flag football, kickball, basketball, hula-hoops, jump rope, and hop-scotch.  It’s been so fun to watch the kids’ ear-to-ear grins while running from feature to feature on the new playground!
  • The Elementary PTO generously provides Peaceful Playground equipment.
  • ECR Staff also provide post-recess lunch room support for K-5th grades.  2-5 of us help students focus on having time to eat a good lunch and work to promote respectful behavior.


  • 19 members in grades 9 through 12 have participated in Key Club activities.
  • Activities this quarter: October’s focus was the Eliminate Project with Ely Kiwanis.  Through various activities, the students raised $364 to help UNICEF prevent maternal and neonatal tetanus in 3rd world countries!  This amount was sent to purchase the series of 3 vaccinations for 202 people.  In November, they created a series of events that raised $410 to support a classmate’s family after a tragic house fire.  In December, they made 18 fleece blankets to present to children at St. Mary’s in Duluth.  They plan to deliver them in January and pair their trip with volunteering to serve a meal at a soup kitchen.
  • Jill Nocera-Swanson is our club advisor, and meetings are held on Mondays during advisory period.  Occasional weekend meetings allow for more time to plan and organize events.
  • Ely Kiwanis Club supports the Club’s efforts.


  • Our Mentoring Program is growing!  Call 365-5254 if you are interested in becoming a mentor for a young person in Ely!  The mentor role is tremendously rewarding, and we have a lot of fun as a group.
  • Mentor and mentees meet as pairs every week and as a group monthly.  Some youth and adults participate in only the group activities.
    • Sarah Lakosky and Jill Swanson coordinate the Mentoring Program.
    • Group activities included carving pumpkins in October, making Thankful cards for people who have participated in November.  December did not have a group activity because of everything else that was going on.
  • Group mentoring is gaining momentum.  Our plan is to make it very low key and “available when you are”.  The group will change slightly from time to time, but will provide relationships and interactions beneficial to young and old. 


  • Family Resource Facilitator:  Allison Heiman has brought a wealth of training and experience.  She works with students and their families.  In collaboration with school staff, she’ll reach out to families as needs arise.  ECR can help with access to food, information about and access to support groups, and can help do the legwork to connect families with outside-the-school resources needed to support their children.  This effort is supported by the Community Care Team and the Behavioral Health Network and adds a “helping hand” for school staff.  This year’s efforts will include increased attention for pre-school kids.  Allison’s first 3 months were busy with several families new to Ely.


  • ECR Staff are available to help students who return from a prolonged absence from school or a family crisis to catch up with their homework. This activity takes place at the request of school staff or parents and as the student’s schedule allows.  In partnership with the school, we are planning a formal connection with residential treatment facilities to communicate and work together on supporting students who return.
  • Summer Nudging is a new program offered by the Office of Higher Education (OHE). Any student who signs up receives timely texts from OHE reminding them of individualized important points on the timeline associated with their applications for and enrollment in college.
  • The Ely Water Project is up and running. Supported by a grant from St. Louis County through the Burntside Lake Association and technical support from government agencies, other lake associations, and Ely Schools, students are collecting data on aquatic invasive species, native inhabitants, and water chemistry in area lakes.  The database they develop will be available for any student to use for a project of their choice—an exciting new way to prepare for college.  Science teachers Bo DeRemee, Paula Anderson, and Todd Hohenstein are participating, along with Darren Lilja from Lake County Soil and Water/US Forest Service.  The Science Club, advised by Mr. DeRemee, is well-attended, well-structured and well-equipped.
  • College visits are planned for later in the year—perhaps between winter and spring sports seasons.


  • Homework Club is an opportunity for students to receive help in understanding and completing their daily homework.  Grades 3-5 meet after school Monday -Thursday 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Washington Elementary library.  A snack is served!
  • 28 students are signed up this quarter.  Attendance ranged from 5-16 students on any given day.  This year’s theme of reduced homework leaves “room” in the session for students to work on reading fluency.
  • 8 community volunteer tutors helped this quarter—students are benefitting from and appreciating relationships with these adults who are so generous with their time and talent.
  • The format has changed!  With decreased homework, this time period after school now allows time for enrichment activities.  We have stockpiled special activities/fun problems to solve for students who finish their homework before 4:30.  They include building things, solving mysteries, and quiet or partner reading time.  Students are no longer expected to leave when their homework is finished.
  • Sarah Lakosky coordinates Homework Club.  Call 365-5254 if you are interested in being part of our volunteer tutor group.  We have a lot of fun, and the connections made with adults outside the family are so valuable for our kids!


  • 58 students have signed up this school year.
  • Computers and a printer are available to complete assignments in style!
  • Jill Swanson, Master’s Degree in Education, co-ordinates Homework Help.  The students meet Monday – Thursday 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. in the Memorial Media Center.  Math Whiz Jeff Kemmer and Karin Smith, HS Math Corps member, also help out on a volunteer basis nearly every day and can handle any math problem!
  • A snack is served, and the very regular attendance is creating “space” for good relationships to develop.  Excellent communication with school staff and parents has also been a boost to effectiveness.
  • Academic advisory at the end of the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a new routine at school.  Students doing C- or lower work are assigned attendance.  Jill and Allison are helping teachers help those students, too.  There are 35 students assigned to this study period, but attendance is not dependable.  We are working on ideas to make the short time of more value to these students. 


  • “Buddies” is a friendship skills program available to first graders and second graders.  Each group of 5 – 7 students continues for six weeks and builds skills throughout the year through inclusion activities that expand groups of friends over time.
  • 39 first graders have completed the program so far.  Second graders will begin in January.
  • Anti-bullying effort.  The purpose of Buddies is to promote cooperation, respectful communication, teamwork, and establish and maintain healthy friendships.  Students love the short sessions, teachers appreciate what students bring back to the classroom, and parents give rave reviews.
  • “Buddies” is facilitated by Sarah Lakosky.  PBIS Paw Pride and Responsive Classroom programs fit with the Buddies curriculum well.  All ECR staff help to provide structured activities during recess—it’s actually a “large crowd version” of Buddies!  (~140 at a time!)  Teachers advise and are helping us to keep our Buddies activities relevant for each group.

    • ECR has hired new supervisors for Rec Center activities.  The Rec Center is open almost every day.  The hockey and figure skating rinks are ready for the holidays and beyond.
    • Joe Baumann and Dan O’Brien make activities available every day after school except Wednesday.  Saturday’s schedule is 3:00-8:00 and Sunday’s 1:00 to 5:00 except for special events such as televised football games and days off school.
  • Coming Soon:  The Ely Wheel Park, a skateboard/BMX bike park designed in large part by our kids!  A designer in Vancouver has delivered construction documents, and the students continue to work on raising money.  The City and several Ely businesses have pledged money to be used for their choice of features in the park.  We are planning to break ground in early summer 2018.
  • More Parent Volunteers are very welcome! 


  • United Way of Northeast Minnesota partnership is still strong.  We’d also like to express a big THANK YOU to Zup’s for donating fresh fruit for this project again this year.  The students love it.  This school year, we distribute 60 backpacks full of shelf-stable, kid-friendly food every week.
  • Summertime residents have very generously chipped in to provide special treats for Backpack families.  An Ely family and Dairy Queen management added a lunch coupon as a Christmas present.
  • The United Way also created hygiene kits appropriate for K-3 graders as a special one-time gift.
  • This program is immensely appreciated by students who receive the backpacks.


  • In the course of the series of 6 meetings, the group’s vision of Ely after engaging in the AGE to age activities we choose is: Youth and adults have mutually supportive relationships creating personal fulfillment and common good in Ely.  Fits right in with Ely folks and ECR!  In quarter 4, mentoring activities continued, Tech & Coffee sessions “went mobile” and took place at Carefree Assisted Living, and tree planting was accomplished with help from the Tree Board.

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