REGIONAL— Across the Iron Range, kids are going back to school for the summer. Six school districts, including St. Louis County and Ely Schools are partaking in the Iron Range Collaboration project …
REGIONAL— Across the Iron Range, kids are going back to school for the summer. Six school districts, including St. Louis County and Ely Schools are partaking in the Iron Range Collaboration project that puts kids from Hibbing to Ely in a variety of programs designed to spark interest in science and the arts.
“Students can meet new people and be in schools they’ve never been in,” St. Louis County Schools Superintendent Reggie Engebritson said. The camps target grades five-through-eight and expose kids to topics such as robotics, animal dissection and musical production.
Camps have been running since early June and will conclude at the end of August.
The camps cost nearly $350,000 to run, mostly for transportation, with funding provided by the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation.
The districts are also offering free breakfast and lunch to all camp participants.
Teachers from each of the districts are facilitating the camps and are also making $48 per hour spent in the classroom this summer.
“We want to utilize teachers who are free in the summer and buildings that would usually sit vacant,” Engebritson said. She said aside from benefits to students, many of the teachers who are designing and working on the camps won’t have to take summer jobs to help augment their finances when school isn’t in session.
While camp registration is closed now, Engebritson said the six districts are already looking to next summer. They hope to expand the camp offerings up to the twelfth-grade, with an added emphasis on vocational learning to better prepare students for career paths after they graduate.
The summer camp collaboration is part of a larger effort by St. Louis County, Mt. Iron-Buhl, Hibbing, Chisholm, Ely and Mesabi East school districts to collaborate on a year-round basis. The idea was proposed in the fall of 2018 with a gradual implementation that could see the districts share common bell schedules, curriculum and classes in the future.