WORTHINGTON — Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC) continues to serve six area school districts that include Adrian, Ellsworth, Fulda, Heron Lake-Okabena, Round Lake-Brewster and Worthington. It has been two years since the new Achievement and Integration Plans were approve by Minnesota Department of Education. Each member district’s Achievement and Integration Plan is in effect from July 1, 2017 thorugh June 30, 2020.

NCIC’s plans have goals that align with Minnesota’s “World’s Best Workforce” goal areas. These goal areas include:

  • All children are ready for school

  • All third-grade students read at grade level

  • All racial and economic achievement gaps are closed

  • All students graduate from high school

  • All students are ready for career and college

NCIC and its member districts have implemented several strategies to accomplish local Achievement and Integration goals. Listed here are some examples of strategies that has been vital for NCIC during the first two years of the Achievement and Integration Plan:

  • Home Visits: NCIC added this strategy to improve family engagement. Through this strategy, a cohort of teachers, counselors and NCIC staff are conducting home visits with the families to discuss student achievement and ways that the school and family can collaborate to bring about positive outcomes.

  • Summer programs/STEAM Opportunities: To further support efforts to increase college and career readiness, NCIC offered summer programs and STEAM opportunities to middle school students to improve academic skills and better prepare participants for the transition to high school. NCIC will continue our efforts in preparing students for post-secondary education.

  • Direct Student Support in Classrooms: To further support our students in the classrooms, NCIC staff works in classrooms in the racially isolated districts with elementary and secondary students. While in the classrooms, their main roles are to help students succeed. NCIC staff provides language support, homework help, individual or small-group support, and parent contact as needed.

NCIC will continue to implement other strategies that were in previous Achievement and Integration Plans. Those strategies include: school interventionists, parent education classes, providing professional development training on culturally responsive practices, integrating students through multi-district grade-level retreats, engaging students in out-of-school time programs, and continually working to implement best practices for equity in education.

Our school year is packed with exciting educational opportunities. Some of the upcoming programs include:

Homework Help: NCIC is providing Homework Help Days for seventh– through 12th-grade students in all subjects on Tuesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. Please call NCIC to arrange a time with our Youth Development Leaders.

Culture Corner – Celebrations Around the World: The Culture Corner is a collaboration between Minnesota West and NCIC. This event will take place at Minnesota West on the evening of Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. Come and join us in celebration of the different ethnic groups in our community. Traditions, food, clothing, music and entertainment will be shared from various countries.

CoderDojo: The CoderDojo program is a free, volunteer-led STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programming for young people aged 7 to 17. Students choose to learn to code, build a website, create an app, design a game and explore technology by coding miniature robots or wiring circuitry boards. Pizza and beverage will be provided. Dates: Sept. 23, Oct. 28, Nov. 18, Jan. 27, Mar. 23, and Apr. 27. Time: 5:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For upcoming programs and volunteer opportunities, please follow NCIC on Facebook and check out our website: https://www.facebook.com/NCIC507 and http://www.isd518.net/ncic.

Soom Chandaswang is Achievement and Integration Coordinator for Nobles County Integration Collaborative.