SPOTLIGHT on Nebraska ELOs: Crete

***Each month we will be highlighting quality ELO programming in communities across Nebraska***


The Community Learning Center (for elementary school students) and the Cardinal Zone (for middle school students) are two 21st CCLC programs available to youth in Crete Public Schools. These Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO) programs are offered before and after school, as well as during the summer. Regular family activity nights, meals, and parent meetings provide meaningful ways for students’ families to be involved in programming. The CLC and Cardinal Zone programs have developed community partnerships with various organizations including 4H, Doane College, Crete Library, Crete Police Department and the local hospital. These partnerships contribute to the experiential and hands-on learning that occurs for students in these programs. A number of STEM related classes and enriching educational experiences are provided to students.

The NaNoWriMo Club—where students can create their own novel, have it bound and share it with others—is a popular first semester club offered in the Cardinal Zone program. Every year in November, students take the challenge to write a novel in just one month through the Young Writer’s Program for National Novel Writing Month. This class builds students’ skills in writing fluency, creativity, time management and improves their self-confidence. Students learn story structure, character development and other essential writing skills. Prior to the month-long writing challenge in November, the students develop their plot outlines and choose a word count goal that will challenge them but that is attainable. These word count goals range from 500 to 10,000 words. The Young Writer’s Program interactive website is utilized by students to write their novels from November 1-30th.   Students who complete their novels and meet their word count goal can upload their novel on the CreateSpace website in December. They receive five free copies of their novel in a bound, paperback book.

Mary Unger, who teaches this club, shares that, “Writing wasn’t seen as ‘cool’ before, but I’ve noticed over the years the excitement build when October and November roll around. Each year we have a few more students participate and more students that reach their goal. I would consider that a success!”



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