The ANA Messenger: Native Languages Edition 2014
NIEA Workshops on the Common Core Standards
Clint Bowers, NIEA Policy and Research Associate
Throughout 2013, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) provided Common Core State Standards (CCSS) professional development to Native communities and their school systems' teachers. The primary goal was to ensure teachers had the tools they need to work with their local tribes and parents and include culture and language within the curriculum. NIEA held four two-day training sessions near Santa Fe and Albuquerque that each brought over 50 teachers and administrators together to coordinate the various schools' (Bureau of Indian Education, public, and charter schools) curriculum and staff.
NIEA and its partners at the Pueblo of Jemez Education Department invited regional CCSS experts, as well as Language and Culture-Based Education Experts from the Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii, to help the school districts implement CCSS while also respecting the local Native culture. In each pilot training NIEA provided teachers ample opportunity to exchange best practices for respectfully creating work plans that include local Native linguistic and cultural traditions. NIEA provided material, instruction, and a means for ongoing collaboration between schools, tribes, and the state education department.
The pilot project focused on a small community yet because it is served by numerous school districts it was a prime location for illustrating the ongoing benefits of coordination and active collaboration between education partners. The work in 2013 will help CCSS succeed by raising student achievement and strengthening culture and language in Native communities. Additionally, the model will provide a framework for academic and cultural collaboration for other Native and non-Native communities.
NIEA will be working in 2014 with Native and civil rights partners as well as state governments to develop CCSS town hall meetings throughout the Southwest so parents understand the benefits of Common Core and have access to CCSS material that is translated not only in Spanish, but also in Diné (Navajo). NIEA will also be expanding work into other communities in the states of New Mexico and Washington to increase the inclusion of language and culture into the new academic standards.