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SNI Newsletter January 20 2021

Nya:wëh sgënö swagwegoh. Our non-profit, Agwadeyësta’ Do:gë:h would like to share additional information about the Esther Martinez Initiative (EMI) grant.

Agwadeyësta’ Do:gë:h (We Learn Together) will provide organizational support for Ganöhsesge:kha He:nödeyë:stha by strategically (this is a five year project) implementing action steps and accountability measures that will result in two additional certified Montessori teachers, increased language skills of the teaching staff, on-going professional staff development, and will produce additional instructional materials to enhance the immersion experience for the student, teachers, and parents, and address the need for parent engagement.

In a nutshell, we are going to increase the language knowledge of the teachers so they can use more language in the classroom and ‘stay’ in the language for longer periods of time so the students will hear more language.

We will provide instructional resources and support for parents so they can reinforce the language their child is learning at school; in the home. We can all agree that the language has to be used and heard both at school and home.

It is a very practical plan that essentially improves the instructional capacity of the staff at the school. But, it will take a great deal of coordination and preparation to get this done.

If we are to get better, continual improvements will have to be made. Yes, parents have to be involved but that is easier said than done. Ask yourself how much language is currently being used in your own home? Please understand that is not a criticism of anyone or anything, we are just being real. Our Elders and speakers often say that language was learned and should be learned in the home; makes perfect sense and we couldn’t agree more. But today very few parents use and speak the language at home. Thus, the EMI grant will engage parents to improve this situation. With parental engagement the language’s chance for survival increases tenfold. It will be a challenge, but we are determined.

Our mantra is, “We can and we will.” We believe everything gets better with positivity, commitment, and that change is both possible and necessary.

This project will adopt this perspective: language revitalization is not about what you or I don’t know with regard to our language and finding fault and blaming are a waste of time. We will act on what we believe is necessary and improve the language experience and results at the school.

We sincerely acknowledge those Elders and learners, past and present, who have put in the work and are using language in the home with their children and family. Our hat is off to all of you. We hope your example will encourage others to do the same.

Agwadeyësta’ Do:gë:h will continue posting articles in the Newsletter. It is our intention that the community gain a clear picture of what is taking place at the school.

Our next Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for February 21 at 10 am in the annex on the FKS campus. Our meetings are open to the public, hope you can come by.

Nya:wëh for your time and consideration.

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