“Communities Teaching Culture”
By AlexAnna Salmon, Project Director
Alaska Native Education Program (CFDA 84.356A)
Grant #S356A170005 funded by US Department of Education
Cama’i! Our Alaska Native Education grant has been a flurry of activity. In all thirteen communities we have been actively advertising positions for the Summer Project Coordinators. We have also been receiving updated signed Memorandums of Agreement between all the tribal councils, school district and Igiugig. We are setting up direct deposit options for those
entities interested and will be ready to disburse 50% of the stipends on April 20 for those that have completed the requirements. Each site is receiving a laptop and two i-pads to facilitate communication, photo documentation, and summer learning; those have been ordered and will be out to sites in early May.
Community info and/or planning meetings have also been underway. Igiugig’s was held on February 20; Chignik Lagoon on March 27; Newhalen on April 3; Kokhanok and Port Alsworth on April 5 with more to come before May. At these meetings residents had the opportunity to review and provide feedback for the Cultural Awareness Standards which have been overhauled to become more culturally relevant to our unique communities. You may have heard about “The Five Pillars” which refers to these major topic areas of learning: Personal History or Identity, Language, Art, Food/Subsistence, and Building/Tools. We hope that the School Board will approve and adopt these standards at their upcoming April board meeting in Newhalen.
These meetings have also been an opportunity to introduce the project team for this grant, and how it will operate in partnership with each community over the next three years. At the planning meetings, residents spoke of the cultural activities they want the community to participate in over the course of the summer. For example, Igiugig’s summary includes
activities such as building fish traps, building a fish rack, and wild plant harvesting. Families that want their child to participate will be asked to sign a liability waiver and photo release form. The coordinator will track the child’s participation and activity, and in the fall when Student Advocates (i.e. the Counselors) return, they will update each child’s portfolio. With 20 less days in school, we need to make sure our children are receiving academic credit for the
exciting summer learning opportunities whether at Fish Camp, on a commercial fishing vessel, or doing an internship. Igiugig Village is excited and privileged to hire Renae Zackar to be our Summer Project Coordinator and we look forward to our first year of this three year grant.
We are off to a great first season in fulfilling these three broad ANE goals:
- Foster strong, sustainable partnerships between each community and LPSD teachers and staff.
- Reshape the schooling experience for students in the LPSD region.
- Strengthen the LPSD standards framework to guide the work of communities and schools.
Quyana for everyone’s input, help, and guidance in this exciting new journey!