Indian Education Priority

Background

The WCC, serving the states of Arizona, Nevada and Utah, is one of five centers that have been awarded additional funds to assist state departments of education in addressing needs of American Indian students. Working with its Indian Education Advisory Board members, the WCC identified regional needs and goals which include preserving native language, history and culture; increasing access to effective teachers and leaders; and improving outcomes in low-performing schools with significant numbers of Indian students.

Regional Cross-Comprehensive Center Collaborative Activities

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The five comprehensive centers hold regular joint sessions with state department Indian Education Directors and Indian Education Advisory Board members. These convenings are designed to promote communication and collaboration across the Western states to identify effective evidence-based practices and address issues in common. These regional centers are facilitating and supporting the establishment of a national network of Indian Education Directors, a need identified by the directors to establish ongoing communication and collaboration opportunities

WCC Regional Focus on School Turnaround

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The WCC has assisted state departments of education in supporting districts and schools in need of improvement in Indian country. Several districts have participated in the WCC sponsored turnaround leadership development and support program. The intention is to address the unique needs of districts and schools with significant numbers of American Indian students.

WCC Regional Focus on Language and Culture

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The WCC has assisted state departments in expanding support for school counselors and others serving American Indian students to improve student engagement and academic development, and increase postsecondary access and success through the lense of native language, culture and heritage.

The WCC also developed An Ecology of Support for Indigenous Learners’ Success. This project explored teaching and learning practices and beliefs with a cohort of American Indian practicing teachers earning their Master’s degrees and Native language certifications with the intent to disseminate optimal strategies for teaching, learning and assessment in indigenous communities.

State Specific Work

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The WCC also provides state specific assistance to state departments of education in response to state requests and identified needs.