National Native American Heritage Month

Dear Superintendents,

November is National Native American Heritage Month. Native Americans enrich the history, diversity, culture, and future of our country, and of Wyoming.

In 2017 House Bill 76, Indian Education for All, passed the Wyoming Legislature and was signed into law. Soon after, work was underway to develop educational standards so that every student in Wyoming would have the opportunity to learn about the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes that have deep and ongoing roots in Wyoming. The standards are now complete and will be fully implemented across Wyoming next school year. In addition to standards Indian Education for All allows the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to collaborate directly with tribal elders, leaders, educators, and others to develop a repository of instructional materials and resources. Education standards and the resource repository can be found here.  

Even before a law was enacted, many Wyoming educators were teaching their students about Native American history, culture, politics, and more. There are many ways to teach and learn during National Native American Heritage Month (or any month. Here are a few:

Basketball or Nothing (Netflix)

What Was Ours (Amazon Prime)

Miss Navajo (PBS documentary)

Native American Heritage Month – teacher resources

Direct Link to WDE Repository

wiea

In March 2017, then-Governor Matt Mead signed House Bill 76, Indian Education for All, into law.

On Veterans Day, November 11, we honored the men and women who served in the United States armed services. I recommend reading this inspiring story about Kendrick Lusk. He retired from the U.S. Army and began teaching high school. If you know a veteran or active service man or woman who might like to be a teacher, there are resources in Wyoming:

Troops to Teachers – Former Wyoming educator Bill Hardesty works directly with schools, higher ed, and veterans who want to become teachers.

University of Wyoming Veterans Services Center – Army veteran Marti Martinez works closely with veterans as they transition to campus and college life.

 

slade

Slade Elementary Principal Heather Moro leads the Blue Ribbon Award assembly on Friday afternoon.

Slade Elementary and PODER Academy received awards for being National Blue Ribbon Schools. I had the opportunity to celebrate virtually with students and staff at Slade.

“[National] Blue Ribbon Schools show what’s possible when you focus on students and their achievement. Many of you show what’s possible when you’re forced to pivot and navigate uncharted circumstances — like during this COVID crisis — to keep learning going for all your students. We know that every child is unique. Different students in different places have different needs. We recognize different kinds of schools precisely because of this reality.”

— Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Memos to be released:

  • 2020-172:   Educator Input for Mathematics Performance Standards