BIE funded schools review plans and discuss strategies at meeting
January 26, 2019
Gila River Indian News
Gila River Indian Community’s Tribal Education Department hosted an event at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino on Saturday, Jan 26 for Bureau of Indian Education – Strategic Direction at Gila River. The event was intended for BIE funded schools, administrators, students and parents. The goal was to review and discuss the school’s strategic plan and overall progress for better education.
Due to the recent government shutdown, it was confirmed weeks before the event that a BIE representative would not be present and and a slideshow presentation was provided on their behalf.
Tribal Education Department (TED) reviewed three priorities to improve education for all students within the Community. “Increasing the level and types of parent/family engagement in the educational process.” Something that was highly agreed on and a constant topic throughout the event. And “Develop a Community-wide plan to increase student achievement” and lastly to “Increase student motivation”.
Three Community BIE funded schools presented how they’ve addressed and incorporated TED priorities in their schools and their overall strategic direction: Blackwater Community School, Casa Blanca Community School and Gila Crossing Community School.
During the presentations and discussion, all schools shared some of the same goals and concerns. One of the main focuses was parent/guardian involvement, which is a very important part in a student’s life and education, in helping them to be motivated and succeed. Some schools were utilizing newsletters to have parents and community better informed and incorporating the education of culture as much as possible.
Blackwater Community School, some of their highlights included behavioral health for students, addressing educational needs at home or at school. The school talked about their encouragement for their teachers and staff to pursue professional development, either through school or training.
Casa Blanca Community School highlighted their commitment to listening by having surveys for parents and students. They’ve utilized awards to encourage attendance and counseling for students.
Gila Crossing Community School announced the construction of their new school, covered their address on bullying, and highlighted their technology education, teaching the students coding skills.
Following the presentations, attendees participated in group discussions in regards to early childhood education, wellness, safety, postsecondary and career readiness. These discussions utilized technology by allowing the attendees to give their input online in a group chat that could be saved and used by TED.
“We need to be proactive and start to build strong institutions, build strong educational pipelines for all of our students to succeed and to move on and to achieve their career path, to achieve their educational goals,” said Gov. Lewis during the wrap up of the event.
“I think that’s the challenge before all of us; but it’s about working together and respecting each other. Everyone has a role, has a part to play in this. We’re at a critical point where we can start to really make generational changes on how we want to improve our educational system”
Gov. Lewis also announced his 4th annual Education Summit Feb. 9 at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.