Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs tours Gila Crossing Community School
Gila River Indian News
Before the opening of the newly constructed Gila Crossing Community School later this summer, on June 11 a tour of the school was given for Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs for the U.S. Dept. of the Interior. Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Community Council Representatives Devin Redbird, and Charles Goldtooth, in addition to members of the Owner’s Team lead the tour.
Sweeney was instrumental in the partnership to develop the school, and the visit was also inclusive of meetings throughout the Community. Sweeney said that, “After touring the school there’s a significant opportunity for the future of the Gila River Indian Community.” Sweeney will return in July for an official signing, marking the opening of the school. In the future, she looks forward to “seeing students learning and thriving in this environment.” Culture, agriculture, and STEM are exceptional characteristics of the school, and she is excited about that its inclusion in the day-to-day curriculum for the students.
The tour demonstrated standout features of the new facility including the greenhouse, STEM buildings, and cultural classrooms. One classroom showcased advanced technology features. Some key features are enhanced audio capabilities for teachers using wireless microphones and enhanced high definition audio/visual systems to support classroom instruction. Also, classrooms use natural lighting via solar tube technology, which acts as advanced “skylights” with brightness levels that can adjust.
Gov. Lewis shared their mission in the school’s construction, which is, “to provide and construct a world-class educational institution for our students, leaders of tomorrow, and our future.” He was pleased with the progress of the school to date and is confident in how the finished facility will look.
Community Council Representatives Redbird and Goldtooth both attended the original Gila Crossing Community School as students. Moreover, both are eager for the school’s completion. Goldtooth shared that his grandchildren will eventually attend the new Gila Crossing Community School.
Closing out the tour Community leaders presented Sweeney with a token of gratitude, a small gourd necklace adorned with water symbols.