TED in-service inspires GRIC educators and administrators
Gila River Indian News
On Friday, Aug. 11, the Tribal Education Department hosted its 19th annual Teacher In-Service titled “Elevate Our Vision & Voice.” The in-service gathers school educators and administrators from across the Community for a day of learnings focused on culture and language, special education, early childhood, social-emotional learning, and more.
Over 500 teachers and administrators registered for this year’s one-day in-service at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass.
TED Director Isaac Salcido stated that this year’s theme is a call to action for educators, administrators, and support staff to raise their expectations, dare to see beyond the horizon and speak the truth loudly.
Naomi Miguel, from the Tohono O’odham Nation, served as the keynote speaker for the event.
Miguel is the Executive Director for the White House Initiative on Advancing Education Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities.
During her remarks, Miguel highlighted the numerous initiatives the U.S. Dept. of Education is undertaking to ensure American Indian students receive the support required for success. Many initiatives currently focus on bridging the learning divide or pre-pandemic test scores. Recent data demonstrates that, on average, students need an additional four and a half months of classroom instruction to meet those pre-pandemic academic levels.
“They say ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ and I think it also takes a whole lot of teachers as well, which includes all of you sitting in this room,” said Miguel. “You all have the power to change the lives of our children, and that is an enormous responsibility, but the fact that you’re here learning how to refine your teaching skills speaks volumes about your commitment to our students, community, and our future.”
This year’s in-service program provided educators with several learning tracks designed to give administrators and teachers the tools to enhance their teaching performance and foster the understanding of GRIC culture to maximize their students’ success.
The motivational speaker, educator, and comedian Mitch Factor returned for this year’s in-service. Factor is Seminole and Menominee and has a history of 25 plus years of working within the Tribal Head Start programs and has served as a presenter and speaker for organizations across Indian Country in similar settings.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis and Lt. Gov. Monica Antone attended the opening session and shared a welcome address. Both acknowledged the critical role teachers play in the lives of GRIC students and encouraged them to carry on this next school year with compassion and dignity.
“Using water as a metaphor, teachers are leaders, and your leadership ripples out from the students to our villages and districts throughout our Community so I want to thank you all for being here today I hope you all take away something new that inspires you for the new school year ahead,” said Gov. Lewis.