Back to School!
On August 15th, 47 kids showed up at our Mission School ready for the challenge of another academic year! Our new principal Clarence Begay and teachers Pauline Wagon, Betty Tsosie and Michael Chee were there to greet our eager youngsters, while Executive Director Lynn Hubbard took pictures of the kids getting their new backpacks. Thanks to Pastor Larry Kassebaum of Victory Lutheran Church in Mesa, especially Lori Wick of God’s Girls, these backpacks were filled with school supplies, and the children’s faces lit up in delight when they opened them.
We were also blessed to have some excellent training for our teachers. Melody Simmons with Saxon Math was here for training on August 14th, and the first week of August Roene Cammack (Sedona Lutheran Church) and her niece Andrea Guillaume (expert in curriculum development and training) traveled to our school to update the teachers on the state core standards. They practiced developing a plan; infusing a lesson with the Common Core; deconstructing standards; checking for the rigor of learning in lesson plans (taxonomy level); putting generalities into daily activities; developing a mind-set for Bell2Bell learning, etc.
Roene and Andrea explained how there are 3 taxonomies to check the cognition level of skills; how digital learning is part of each lesson; how education has moved through the No Child Left Behind focus on math and reading skills, back to an incorporation of using arts to promote teaching and learning basic skills, and how there is a greater focus on reading non-fiction material.
Comparing their time together to a beautiful Navajo rug, Clarence said everyone contributed to what was woven together in beauty. The teachers said they were encouraged and inspired to take the basics of Core Knowledge from previous years, and enhance the new Common Core curriculum that focuses on critical thinking. Always the competitor, Clarence wants to be ahead of other schools on the Navajo Nation, and lead the way to excellence in elementary education!
Roene said the teachers were creative and focused on planning toward developing higher-level thinking students. She was impressed with our new “team”, and said she had always dreamed of teaching with the Navajo people. Being able to work with her niece as well was “an unexpected dream come true”, she said. They left being followed by rainbows…so thanks Roene, Andrea, and all our Mission Partners who helped make the beginning of our school year so full of hope!