Montana educators working in high-needs communities who are seeking an early childhood education master’s degree or endorsement for teaching preschool through 3rd grade are eligible to apply for a full tuition scholarship to attend a Montana college or university, Governor Steve Bullock and Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau announced.

“This scholarship opportunity means more Montana teachers will have access to furthering their careers, at the same time the state builds its capacity to provide a quality education to young children,” Juneau said.

Montana is one of just eight states that doesn’t offer public preschool to all children. The 2015 Legislature didn’t provide funding to create an early education program, but Montana applied for and received a preschool development grant to expand access to learning programs in targeted high-needs communities. That $10 million-per-year grant will support programs this fall in places like Great Falls, Anaconda, Browning and Lewistown. The grant funding also pays the tuition for educators seeking the specialized preschool-3rd grade, or P-3 endorsement.

The grant is a collaboration among the Governor’s Office, Office of Public instruction and Department of Public Health and Human Services.

“Through these scholarships, we will grow and strengthen our early childhood workforce, ensuring that more young learners in Montana — particularly those in at-risk communities — will have the benefit of high-quality educators,” Bullock noted. “This is an incredible opportunity for individuals who are looking to further their education and for the children and families who will ultimately be served by great teachers in high-quality preschool programs.”

The Montana Early Childhood Project at Montana State University is administering the scholarships. The competitive application process is open to educators currently working at least 15 hours per week in a classroom setting, those who are current on the Montana Early Care and Education Practitioner Registry, and educators who have a minimum 2.5 GPA for previous coursework. Priority will be given to individuals teaching in the grant-targeted programs and communities.

“Research consistently shows children who attend a quality preschool program are more likely to graduate from high school, achieve higher academic success, and are more likely to succeed in their careers,” Juneau said. “It’s great that Montana teachers will now have the opportunity to receive the training required to begin building a preschool program that’s accessible to more families.”

Earlier this month, the Montana Board of Public Education approved the new P-3 endorsement opportunity available at some state colleges.

Click here for a full list of eligibility requirements and click here to apply. The deadline to apply is Aug. 14.

For more information, visit the Office of Public Instruction’s website, here.

Nicole R. Bowman-Farrell (Mohican/Munsee) did her PHD dissertation on Indigenous Educational Policy Development with Tribal Governments and specifically focused on the Stockbridge-Munsee.  The abstract from her dissertation is here.  The poster she used to present her research at NCAI’s mid-year conference is here.  Her actual PHD dissertation can be seen here.

From the abstract:

This study had three major findings:

1. Developing Tribal educational policy is a contextualized and multiple step process. The S-M educational policy system is a series of intra-Tribal interactions. Policy is created in multiple steps involving the Tribal government, Tribal Education Board, and Tribal Education Department. Each of these Tribal educational policy stakeholder groups has distinct roles in the policy process.

2. Multiple factors influence Tribal education policy development. These include “cross-cutting” influences as well as community, cultural/traditional and public/western education influences.

3. Tribal and public educational policy activities vary across educational agencies and affect the policy environment, inter-agency relations, and perceptions of educational stakeholders.

Findings from the study suggest that multi-jurisdictional policy structures and activities that explicitly foster intergovernmental relations across local, state, federal, and Tribal government agencies will best support public school education of American Indian students.

It is great to see some new scholarship on Tribal Education Policy, particularly scholarship that is well researched and written!

TEDNA is proud to present our first  Merit Award Essay Contest. We invite Native American incoming college freshman and undergraduate students whose tribe is a member of TEDNA to submit an essay by August 24, 2015.  This year’s theme is “The Importance of Culture in Education”. Three awards will be given in the amount of: $500, $300 and $200, respectively.

The requirements are here. For more information, view our flyer here.

To become a member of TEDNA, click here.

If you have any questions, call (303) 447-8760 or email zephier@narf.org

The Student Privacy Protection Act can be seen here, and the Senate’s version that dropped earlier this year is here.  Regrettably, there is no amendment for Tribes or Tribal Education Departments.  The amendment passed a few years ago that permits disclosure of student records to a tribal organization that has the right to access a student’s case plan when the tribe is the guardian of the student is still in the bill, however.

Amending FERPA to allow TEAs and TEDs to have access to our student’s records has been a top priority for some time. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) should be amended to authorize Indian tribes, consistent with local education agencies (“LEA”) and state education agencies (“SEA”), to receive the academic records of tribal member students from schools and LEAs without advance parental consent. Indian tribes can use this data to create data-driven education programs to improve AI/AN student achievement.

As Quinton Roman Nose noted to the House Education & Workforce Committee earlier this year,  “[t]he difficulty of accessing — or the inability to access — these records on tribal students has hampered the efforts of TEAs to plan and coordinate education programs; to provide support services and technical assistance to schools; and to work with LEAs and SEAs. FERPA should be clarified by a technical amendment that includes TEAs.”

NCAI’s resolution on this issue is here.  NIEA’s resolution on this is here.

From NCAI’s resolution:

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI does hereby support legal, political, and fiscal equity for tribal governments in this critical area of access to student records and information kept by the state public schools, and to achieve that equity, NCAI asks the Executive (Administration) and the Legislative (Congress) branches of the United States government to (1) clarify the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act such that it acknowledges that tribal governments are among the governments for whom advance parental or student consent is not required to access these records and information and (2) request and / or appropriate sufficient federal funding to ensure that tribal governments can invest as much at least proportionately as states and their public school districts are investing in the needed technology to track and report on tribal students.

An excerpt:

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In this file photo a dancer participates in a powwow hosted by the Native American Youth and Family Center. The state recently approved a plan to better support Native American youth. ( Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian) (Ross William Hamilton)

The Oregon Department of Education has outlined a new strategic plan to help boost graduation rates, attendance and more for the state’s Native American youth. 

The state originally approved the Oregon American Indian/Alaska Native Education State Plan more than 20 years ago, according to ODE. The newly revised document was adopted by the State Board of Education in April and aims to increase outcomes for Native American students, provide culturally relevant instruction and hire and retain more Native American educators.

“This plan will help guide our efforts at the state level as we engage our tribal partners and communities in the important work underway,”  said new state schools chief Salam Noor, who recently took over for former Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “Our system has historically underserved our Native students, and this plan is an important step in turning things around and providing our students with what they need to excel.”

To read the entire article, click here.

I was on the Tribal Consultation webinar and my take on it was: There are no plans to change the Impact Aid law itself but merely the wording within the guidelines. We need to push for stronger clearer language within the law itself. What were minimum requirements of past no longer meet today’s needs for Indian children and there parents. We need to stand together and push for changes. Stronger verbage for the IPP requirements, definitions and clarifications of Assessments, reporting, equal participation and more. I will be writing a formal statement in regards to the Tribal Consultation.

Dr. Sherry Johnson is the Tribal Education Director for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, which is a member of TEDNA.

If you missed it, here are the documents from the consultation: Impact Aid Consultation PPT and the Impact Aid Regulations.  There is another consultation scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, July 28th at 2:30pm EST

There is limited space, so please register.

To register:

1) Visit http://educate.webex.com

2) In the header menu, click on Training Center, then the Upcoming tab.

3) Select the session you would like to attend and click the registration link on the right hand side of the page. The registration password is Consult16.

4) Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to the Webex session, as well as instructions for how to dial in to the proceedings.