Determination, Discipline, and Drive Define ANC’s Education ProgramFeb 20th, 2016 | By dmiller | Category: 27-3: The Trials of Teacher Education, Tribal College News
This past fall, Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC) students gave a presentation at the annual MEA/MFT Educators’ Conference in Billings, Montana. Entitled “Evaluating Picture Books,” the students shared their experiences selecting picture books that align with Montana’s common core standards to complement content area curriculum while also meeting literacy standards.
These same students in ANC’s teacher training Nee-tha-hatsa-nak/Wa’Uspe- Wicakiya Preparation Program (NWPP) hope to graduate this May. The ultimate goal of the NWPP has been to prepare teachers who possess the personal experience, community connection, and academic preparation necessary to increase teaching effectiveness, improve Indian student achievement, and address the shortage of American Indian teachers throughout Montana and across the United States.
In meeting this goal, the NWPP covers most of its students’ educational costs. The program offers tutoring services, after-hour electronic assistance, study sessions, and weekly meetings where cohort students can share information and offer one another support. Coordinators also assist students with the preparation of documents, such as junior field experience forms, student teaching applications, graduation applications, licensure applications, and résumé design and construction. The program’s stated mission is “Staying determined, disciplined, and driven for family, community, and culture, we can create a better future for our children through education.”
With the program’s support, student success is improving. Cohort member Kayla Leo says, “My grades have gone up since I’ve been in the program. I value the lasting friendships, support system, and team-building exercises offered by the program.” Another preservice teacher, Terri Long Fox, echoes her classmate, adding that the program is “a visible asset to Aaniiih Nakoda College [because it] has been successful in maintaining a learning environment that enables all of us to succeed academically.”