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LCO Grant Aims to Increase Native American Teachers

By Joe Morey News Editor


The LCO Grants Department announced it received a grant award through The Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Institute, Inc. with a purpose of increasing Native American teachers.


Roy Jonjak, the grant writer, explained the intent of The Nandagikenjiganashk (NDK) Project in two parts. First, to increase the number of highly qualified native educators capable of developing the cultural and scientific skills of the future tribal workforce and secondly, placing them in schools with high Ojibwe student populations.


“Currently, we have 36 applicants which is more than twice our target for the first year,” Jonjak said. “So we are working through the logistics which will keep all participants engaged and moving toward full certification.”


Jonjak said the priorities for the grant include pre-service training for both teachers and administrators, and increasing Native educators of science, technology, engineering, math and/or computer science.


The primary instructional, mentoring, induction, and placement sites will be Waadookodaading Ojibwe Immersion School and the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School located and the additional mentoring, induction, and placement sites will include Hayward, Ashland, Bayfield, Lac du Flambeau, Lakeland, and Crandon School Districts located near Hayward, Ashland, Minocqua (two districts), and Crandon, Wisconsin.


According to the grant, “Public and tribal schools with high proportions of native students in this region typically hire several native academic and cultural support staff who often have two-year degrees in education-related fields or Ojibwe language, but are not licensed teachers. This pool of more than 40 native support staff will be our primary recruitment pool. In addition, each school and each tribe have their own recruitment initiatives which seek candidates interested in working in schools with high proportions of native students. Finally, Northland College actively recruits potential students into its educational degree and licensure programs who are native as members of underrepresented groups.”


The grant also stated, “Induction services will be provided in the high-proportion native schools where program completers are employed under the general supervision of onsite mentorship teams (teachers and administrators in their field of licensure who are professional and master teachers per DPI licensure rules for initial educators) who will undergo 180 hours of onsite 1:1 supervised induction support following Wisconsin’s Professional Development Plan/Portfolio process.”


Jonjak said, “The payback provisions are a grant requirement where all stipends paid to participants can be paid back through an equal number of semesters teaching in high proportion native schools (service payback) or through cash payments equal to stipends which are paid over time much like student loans.”


The lead applicant for the grant is the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Institute, Inc. and the secondary applicant is Northland College.