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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 3, 2001 - Issue 48


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 Arizona Teacher Selected 2002 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year


"A parent's commitment is what makes this program great."
-- Gwendolyn Paul


LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of National Family Literacy Day(R) on November 1, the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) in conjunction with Toyota, is pleased to announce Gwendolyn Paul of Coolidge, Arizona as the 2002 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Paul is a children's family literacy educator in the Family and Child Education (FACE) program at Blackwater Community School in Coolidge. FACE programs follow the national, four-component family literacy model and strive to meet the unique educational and cultural needs of Native American
families. Ms. Paul is herself a member of the Pima tribe, which is located on the Gila River Reservation near Coolidge.

While Ms. Paul has spent a total of 23 years in the educational field, she has dedicated the last eight years to family literacy. She maintains the core belief that children are active learners who require concrete and relevant learning experiences. According to Ms. Paul, these vital learning experiences are essential to establishing a partnership of learning with their teacher, peer group, and family.

"Children are always learning. As a family literacy teacher, I always need to be aware and adjust to the children's needs," said Ms. Paul. "The work with these families needs to be done and hearing these children laugh everyday is so rewarding."

During certain program activities, Ms. Paul also strives to teach the children about their Akimel O'Otham heritage. A fluent speaker of the O'Otham language, she teaches the children the words of their kinship, home and community. For many of the children, this may be their first exposure to their culture and language.

Blackwater principal Jacquelyn Power says, "Gwendolyn Paul deserves this honor because she exemplifies the highest qualities of a teacher. She sees herself as a partner with the child and parent in this most important vocation. Additionally, she makes home visits to ensure that each family is totally committed to the parent being a child's first and most important teacher."

Ms. Paul has been directly involved in positive changes with Blackwater families for the past eight years. Ellen Johns has been a Blackwater family literacy student for four years, "I finally received my GED this year in May along with four other parents through the FACE program. I will never forget that night in May when Gwen was there cheering us on. She had happy tears in her eyes right along with the rest of us. I hope that children in the future realize how privileged they are to have a teacher like Gwen."

Toyota and the National Center for Family Literacy congratulate Gwendolyn Paul. Her program will receive $5,000 from Toyota and she will be honored at the 11th Annual National Conference on Family Literacy in Albuquerque in March 2002.

The National Center for Family Literacy has pioneered a program that combines early childhood education, adult literacy education, parent support and structured interaction between parents and their children. NCFL works to ensure that all families at the lowest ends of both the literacy and economic continua will have opportunities to improve their education and social well- being through quality family literacy programs.

For more information, please visit our Web site: or call the Family Literacy InfoLine: 1-877-FAMLIT-1.


     Maps by Travel

The National Center for Family Literacy
The National Center for Family Literacy is a nonprofit organization
supporting family literacy services for families across the United States through
programming, training, research, advocacy and dissemination

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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