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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 28, 2003 - Issue 90


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Indian 'Links' to Academic Success

by David J. Cieslak The Arizona Republic
credits: "bookworm" by

BookwormA Kyrene Elementary School District program geared toward giving an academic boost to Native American children in Valley tribes has attracted the attention of top education officials in the nation's capital.

Vicki Vasques, director of Indian education at the federal Department of Education, stressed the importance of literacy and books to parents and students during her visit last week to the district's Links program at Kyrene del Milenio School. The program also was recognized by an aide to President Bush.

Milenio qualified for one of 30 federal grants worth $250,000 a year for three years toward educational programs such as Links that benefit Native American youths.

The year-old program is open to Native American students enrolled at all Kyrene district schools, which serve parts of Tempe and Chandler along with Ahwatukee Foothills.

"We don't want any of you to miss any education (opportunities) or any studies," Vasques told a group of first-graders.

Links targets kids who receive financial aid to attend Kyrene schools. It also helps the children with the often-difficult transition to the next grade level, said Carrie Sekayumptewa, Kyrene's Indian education community liaison.

Sekayumptewa said discussing and honoring their heritage is important for the children in Links, who are a fraction of the 475 Native American children in Kyrene schools.

"The parents tell us that the children come home really excited talking about the program," Sekayumptewa said. "It allows them to appreciate their background and also promote it."

Parent Audie Wilkerson said his two young sons, who are enrolled in the program along with about 60 other students, enjoy learning about their culture and receiving the individual attention.

"It helps them get out and meet other Native American students," Wilkerson said. "They like to come here. Both really appreciate it."

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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.  

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