ARIZ. - Albert Sinquah, the
new principal at Hopi Junior High School, believes student involvement
in extra-curricular activities can be the key to student success.
curricular activities are incentives for kids to stay in school
and keep up their studies," he said. Sinquah took the job in
July after Hopi Junior High Principal Glenn Haven took a job at
Window Rock High School. Sinquah had been principal at Keams Canyon
Boarding School for six years before taking the post at Hopi Junior
said student involvement in sports, band, student government and
other activities is important. "Kids need to use up their energy,"
who is Hopi, is a firm believer in the 'no pass, no play' rule,
but he also feels it is the school's responsibility to help the
students improve academically.
child can learn when given the opportunity. Too often, we let kids
fall through the cracks. It's up to us to identify the needs and
give assistance and encouragement to the students," he said.
58, said his success in education is due to his involvement with
band and other clubs.
I was going to Phoenix Indian High School, I stayed in the dorm,
so I joined every club to get out of the dorm," he said.
was always interested in ranching and rodeos, but music was Sinquah's
first love. He played in the high school's band and choir, but eventually
played du-wop music with the Stratotones before playing country
music with the Dynamics and the Klansman. The Klansman continue
to play today as they have played periodically for the past 30 years.
was interested in band because I believe music is an integral part
of Hopi life," he said.
attended music camp every summer for six years during his junior
high and high school years.
convinced me that parental involvement is crucial because the booster
club raised the money for the music camps. That's how powerful parental
involvement can be," he said.
hopes to see more parental involvement at Hopi Junior High School.
parental involvement, it's difficult. We want parents involved.
We want them to come visit, and the kids would appreciate it,"
superintendent of the Hopi BIA in the mid-1980s, Sinquah helped
plan and see Hopi Junior/Senior High School built.
never dreamed I'd be back here," he said.
goals include a unified curriculum for Hopi schools and seeing Hopi
Junior High School improve so it loses its 'underperforming' status.
would like to be involved in the process of setting up a junior
high program that's consistent with the elementary programs so when
a student comes here we know what to expect. Now, the gap is so
big that it's difficult," he said.
said the principals throughout the reservation have made the commitment
to standardize the curriculum.
we can really serve the Hopi High School program. At the moment,
we're doing the best we can but it's difficult and it's the students
who suffer," he said.
emphasized that he can't do it himself as he needs the help of the
tribe, the elementary schools on the Hopi Reservation and Hopi High
the Arizona Department of Education labeled Hopi Junior High School
as 'underperforming' because of some of its test scores. Sinquah
said he sees this as a challenge to improve.
said test scores will be monitored quarterly instead of annually.
state's watching us. If we don't produce then we'll be under corrective
actionand we don't want to be there. I have faith that it won't
come to that," he said.
said Hopi Junior High will focus on reading since that seems to
be its weakest area. He noted that reading is a problem at most
of the Hopi elementary schools.
related to having second-language homes. Many students are stuck
between the two languages, but we'll try to bring up their competencies,"
serving as superintendent of Hopi BIA Education in Keams Canyon
in the 1980s, he was transferred to Gallup. One year later the BIA
wanted to transfer him to Washington D.C., and he felt that was
too far from home.
taught first grade at Pinon for one year, kindergarten at Jeddito
for two years, served as assistant principal at Jeddito for three
years and principal at Keams Canyon Boarding School for six years
before taking the job at Hopi Junior High.
raised in Keams Canyon, Sinquah graduated from Phoenix Indian High
School before earning a BA in elementary education with a minor
in music from Northern Arizona University. He later received his
endorsement in early childhood and an MA in educational leadership
a rancher by trade, and his wife Violet have five children and 12