CITY Tuba City Boarding School math teacher Raquel Dale believes
her students deserve a smooth transition from eighth to ninth grade
and has designed a successful algebra program to reach that end.
Her method is simple in some ways. Basically, Dale's lesson plan
is consistent with the curriculum and testing of both Tuba City
High School and Greyhills Academy High School.
program is paying off. On Dec. 18, 26 TCBS students took the final
exam facing high school Algebra I students. According to Dale, all
did extremely well.
majority of my algebra students scored exceptionally compared to
the high school students who took the Algebra exam. Only four of
my students received a 50 percent or lower," Dale said. "These results
show that the TCBS students are learning what the high school is
test was modified to reflect the fact that high school courses are
taught in blocks, meaning that some subjects, such as Algebra I,
are completed in one semester. The TCBS students, mid-year, were
not as far along in the coursework, so to make the test equivalent
to what had been taught so far, Dale eliminated questions from the
high school test that had yet to be taught.
"This revealed a consistency about their Algebra curriculum and
is aligned with Greyhills Academy High School curriculum," Dale
students will face another final exam at the end of the school year.
Wu, who chairs the Greyhills Academy High School Math Department,
remembers Dale's students from the year before, who took the High
School Algebra I final exam at the end of the spring semester 2003.
"Most of the studentslike 20 out of 22passed that exam,"
Wu said. "There was an agreement that those students who passed
would be given credit for the exam and could skip Algebra I. She
has done a wonderful job." Wu said that Dale had taught at Greyhills
Academy several years earlier and would be welcome back. "I would
honestly like to get her to teach here again," Wu laughed.
asked if she found the performance results of these outstanding
junior high math students surprising considering statewide AIMS
(Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) math scores, Wu responded
that she did not. "I really believe that Native American students
are excellent learners," Wu said. "Many teachers from outside [the
reservation] community settings are used to a different learning
style and expect our students to conform to their own style. This
causes teachers to become very frustrated. In response, the students
are equally frustrated."
teachers are willing to adopt the learning style of Native students,
learning is very successful, Wu added.
students have exceeded junior high algebra standards under her tutelage
and talked about their high expectations for the future due to the
added confidence the algebra program has given them.
Begay,13, said he would like to become an environmental engineer
feel good because I am doing the highest level of math in the school,"
he said. "I like math more because I meet challenges and can accomplish
basketball and reading take up time for Chantel Tso,13, she said
she likes that she is in advanced classes and plans to work as a
nurse's assistant in the future. "I feel that with me taking this
class, everything in high school will be easier," she said.
is the favorite subject of Samantha Yazzie, who also enjoys running
and listening to music. She looks to the Navy for a career, or perhaps
Hemstreet,13, said he enjoys technology and physical education,
and would like to play college baseball, while classmate Cody Slim,13,
would like to be either a veterinarian or an iron worker.
said that his accomplishment in math "makes me feel good because
I know it is a challenge for me and that I can accomplish it."
said Dale's algebra class has changed the way he looks at math because
he and his classmates are learning more than they need to know at
their current grade level.
let anything get in your way to accomplish your goals in life,"
Hemstreed, 14, said, "I never felt so proud of myself, because I
never thought I would be in this high school class, but I amand
my grades are looking good so far."
spoke to future TCBS algebra class students, saying that she hopes
they like it because it is "one opportunity you can learn from and
you can accomplish anything you want in life."
school math isn't hard for Sean Tee,13, but it isn't easy either.
His love of math hasn't changed, he said, because he has liked it
all the way back from first grade on.
Begaye, 13, names her algebra class as the thing she likes most
about school, and though she has yet to make plans for her future,
she feels good about herself. "I feel good because my mom said she
never got to do algebra until the 11th grade, " she said.
technology, social studies and science are the favorites of Boyd
Begay,13. "After I leave high school, I plan to go to a good university
like Harvard. I would like to be a lawyer," Begay said.
students look to future careers such as Anjelita Velasco, 13, who
would like to be a transplant surgeon. Tara Crank, 13, is considering
computer animation. Tasha Howard, 13, looks towards a welding career.
Laralyn Sloan, 14, may someday teach algebra herself.
Cortez, Latisha Yazzie, Ryan Silas, Rhoda Black, Dominick Manygoats,
Vera Arlinda June, Tyrone Yazzie and Kiki Begay joined their classmates
in expressing their appreciation of Dale and her algebra class.
Their career goals include marine biology, mechanical engineering,
professional football and more.
sixth grade I hated math," Tyrone Yazzie said. That, he admits,
has changed, and along with science and social studies, algebra
is his favorite subject.
Ann Dajolie,14, is a former student of TCBS, and according to Dale,
was one of her most promising students.
"She has a natural math ability. I merely picked up on it and strengthened
her ability. She knew a lot already; together we took it to the
next level," Dale said."
had high praise for her former teacher. "It is fun and exciting
to come every day and learn something new," she said. "I feel that
I have accomplished much in my last year at TCBS with my teacher,
Ms. Raquel Dale.
taught me a lot that will help me throughout my high school career.
My perspective on math has changed greatly because of what I learned
students have also had the experience of critical thinking and compared
the final exams of both Greyhills Academy and Tuba City High School.
comparing the exams to each other, the kids were more comfortable
with Greyhills Academy High School ['s instrument] because of its
organization and clarity in math questions," Dale said.
said that she and her students look forward to taking the final
exams in May at both schools.