Training gets Federal Funds Boost
- Joan Knobloch likes to gather her kindergarteners around
an easel so they can write a story together.
part of a read-aloud technique that the Ashland teacher
learned from Native American Professional Development Center
program works," said Knobloch, who teaches at the St.
Labre Indian School. "When the children read and write
stories together they enjoy themselves and they pay attention
its creation in 2002, the center has run on a shoestring
from the Sheridan, Wyo., home of its director to offer training
to tribal educators. This year, the center was earmarked
to receive $500,000 in federal funding, and Director Craig
Dougherty plans to use it to expand his efforts.
who is also the superintendent of schools for the Sheridan
County School District No. 2, said the money will allow
him to begin the process of spreading the program to Indian
schools throughout the country.
hopes it will allow the center to hire its first full-time
employees and attract money from private foundations.
influx of money also marks a transition for the program
from an intense hobby that Dougherty worked on in his free
time to an organization with three full-time employees.
a Powell, Wyo., native, started developing plans for the
program in 2000 and has run it since 2002.
have always done it pro bono," Dougherty said. "It
drives my wife nuts."
C. Fleming, who directs Montana State University's Center
for Native American Studies, said a program like Dougherty's
considered by all measures of achievement, from aptitude
tests to graduation rates, Native American students lag
behind," Fleming said. "There is no question about
attributed Indian students' problems in school to a history
in which Indians were forced to attend schools that aimed
to break the connection to their Indian heritage. Although
the policy formally ended in 1936, there were few changes
in Indian education until the 1970s, Fleming said.
the program can attract private money to supplement the
$500,000 in federal money, Dougherty may form a partnership
with Sheridan College to create a four-year program in Sheridan
that would focus on instructing college students who plan
to work on Indian reservations how to teach basic reading
and math skills.
efforts have already caught the attention of senators Mike
Enzi, R-Wyo., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., who helped get the
$500,000 for the program through Congress.
started looking at it about a year ago and I was very impressed,"
Enzi said. "I think this program could have implications
for educating all students."
Ted Monoson Billings