changes are happening this year at the Cherokee Nation's Sequoyah
Schools. The nation has added the sixth grade to its immersion school
and provided iPads to seventh and eighth grade classrooms to expand
they way subjects are taught.
the first time since 1956, students attending the Cherokee Nation's
Immersion Schoolpart of Sequoyah's school districtcan
complete 12 consecutive years in the same school system.
immersion style classroom started in 2001 at Cherokee Nation Head
Start. Immersion means that all classes are conducted in Cherokee;
no English is spoken or written during class time. This is an important
way for Native American students to retain their culture and language.
and Nick Harkreader chose to enroll their daughter and son in the
immersion school because they are afraid of losing the Cherokee
like the majority of Cherokee families, my generation didn't learn
to speak the language," said Jessica in a press release. "We know
that the Cherokee language is in danger of becoming extinct and
as a family, we made it a priority not to lose it."
daughter Alayna is one of eight students in the newly created sixth
grade class at the immersion school. Alayna likes being able to
speak Cherokee with her grandmother and friends.
Hummingbird, whose daughter Lauren is in class with Alayna, grew
up speaking Cherokee but has lost it over the years. Having Lauren
in the immersion school has given Jamie and his wife, Tonette, a
chance at getting their first language back.
wife and I are rediscovering our language with our daughter as our
teacher," Jamie said.
the girls are really excited that they are able to communicate in
Cherokee using iPhones and other Apple products since the Cherokee
syllabary was added to the languages the products use. Alayna is
currently teaching her grandmother to use the iPhone in Cherokee.
absolute most wonderful feeling in the world is when I see my granny
and my daughter reading the Cherokee language and discussing the
content in Cherokee," Jessica said. "It brings tears of joy and
hope when I see that gap finally bridged. It also tickles me to
death when I catch my daughter trying to teach her younger brother
how to say or write a Cherokee word."
using that technology won't end for the girls once they graduate
from the immersion school. When they continue their education at
Sequoyah Schools they'll still be able to take Cherokee language
classes and will have the opportunity to use iPads recently provided
to the seventh and eighth grade classrooms.
iPads were added to the classrooms as part of Sequoyah's Technology
Education Program (STEP), which began in December 2010. By providing
technology to students at a young age, they will be better able
to compete in post-secondary education and career situations.
have given students the opportunity to explore their world and become
world wide learners," said Holly Davis, Sequoyah Schools' elementary
principal, in a release.
is everywhere and its here to stay," said Justin Workman, Sequoyah
Schools' system administrator. "The more people learn and adapt
to a technological lifestyle, the better off they'll be."