Minneapolis schools set path of success for Indian students
by Steve Brandt
January 21, 2012
In its bid to raise dismal school outcomes for Indian students, the Minneapolis School District is staking money and staff on techniques such as those that Paul Bownik and fellow teachers employ at mostly native Anishinabe Academy.
The district and Indian leaders this month approved a new five-year agreement with specific student achievement goals, which is a change from their first such pact.
The pact designates three schools where research-backed best practices for educating Indian students will be emphasized. Teachers will weave native culture and language into district standards for effective teaching.
Researchers found a positive correlation between using those techniques in the classroom and student academic growth and focus. A teacher might use a native-language translation of a familiar story, then ask questions for comprehension. The prekindergarten classes operate in native languages for several hours daily, something that attracts notice at home.
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