FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bernie Dotson (928) 724-6697
Sept. 15, 2019
TSAILE, Ariz. — The Diné College School of Diné Studies and Education (SDSE) is acutely aware of the teacher shortage on Navajo Nation and the need to replenish the shortage with teachers who are qualified with cultural knowledge, including Diné language and cultural studies.
The School of Diné Studies and Education recently hosted a Teacher Licensure Boot Camp at the Tsaile campus. The event was sponsored by the Navajo Nation Teacher Education Consortium (NNTEC).
The boot camp is designed to provide preparation to degreed teachers who have not passed their state teaching licensure, certification, or endorsement exams.
Teachers participating in the boot camp were able to do so with meals and instructional services paid for. The success of the boot camp demonstrated the feasibility of future teacher boot campus for teachers from around the Navajo Nation, officials said.
“Local schools are in need of teachers with background experience in Diné language and cultural studies, and Diné College currently has educational degree programs in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Secondary Education,” Lawrence Isaac, Jr., Ph.D., dean of the School of Diné Studies and Education,” said. “(NNTEC) member institution faculty assisted with required courses.”
SDSE faculty included Barsine Benally, Amelia Black and Jeannie Lewis, from the Diné Teacher Education Program. Gregory Redhouse, Ph.D, assisted from the School of Business and Social Science. Kenneth Locey, Ph.D, from the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, assisted with science and physical education.
Henry Fowler, Ph.D, from Navajo Technical University, assisted with teaching mathematics and science. Fowler is a former Diné College math professor. Cindy Higgins, from Southern Utah State University, assisted with instructional and teaching assignments.
There were 35 teachers registered for the boot camp and they have 60 days to take the state teaching examination, which is paid by NNTEC. SDSE will continue to provide teacher education courses in hopes of further developing more qualified and degreed teachers in responding to Navajo Nation’s teacher shortage in local communities.
SDSE will plan on hosting other boot camps in the future and developing a conducive training format to accommodate teachers who are interested in participating.
Isaac, Jr., said Diné College is aware that this particular type of instructional services for unlicensed teachers to complete their teaching licensure and becoming placed in local community schools. The NNTEC members who participated included Navajo Technical University, San Juan College, Fort Lewis College, Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico. Each assisted with recruitment efforts, proposal development, in-kind support and boot camp instruction. “Unfortunately, in the field of education, even though a student earns his or her BA, MA or E.D., the person is not considered certified or highly quid until they are able to pass the state teacher licensure examination,” Barsine Benally, M.Ed., a Department of Diné Studies instructor and organizer of the exam.
“This is where NNTEC, ONNSFA and universities are stepping in by providing test preparation skills, content knowledge refresher courses and a scholarship that will help our participants pay for the NES Content Knowledge I, II, and professional knowledge examinations.”
We are here to help our Navajo Nation schools and communities in finding solutions to help in the teacher shortage concern,” Benally said.