Free newsletter to help teachers help Native American students graduate from high school.
1. For Teachers:
To give students a greater sense of purpose for the class you are teaching, ask them to dedicate the class to someone they respect. It could be an elder; it could be a parent or grandparent. When we dedicate something to someone we do so because we hold that person in high esteem and want to honor that person by doing our best. Periodically, remind the students of this dedication. During parent-teacher conferences, ask the student to tell the parent who they dedicated the class to. For younger students, they could dedicate projects or units of instruction to a special person.
2. For Students:
The National Center For Educational Statistics reports that the median income of persons ages 18 through 67 who had not completed high school was roughly $23,000 in 2008. By comparison, the median income of persons ages 18 through 67 who completed their education with at least a high school credential, including a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, was approximately $42,000. Over a person’s lifetime, this translates into a loss of approximately $630,000 in income for a person who did not complete high school compared with a person with at least a high school credential (Rouse 2007).
3. Facts Teachers Should Know:
The Minneapolis StarTribune recently reported that in Minneapolis, for example, “a district where non-white students are the majority, two of five black and Hispanic students who entered high school in 2006 walked away with a diploma in 2010. For American Indian students, the rate was 17.4 percent.”
4. What Teachers Can Do Today:
Remind students of what they will lose in income over a lifetime when they fail to complete high school.
5. Teaching Strategies
When a student trusts the teacher, the student will do most of what teachers ask the students to do. To help teachers earn the trust of students, frequently use activities that help the teacher get to know the student. The better teachers know their students, the greater the likelihood that the student will trust the teacher. Not much of consequence can happen when there is distrust. With trust, however, there is no limit to what teachers and students can do together.
6. What all of us can do.
We need to remind politicians, educators, parents and young people that the low graduation rate for high school and college Native students is completely unacceptable. The number one goal of education is to graduate 100% of our students. Greater efforts need to be made by everyone to ensure that this goal is met. Talking about it just wouldn’t do it. Forming a committee just wouldn’t do it. What matters most is what happens in the classroom. Perhaps this newsletter will help just a little.