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Hello parents, grandparents, and community,

I would like to tell you about all the wonderful happenings at Central Consolidated Schools, and how our team has been working hard for our students in the past few months.

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In the photo: Ms. Begay, from Nizhoni Elementary School, during a Navajo lesson.

Department of Johnson-O’Malley

In February, the district welcomed Alice J. Benally, Senior Education Specialist for the Johnson-O´Malley Program (JOM), as she performed a monitoring visit to the district. As part of their role, JOM performs an evaluation of records and visitations to subcontractors (in this case CCSD) to ensure compliance with the 2019-2020 Education Plan.

The Department of Johnson O'Malley is situated in the Department of Diné Education within the Executive Branch of the Navajo Nation Government, in Window Rock, Arizona.

Ms. Benally met with CCSD representatives and me, to make sure we are working on making JOM processes and procedures available to administrators, teachers, students, and the public.

During her visit, Ms. Benally visited our language programs at Mesa, Eva B. Stokely, Shiprock High, Nizhoni, and Tsé Bit A'í, checking for the availability of materials in different languages and seeing our teachers in action in the classroom.

While at Ms. Mason’s class at Mesa Elementary School, Ms. Benally had a chance to see the implementation of math and Navajo language, and reading “Baby’s First Laugh,” by Beverly Blacksheep. The conversation centered on teaching techniques (using a cradleboard, for example), and student work.

Later on that morning, students at Ms. Bedah’s class at Eva B. Stokely were asking each other questions in Navajo using colors. Right next to that classroom, Ms. Jones was working on a similar lesson using colors and letters, while teachers from Piñon Community School were observing how CCSD teachers work on lesson plans and language. One classroom over, students were leading the day’s lesson at Ms. Charles class, learning calendar days and also leadership (they took turns).

At Shiprock High School, students at Ms. Willie’s class were continuing a wonderful lesson with string games, winter stories, and constellations.

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In the photo: Alice Benally, Senior Education Specialist for the Johnson-O´Malley Program, visiting to Eva B. Stokely Elementary.

“In each of the schools that I visited today, what impressed me the most is that they are utilizing the Navajo language and that the materials are there for them to access. I felt that they are not in need for more materials at this time. They also gave me the necessary time to interview students and look at their work, which was very helpful. All in all, it was a good visit. I was able to sit down with the teachers, which was also good. I’ve enjoyed my visit,” said Alice J. Benally.

The Department of Johnson-O'Malley, established in 2001, provides supplemental funding for eligible Native American students in public schools. The programs are implemented with active parental involvement through subcontracts to establish a local Indian Education Committee (IEC) to conduct needs assessments, planning, development, implementation, and evaluation.

PAX in our Classrooms

One of the most wonderful things about Ms. Benally’s visit, other than not receiving any negative marks, was her strong comments on school conduct. She said to be pleasantly surprised at the level of organization in our classrooms, and how it is a product of PAX techniques–a complete approach to improving academics and classroom behavior.

The techniques, which CCSD started using at Naschitti Elementary School while I was principal there, create an environment where students are learning to manage their own behavior. I’ve seen how they learn how to control their voices during a lesson, how they exercise when they feel low on energy (or when they are full of energy), and most importantly, how teaching and learning has changed by eliminating distractions.

Claire S. Richardson, Director of Indigenous Programs at PAXIS Institute, said recently to us that though behavior change is not easy, Central Consolidated Schools is on track to support students to make behavior changes and learn the skill sets to self-regulate their own behaviors because of the implementation of PAX, which is especially significant in communities serving indigenous children where there is historical, intergenerational trauma whose impacts are demonstrated by increasing rates of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, including but not limited to youth suicidality.

In a letter, Ms. Richardson said: “I write this letter to you as a celebration for Central Consolidated School’s groundbreaking work that has never been done before in any other state or in any other Indigenous community. In less than one year’s time, Central Consolidated School District rolled out PAX implementation by training the teachers at all eight elementary schools. Second, many of those schools are already beginning to see positive outcomes as a result of the implementation which is supported by data collected. Third, and this is the most significant, as a district, you have implemented PAX in a district with a significant indigenous student population. This has never been accomplished before anywhere in the United States or Canada where our indigenous PAX efforts have been focused.”

If you are interested in seeing more about PAX, click here.

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In the photo: Kyle Archibeque, Director of Finance, presents details on the budget and how it will be used in 2020 and 2021.

To me, the JOM visit and the feedback on PAX have been the highlight, but only just a little bit of the work we’ve done recently. The team has also completed three CCSD public hearings with information from our major departments; as well as a budget survey and three budget public hearings. These events were done in Kirtland, Shiprock, and Newcomb, and we’ve received great feedback to consider while making decisions on how our departments work and how we’ll spend money in the upcoming academic year.

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In the photo: Dr. Dave Goldtooth discussed ways to improve the Transportation Department with the staff at Kirtland.

I would like to thank our Transportation Department staff for letting me visit with them this past week. I spent three productive mornings with the Transportation staff at Newcomb, Shiprock, and Kirtland, discussing how the district is advocating for receiving more Impact Aid funds and the collaboration with the City of Farmington towards keeping the power plants operational. More importantly, we also worked in groups to discuss safety and security on the job, and ways to improve the department.

Extra Classes for Students

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In the photo: Students learned how to make ribbon skirts during CCSD's Expand Your Knowledge classes.

Our Cultural Heritage Department concluded the “Diverse Singing, Dancing and Pow-wow Style” classes in the month of February, which will be followed by “Native Music and Navajo Games” classes this month. Both are part of the Expand Your Knowledge series, which we started as a pilot program last summer and has grown to monthly classes on Navajo cooking, sewing, public speaking, and storytelling. It is my sincere hope that we can continue to offer these types of classes for our students in the summer.

If you are interested in seeing videos about Expand Your Knowledge, click here or here. But, don’t stop there, we also have incredible videos on our Winter Concert and Jazz Festival that will give you, at least I hope, a fuller picture of what takes place at Central Consolidated Schools. We are always working on making education for our students better and fuller, from academics to sports.

Training for Staff

SPED TrainingIn the photo: Special Education teachers took part in a two-day course on the multidimensional nature of the NM STEM Ready.

This past weekend, our Special Education teachers took part in a two-day course on the multidimensional nature of the NM STEM Ready! Sponsored by NMPED, our teachers experienced science learning that examines eight dimensions and makes plans for integrating them into classroom practice. Our teachers should be commended for spending time away from their families to take part in this great course and be on time on Monday!

"NGSS provides an important opportunity to improve not only science education, but also student achievement. It envisions to have students engage in the work of science and engineering, thus develop the skills in the practices of science and engineering, adopt the habits of thinking of scientists and engineers and gain science and engineering knowledge. In order to promote student engagement under the three dimensions of NGSS namely the SEP, DCI & CCC, other supporting dimensions are incorporated like literacy, mathematics, technology, culture and affective and learning life, and career skills," said Gloria Marinas, from Newcomb Middle School, about what she learned new from the training.

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In the photo: Dr. Sharroky Hollie presents a workshop on classroom management to our teachers.

This week, sixty of our teachers took part in a workshop on classroom management presented by Dr. Sharroky Hollie. The workshop, which took place at Bond Wilson, covered identifying cultural behaviors and distinguishing cultural behaviors from disruptive behavior. The teachers that attended were selected by our school principals to take part in Cultural and Linguistically Relevant Instruction Teams for the district.

If you were a part of those pieces of trainings, good for you and thank you. We also will be hosting “Professional Development for All Educators,” presented by David D’ Antonio, on Thursday, March 26, at Bond Wilson Training Center in Kirtland. Add it to your calendar now.

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In the photo: The Kirtland Central Lady Broncos won back to back 1-4A District Championships.

Before I continue, let’s congratulate our students for their incredible achievements:

  • Ian Thomas winner of the District 1-4A 220-lbs Wrestling Division Title.
  • Jojera Dodge, 1st place medal at the 2020 NMNG State Wrestling Championships, 220-lbs Division.
  • Kirtland Middle’s students placing in six of 23 events at the State Science Olympiad.
  • Our jazz bands that participated in the Jazz Fest 2020 at the Brooks/Isham Performing Arts Center.
  • Our middle school and high school bands that represented the district at the North West New Mexico Music Educators Association’s Concert Festival.
  • The Lady Broncos on back to back 1-4A District Championships.
  • The Lady Skyhawks won the 1-2A District Championship in style.
  • Our elementary schools and middle schools putting their creativity on display at the 2020 Art Show at the Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center.
  • Also, I want to single out Tsé Bit A'í Middle School for having a number of outstanding achievements, from their Robotics team placing 6th at state and facing more than 140 teams from New Mexico, to Mr. McCombe’s Art Class on sweeping the Monument Valley Art Show and the Warriors basketball team winning the district championship.

This month, we will overload a little on our basketball coverage with our teams playing at state. We need you to support our teams because they are great athletes and represent us in front of other school districts. You may have seen me at some of the games, cheering for our teams. I believe in “one vision, one mission,” in being there for all the teams, win or lose. Come and support them all. And, if you see me at the game, come and say hello.

I would also like to encourage you to visit our Facebook page, facebook.com/CentralConsolidatedSchools, to see all the photos and videos we’ve posted of these and other events. Remember to follow us and share our content with the community, so that they also get to know more about our schools and the amazing things happening in and out our classrooms every day.

Lastly, I want to put two more items on your radar that we’ll be discussing in-depth in the next few weeks. The first one is the Census. We have met with local organizations that will be promoting the importance of the Census and we need you to help us share the message. It is really vital that we are counted accurately and receive the resources we need, and we can’t do that with an inaccurate count of our communities. The second one is COVID 19, or Coronavirus. We have sent a letter home to parents and posted the letter on our website regarding this disease, but we need you to help us make sure we are sharing verified information and that we are, first and foremost, being safe at all times. You should know that we are being proactive, sanitizing our schools and busses every day, and that we are in close contact with the New Mexico Department of Health. Should anything change, we will use our parent call system and post the information on ccsdnm.org and our social media channels.

Sincerely,

Dr. Dave Goldtooth

Interim Superintendent of Central Consolidated School District