Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | GrandCanyonTourGuide.com
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : education : education April 29, 2016


6/25/2013 10:29:00 AM
Navajo County schools get donation for science and math programs
Science Foundation America to donate $15 million over next three years to 13 rural Arizona counties
A fourth grade girl from Arizona builds a small wind turbine to determine which size/shape of arm generates the most power. Photo/Science Foundation Arizona
A fourth grade girl from Arizona builds a small wind turbine to determine which size/shape of arm generates the most power. Photo/Science Foundation Arizona
A young boy studies minerals, an example of hands-on, interactive learning that is vital to kids studying science. Photo/Science Foundation America
A young boy studies minerals, an example of hands-on, interactive learning that is vital to kids studying science. Photo/Science Foundation America
Katherine Locke
Reporter

HOLBROOK, Ariz. -- A recent study exposed a critical lack of skills and basic equipment and resources necessary for teaching students science and math in 13 rural counties in Arizona. An anonymous donation of $15 million over the next three years across the 13 counties could improve that situation immediately, starting in Navajo and Apache counties.

Science Foundation Arizona, a non-profit organization, has donated $40 million for education in Arizona over the past six years. In the past, most of that money has gone to larger schools. The foundation's study found that rural schools are facing challenges just like larger schools.

The foundation sent the study to every public school and superintendent, principal and teacher in the 13 rural and remote counties. The response from Navajo and Apache counties was a key reason those counties are first in line to receive the money in the fall. Forty-nine out of the 52 schools in Navajo County, or 94 percent, responded.

"These are people who are desperately asking for the resources to do their job," said Margaret Mullen, chief operating officer for the foundation. "They don't have corporations there to support them like they do in Phoenix or Tucson or even Flagstaff, and they're saying, 'we want to do this, give us the skills and equipment and the resources to do this.'"

One challenge teachers will experience in the fall is teaching to the new Common Core standards that begin in the upcoming school year. Starting in the fall, if the principal and the superintendent agree to set aside common planning time every week for the teachers to meet and talk about how to implement the Common Core across different subjects, the foundation will provide gift cards for supplies.

"Our objective is simple, we want to improve academic performance in science and math and we want to upgrade the state school grade.There are a lot of C, D and F schools, there are a couple of B schools, but we're hoping we can move some of those grades up to As and Bs," Mullen said.

In addition, teachers may request as much as $10,000 for equipment to improve science and math teaching and additional money so teachers can improve their skills in science and math. A full-time field staff person will work only in Navajo and Apache counties to assist teachers in developing a curriculum, filling out forms or giving support wherever it is needed.

"We understand how hard change is when you don't have somebody who can come help you," Mullen said. "And so we we're going to try and get the people there to provide the professional development in science and math so the teachers have modern skills and updated technology to improve academic performance in the classroom."

Mullen said that in rural and smaller communities it is difficult to find people who can mentor teachers on modern science and math as they do in larger communities. The foundation wants to engage the local community but also give supplies directly to the teachers. Those supplies can be as simple as a calculator or as extensive as a curriculum in science and math.

"Some of these teachers tell us they need textbooks because their textbooks are eleven years old and don't have all the pages," Mullen said.

"I wish everyone in Arizona would go on our website and read these comments from teachers, it's appalling to me," Mullen added. "Here's one: 'our school only had one computer lab for about 600 students. Classes are scheduled to use the computer lab once every week for 30 minutes.' That means 30 kids on a computer for 30 minutes, that's ridiculous."

Mullen said she recognizes that her organization is taking some short term, stop-gap measures to provide basic resources to the schools and teachers, but she believes it is important to give the teachers some hope that people are listening to teachers' needs.

But Mullen stresses that more help is needed for these schools in the long term. Her foundation is continuing to raise money to help these communities and she said that every person who pays state taxes in Arizona can help.

"If a person pays state taxes in Arizona, they can donate to a school, $200 per individual or $400 per couple and it comes directly off your tax bill, so it costs you nothing to give money to a school," Mullen said. "Fifteen million dollars sounds like a lot over three years but at $5 million a year, if you look at all the counties that is about $500 a teacher. That won't do it."

More information about the study is available at www.sfaz.org/rural.






    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack




Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, nhonews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved