Teachers share improvement ideas at Utah Native American Summit


Several dozen Native American parents listened as representatives from the UEA and the NEA shared ideas for improving education at the Ninth Annual Governor’s Native American Summit.

Samantha Eldridge from the National Education Association was joined by UEA Vice President Tom Nedreberg, Monument Valley High School teacher Howard Dee, and Special White House Counsel in Native American Education Bill Mendoza in a presentation titled “Rethinking Parental Engagement.” They talked about the issues Native Americans parents face when they work with their local schools in remote and rural areas of the reservations in Utah.

The presenters stressed the importance of reaching out to the school and participating in school activities. It was also noted that teachers must understand the importance of flexibility in meeting Native American parents who may have to travel great distances or who are dealing with high levels of poverty.

The presentation included engaging participants in small group conversations and sharing with the large group issues that could make the experience of Native American parents dealing with schools better.

The annual Native American Summit began in 2006 at the request of then Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., as a way of facilitating a discussion between government, business and tribal leaders to develop solutions to various challenges that American Indians living in Utah face. The Utah Division of Indian Affairs sponsors the Summit, bringing together Utah Tribal Nations, community members, educators, organizations, students, Legislative members, and public officials for the two-day event.

The Summit was held at Utah Valley University on July 30-31.

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