SHI, UAS weaving language and culture training into public schools
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) and the University of Alaska Southeast’s PITAAS (Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools) program co-hosted a series of presentations for UAS faculty at the Walter Soboleff Building Thursday as part of an ongoing partnership designed to provide cultural training for Alaska teachers.
Thunder Mountain principal Dan Larson, assistant principal Rhonda Hickok, teacher Annie Janes, and Alaska Native Student Success Coordinator Barbara Cadiente Nelson spoke about Alaska Native student success at TMHS, and Lori Grassgreen, director of the Association of Alaska School Boards, gave a talk on the impact of educational climate and connectedness on student performance.
Also Thursday, SHI language project coordinator Katrina Hotch gave a presentation on how to incorporate SHI’s new Tlingit language app and language games into the classroom. Hotch, who was part of the team to develop the apps, demonstrated sound-identification exercises and group activities geared toward non-speakers. The language app, Learning Tlingit, includes more than three hundred Tlingit words, phrases and sounds, and the Tlingit Language Games app teaches Tlingit words for ocean animals and birds. Both apps were developed by SHI in partnership with SERRC, and are available for download free to i0S and Android devices. For more information, and more teaching resources, visit SHI's language resources page.
The PITAAS program was created by UAS in 2000 with the help of a federal grant to address the shortage of Alaska Native teachers; in Alaska schools, Alaska Natives make up 25% of the student body and less than 5% of the teaching force. The program also provides cultural training for non-Native teachers.