Originally published Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 09:44a.m.

TSAILE, Ariz - Thirty-five educators are one step closer to becoming a classroom teacher after recently attending a two-day boot camp at Diné College. They now have 60 days to take the state teaching examination.

The School of Dine Studies and Education (SDSE) recently hosted a Teacher Licensure Boot Camp. The event was sponsored by the Navajo Nation Teacher Education Consortium (NNTEC). The camp is designed to provide degreed teachers who have not passed the state teaching licensure, certification or endorsement exams.

Teachers participating in the boot camp were able to do so with meals and instructional services paid for. The success of the boot camp demonstrated the feasibility of future teacher boot campus for teachers from around the Navajo Nation, college officials said.

“Local schools are in need of teachers with background experience in Dine language and cultural studies, and Dine College currently has educational degree programs in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Secondary Education,” Lawrence Isaac, Jr., Ph.D., dean of the School of Dine Studies and Education,” said. “(NNTEC) member institution faculty assisted with the required courses.”

SDSE participating faculty included Barsine Benally, Amelia Black and Jeannie Lewis, from the Dine Teacher Education Program. Dr. Gregory Redhouse assisted from the School of Business and Social Science. Dr. Kenneth Locey, from the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, assisted with science and physical education.

Dr. Henry Fowler from Navajo Technical University (NTU), assisted with the teaching of mathematics and science. Fowler is a former Dine College math professor. Cindy Higgins, from Southern Utah State University assisted with instructional assignments.

SDSE will continue to provide teacher education courses in hopes of further developing more qualified and degreed teachers in responding to Navajo Nation’s teacher shortage in local communities, Isaac, Jr., said.

Isaac, Jr., said SDSE plans on hosting other boot camps in the future and developing a training format to accommodate participating teachers. He said Diné College is aware of the importance of instructional services for unlicensed teachers to complete their teaching licensure and becoming placed in community schools.

The NNTEC members who participated in the boot camp included NTU, San Juan College, Fort Lewis College, Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico. Each assisted with recruitment efforts, proposal development, in-kind support and boot camp instruction.

“The Teacher Licensure Boot Camp is the first of its kind,” Benally said. “This is where NNTEC, ONNSFA and universities are stepping in by providing test preparation skills, content knowledge refresher courses and a scholarship that will help our participants.”

Information provided by Diné College

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