WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. Superintendent Andrew M. Tah of the Navajo Nation Department of Dine Education, Honorable Dwight Whitherspoon, and members of the Navajo Nation Board of Education (Jimmie C. Begay, President; Katherine D. Arvisor, member; Bennie Begay, member; and Deloris Noble-Parker, member), participated in the 43rd Annual National Indian Education Association (NIEA) Conference and Trade Show held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 18-21, 2012.
Various education administrators and school board members from local grant and contract schools also attended and participated in the NIEA Conference.
According to the NIEA President Quinton Roman Nose (Cheyenne), the NIEA conference focused on "using technology to advance culture-base education for Native students." Roughly 2,000 attendees from throughout the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, participated in the four-day Conference.
On Oct. 17, Tah met with the Navajo Nation Teacher Education Consortium (NNTEC) discussing, planning and formulating the NM PED's grant application titled "Teacher Support Initiative." NNTEC is composed of the nine colleges and universities in the Southwest. These educational institutes provide higher-education opportunities to tribal members.
On the same day, Wendy Greyeyes, with the Office of Educational Research & Statistics, presented at the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly (TEDNA) information on the recent State-Tribal Educational Partnership (STEP) award from the United States Department of Education along with other Tribal Education Departments awardees from Nez Pearce, Umatilla, and Choctaw Nations. In addition, she presented the recent New Mexico Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Data Exchange along with the Choctaw Nation's own MOA with the Oklahoma Department of Education.
On the first day of the conference, both Dr. Kalvin White and Assistant Superintendent Tim Benally made their presentations. Dr. White presented "Culture Identity and Adolescent Depression." The presentation focused on the relationship between culture identity and depression.
"Depression is the leading mental health diagnosis among American Indian adolescents and has often been implicated as a factor in poor academic performance of American Indian students," White said.
Benally presented "Integration of Native Concepts with the Common Core (Mathematics)." The presentation explored the learning environment using native concepts.
The NIEA Conference included a youth conference that was attended by many native youths including Navajo youths from Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
"It is always good to take ideas from the conference and apply it to all K-12 and higher educational settings, either from talking with people or from the breakout sessions. I felt overall the conference was very good and gave important information," said Jimmie C. Begay, NNBOE President.
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