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Updates from Dreamstarter Teachers!

8/31/17 under Dreamstarter Teacher



Our first cohort of Dreamstarter Teacher has been a success! We have some exciting updates from a few members of the Spring 2017 cohort.

Alanna Purdy from Six Directions Indigenous School used her grant to provide transportation to the sacred sight of Mt. Taylor.

The grant also provided recording equipment so the students could record interviews with stakeholders, recording Indigenous place names, and samples of environmental sounds for a student-produced podcast on the proposed Roca Honda Mine project.

In her own words, Alanna believes that the trip, “helped all of us to explore the networks that make our school and our story possible.” Her students explained how the trip affected both their identities, and expanded their career paths.

"I felt like I could share who I am and where I come from something real that I experienced, not from a book or from a computer screen."


"Before we did the podcast project, STEAM was my least-favorite subject, but I felt really motivated to do my best on this project because I really liked learning how to use the technology."

Elizabeth Syria used her grant to provide musical instruments for students and invite tribal members to teach musical traditions to students. They also hosted concerts in the community.

Parents and siblings were invited to classes and it ended up becoming a way for students to find their place.

“One of our students had a difficult time adjusting to attending school last year. There was much crying and unhappiness. The parents and siblings of this student were invited to participate. We all benefited, but especially our struggling student.”

Sara Zsenai used the grant to enroll students in a horseback riding camp for therapeutic treatment, also known as hippotherapy.

The time at Horse Camp improved students balance, motor control, anxiety, and communication. Parents were also able to see the benefits of hippotherapy and could talk with their therapists about their child’s progress.

A touching story about one student with autism effectively displays the positive affects of hippotherapy.

“At first, he was using some "self talk" to say that he was scared, and didn't want to ride the horse, but then would say that he likes horses and it would be okay. It was apparent to the staff that he wanted to ride, but that he was scared to.


So the first thing we did was have him watch his brother ride the horse. He liked to watch him and seemed more happy to be around the horses. Then, we had him pet and groom the horse a bit, to get used to what they felt like and smelled like.


Finally, we helped him up the stairs to the ramp where, after a few failed attemps, he finally took a deep breath and said (after we encouraged him), "I can do it" and was on the horse. I have never seen this student smile so big, and you could tell he was so excited to be on the horse. Not only was he proud of himself, but we were very proud of him (and his father was shedding tears of joy!).”

Thank you to our amazing Dreamstarter Teachers for the work you do for Native youth. 

Find out more about our Dreamstarter Teacher Program!

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