As the 2018-2019 school year ends, we at Running Strong are beginning to think ahead to September and how we can best support teachers and students in the Native communities that we serve, as the next school year approaches. To that end, we launched Dreamstarter Teacher, a grant program designed to support Native students and meet the unmet educational needs in classrooms across the country.
Over the past three years we have had the privilege of working with 54 teachers whose projects have ranged greatly, touching on culture, healthy lifestyles, film production, and entrepreneurship. From constructing a greenhouse to teaching students about traditional methods of dehydrating foods, Dreamstarter Teacher projects have a large impact in the communities they serve and actively shape the experiences of Native students.
Right now, we are accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year! Applications will be due on Saturday, June 15th at 4:00 pm EST. If you know an educator that works with Native students, please encourage them to apply! The Dreamstarter Teacher application can be accessed here.
Learn more about some of our wonderful 2018-2019 Dreamstarter Teachers and their projects below!
In Utah, Dreamstarter Teacher Terra West used her grant to purchase a math program for grades K-6 that would support learning in the classroom and aid struggling students. One student in particular who was having difficulty in the classroom benefited immensely from the program. Terra explained, “With this math program, he is able to familiarize himself with what the next day’s math will be, which allows him to feel more confident and successful during his lesson. He is able to practice the concept that will be taught and review other math concepts that will be accessed during the coming week of learning. His confidence has skyrocketed, and he has begun to be more involved in our classroom math conversations.”
“With little to no money to spend on extra resources, this grant has been an incredible help for our students that are below grade level. By using the money to purchase a comprehensive math program, we have been able to provide struggling students with the extra support they needed to practice learned math strategies and develop a deeper understanding of math concepts. The purchased math program provided rigorous practice for end of year testing and also gave them exposure to concepts that students will encounter during upcoming academic school years,” Terra told us.
At the Menominee Tribal School, Michael Clark spent this past year improving the athletic program and promoting healthy lifestyles in his community. Michael used his grant to purchase athletic equipment for his school, stating, “We also were able to purchase much needed athletic equipment for our athletes at our K-8 Tribal School on the Menominee Indian Reservation…The students just loved their new volleyballs and their new shin guards. We plan on using the volleyball knee pads in the fall.”
Cheryl Tuttle used her Dreamstarter Teacher grant to invite four cultural presenters to visit the Round Valley Native American Studies Program to help students better understand their culture and tribal history. Over the course of the school year, Cheryl coordinated presentations about the soap root plant, ISHI (“a California Indian Cultural hero”), traditional plant medicine, and bear grass. Cheryl says, “Through Running Strong, we have made learning about our culture and history a normal part of the school year. Our students are appreciative of the presentations and look forward to these important connections to their past from people in their present so they can continue their culture into the future.”