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PRESS RELEASE

April 16, 2002

U.S. Tribes, SDE and SBE to Meet April 23-24 At Government-to-Government Meeting

(Santa Fe, NM)- Representatives of the New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) and New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) will meet with 22 Indian tribal leaders at the 2002 Semiannual Government-to-Government Meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 23-24, at San Juan Community College in Farmington. The purpose of the meeting is to continue collaborative efforts to improve the education of Native American students attending New Mexico's public schools.

"The semiannual meetings between tribal and state leaders provide an opportunity for partnerships and the direct involvement of tribes in meeting the educational needs of Indian students. Collectively, we are seeking the most effective strategies and use of resources to increase academic achievement," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis.

On Tuesday, April 23, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, participants will hear addresses from SBE President Margaret Davis, State Superintendent Davis and Acoma Pueblo Governor Cyrus Chino, followed by a legislative update from Senator Leonard Tsosie on the Indian Education Act and the Native American Language Teacher Certificate.

At noon, professor of bilingual/multicultural education, Jon Reyhner, from Northern Arizona University (ASU) in Flagstaff, Arizona, will speak on bilingual education for Native American students. Following his address, criteria will be identified for a teaching license for Native language and culture.

On Wednesday, April 24, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, Peterson Zah, special assistant to the ASU president, will provide a keynote address on efforts and strategies to recruit Native American teachers and administrators. Concurrent sessions will follow, beginning at 10:30 a.m., on charter schools, full-day kindergarten and family literacy and distance learning and Advanced Placement for Native American communities.

Native American students from the Central Consolidated Schools and Zuni Public Schools will provide entertainment following the keynote addresses on both days.

State Superintendent Davis termed the government-to-government meetings "instruments of change." "These meetings with our Indian partners will result in public policy that makes sense and will achieve results. We must do everything we can to eliminate the gap that exists between Native Americans and other students," he said.


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