PRESS RELEASE - December 22, 2003
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

NMPED Approves MOU for Santa Clara Pueblo to Implement Native Language and Culture Program

(Santa Fe, NM)--The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) announced today that it has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Santa Clara Pueblo for the Pueblo to establish standards and criteria and determine competency for persons seeking certification in Native American Language and Culture for grades K-12.

“Certification in Native language and culture will have a tremendous positive impact on the retention and academic performance of Native American students in New Mexico. And it will be instrumental in the retention of Native language. This second tribal agreement moves us forward in our efforts to make classrooms successful, a key component of Governor Bill Richardson’s education reform initiatives,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. Garcia.

“Respecting and maintaining our Native languages are key to the long-term preservation of our culture. This agreement allows the community to determine proficiency, a right they have sought for decades. I encourage all New Mexico youth to study and retain their Native tongue,” Governor Richardson said.

Under the MOU, the Pueblo will develop standards and criteria to require applicants for certification to demonstrate the following abilities:

· To communicate by speaking, reading and writing in Tewa with fluency and accuracy
· To plan and organize instructional materials, units and lessons for students in the use of Tewa and in the history and cultural traditions of the Pueblo
· To analyze the sound systems, grammatical forms and syntax of Tewa and English and apply that knowledge to the process of teaching Tewa
· To develop drills and exercises that develop student awareness of the structure of both Tewa and English
· To guide students toward informal conversation in Tewa
· To recognize or have knowledge of the principles of child, young adolescent or adolescent growth and development and their relationship to teaching Tewa
· To create a variety of learning situations which bring the history and culture of the Pueblo closer to the student
· To use teaching methods appropriate to the culture of the Pueblo
· To develop, encourage and promote student participation in activities and events which reflect the culture of the Pueblo and
· Knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of the Pueblo.

This is the second MOU to be approved. The first, with the Jicarilla Apache, was approved in August.