Boeing Announces $24,000 Gift to Support Native American Curriculum

September 29, 2005

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The Boeing Company has announced a $24,350 gift to the Northwest Native American Reading Curriculum, a project co-sponsored by The Evergreen State College and led by Magda Costantino, director of the Evergreen Center for Educational Improvement and Denny Hurtado, director of the Office of Indian Education at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The gift will support the printing of Native American Curriculum books that combine the learning components of reading, writing, communication and social studies. Costantino said "this program is important because children are our future, and we are very grateful to Boeing for this important gift." Costantino continues, "these kids deserve our support."

The Northwest Native American Reading Curriculum is a research-based and culturally relevant supplemental curriculum for Washington students in grades K-2. The program aims to improve the effectiveness of education and elevate the reading levels of Native students in particular. Historically, Native American students have been among the lowest scoring groups on standardized tests, however recent scores have shown significant improvement among Native American students.

The program hinges on allowing multiple opportunities for reading and writing stories from Native students' own cultural heritage. Generally shared by elders and other esteemed tribal members, the reading and retelling of the stories in the curriculum enhance students' communication skills for use in their communities and schools.

The program has involved significant collaboration between teachers, tribal leaders, and curriculum experts to develop a framework for the program that includes three main strategies:

· · Re-telling: Inviting participation by storytellers, tribal elders, and other adults from the students' communities.

· · Now and Then: Students are provided with opportunities to analyze issues from both historical and contemporary standpoints.

· · Comparison and Contrast: Students investigate the similarities and differences among different Washington Native American tribes while developing the students' higher order thinking skills.

For more information on the program, contact Magda Costantino at (360) 867-6388