Cultural diversity and school improvement need strong community partnerships so students can freely learn and enjoy freedom. This presentation will highlight leadership efforts over the past five years of one Native American tribe and one local district addressing their cultural divide between public schools and Native children. They focused on data to address cultural diversity by using the School Community Index which is the compilation of data gathered from the school expressed in chart, graph, and narrative forms. The web based tool assessed 65 points relative to relationships between the constituencies within the school community and identified areas of strength as well as areas needing attention. This data allowed them to analyze and draw conclusions about relationships within the school community and deploy strategies to make improvements where needed. The School Community Index revealed the school climate and the perceptions of the people most intimately connected to it.
Bernadette Anderson is Academic Development Institute’s Director of Institutional Advancement and School Community Network. She works with senior staff at multiple State and Local Education Agencies (SEA/LEA), Bureau of Indian Education, Tribal Education Agencies, and nonprofits in school-based instructional improvement. She has an Ed.S. Educational Leadership: Superintendent from Northwest Nazarene University.
Joyce E. McFarland is a Nez Perce tribal member and the Education Manager for the Nez Perce Tribe (2009 - present) and also is the Project Director for the Nez Perce State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) grant from the Department of Education. This initiative aims to improve academic achievement of tribal students, in partner Title I public schools on the Nez Perce reservation, by meeting their unique cultural and educational needs. Joyce graduated from Lapwai High School and Washington State University (Bachelors of Science). She has 22 years of experience partnering with Title I schools on prevention, health promotion, and education initiatives.