Native American Heritage Month in our Schools

Sheridan Hills Elementary students learn during a field trip to Wood Lake Nature Center
Native American Heritage Month in our Schools

Schools and classrooms across the district celebrated Native American Heritage Month with special events throughout the month. Here are highlights from two of our elementary schools:  

Native students at Sheridan Hills Elementary met with American Indian Education Coordinator Sarah Jesperson to look at the items in the new elementary art standards-aligned Native Art Culture Trunk, which can be checked out by elementary art teachers throughout the District.

Centennial Elementary had a special performance celebrating Native Heritage Month. Members of the drum group Hoka Hey, including Centennial kindergarten student Amyus, sang and drummed for an assembly performance. Thank you to Jennifer Puchuela, an outreach worker at Centennial, for organizing this very special assembly! 

Supporting American Indian Education in RPS

Sarah Jesperson (Blackfeet Nation Enrolled) is our American Indian Education Coordinator. Sarah works closely with Native students and families throughout the District in a variety of ways. 

Sarah provides direct support to Native students and families by organizing unique cultural events and field trips, offering check and connect services, recruiting and organizing the American Indian Parent Advisory Committee, taking Native high school students on unique college visits/field trips, and she is on the planning committee for the annual multi-district South of the River Powwow. 

Behind the scenes, Sarah is in charge of writing and budgeting grants directly pertaining to American Indian Education, including the Minnesota Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education grant and the Federal Office of Indian Education grant. Sarah purchases and recommends culturally-appropriate books for schools, gives classroom presentations and is involved with curriculum development at the district level by working closely with the directors of elementary and secondary education. In addition, she supports professional development in the District by presenting or bringing in outside cultural experts to educate staff on Native American issues. 

You can reach Sarah with any questions at sarah.jesperson@rpsmn.org or 612-798-6025

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