Diversity at Fremont #1
Fremont County School District #1 serves the communities of Lander, Hudson, Jeffrey City, and the surrounding area, including the Wind River Indian Reservation. We are a district of about 1,680 students with approximately 73% white students, 12% Native American, 7% Hispanic, 6% multi-race, 1% Asian. About 33% of our students are on free and reduced lunch, and 10% of our students are special education students.
About the Wind River Indian Reservation
The 1.7 million acre Wind River Indian Reservation, established by the Bridger-Teton Treaty in 1864, is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. It is the seventh-largest Indian reservation in the United States, encompassing a land area of 8,995.733 sq km (3,473.272 sq mi). The 2000 census reported a population of 23,250 inhabitants.
Headquarters are at Fort Washakie. Of the population of 7,000 Native Americans (full or part), 54% were Arapaho and 30% Shoshone and 22% spoke a language other than English at home.
Lander is situated south of the reservation boundary. Several other county school districts are located within the reservation boundaries.
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Culturally Responsive Teaching involves several levels of action. While student populations are becoming more diverse, the teaching population primarily consists of white, middle class educators. As educators, we have an ethical responsibility to cultivate opportunities for success for all students. Furthermore, No Child Left Behind requires schools to support culture and diverse ways of learning. In order to better meet the needs of all students, teachers, administrators and other school personnel need to:
Recognize our own cultural understandings and consider how these impact teaching or communication styles
Learn more about the needs of individual students
Adjust instructional strategies and content material to support all learners
Work with community members to learn about culturally responsive approaches
Promote education that is innovative and effective for students from a range of backgrounds
Importance of Community
In many traditional Native American communities, local events and extended families are very important. As an educator, involvement with the community can support culturally responsive teaching practices, increase understanding, and show students and families that you value culture as an individual. Becoming aware of the social organizations of communities can also help you communicate more effectively with parents, grandparents, and students.
Ways to Get Involved
Communicate with Families
- Inform parents and grandparents of student progress with letters, calls, or visits to the home
- Invite tribal elders/educators to teach or assist in classes
- Learn about and incorporate cultural celebrations, literature, and language
Advocate for Students
- Support inclusion of Native American culture in state standards and on standardized assessments
- Offer Native American community forums to discuss current education issues and policies
- Take a class or workshop on teaching Native American students
- Encourage addition of an Arapaho or Shoshone language class
- Promote healthy and respectful lifestyles in the school
- Ask about a tribal listing of events
- Take a basic Arapaho or Shoshone language or culture class
- Learn about game processing and respect for animals
- Attend pow-wows, sporting activities, and other public events
Network with Experts
- Keep a contact list of Native American educators, elders, and leaders who are interested in helping educators
- Ask trusted tribal members questions as they arise
- Consult cultural experts when considering curricular changes, new textbooks/materials, or additions in course offerings/programs
- Ask students for ideas/input
- Incorporate service- or community-based learning into your curriculum