State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor convened the 3rd Annual Tribal Education Gathering at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on November 19, 2019. The gathering is held for all American Indian Nations to come to the agency to learn more about education issues and share information.
Representation includes tribal presidents and chairs, tribal education directors, Wisconsin Indian Education Association board members, and Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council leadership.
Stanford Taylor opened the gathering by acknowledging the land of the Ho-Chunk Nation to recognize and respect the Indigenous people, history, and culture of the area. She discussed the importance of advocacy and speaking up for students when we know that something is not working for them. “Our students don’t just exist in schools,” she said. “They exist in families, in communities, and it is incumbent on all of us to be in this together.”
The focus of this year’s gathering was on accessing and exploring data about our American Indian students and understanding outcomes. This topic was requested in a number of the department’s memoranda of understanding with tribal nations. Laura Pinsonneault, director of the Office of Educational Accountability shared information and discussed cycles of data use at different layers, and how educators and students can use it as an empowering motivator for setting and reaching goals.
David O’Connor, DPI American Indian Studies consultant described the importance of the annual gathering by sharing, “It is a great opportunity to bring together tribal leaders and community members from across Wisconsin to discuss efforts we can do together to best support our American Indian students, families, communities, and nations in Wisconsin.”
There are more than 9,500 American Indian students enrolled in public schools throughout the state. Examining data and information for stakeholders to take back to their local contexts serves a wider audience to become informed users of the data and the stories the data tells.
The tribal education gatherings are supported by the DPI American Indian Studies Consultant, David O’Connor, and DPI Senior Policy Advisor, Jennifer Kammerud.