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The City Journals

Granite School District Hosts Winter Cultural Celebration

Jan 04, 2016 03:30PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Aimee L. Cook

West Valley - ‘Tis the seasons for all types of celebrations. The Granite School District seized the moment to celebrate the four percent increase in high school graduates from 2014 to 2015 of American Indian students. Currently there are 954 American Indian students in the Granite District who are registered with their tribes.

“We have been hosting this event for several years as part of our Title VII Indian Education Program funds that we receive from the federal government,” Charlene Lui, director of education equality for Granite School District, said. “It is a way for our government to improve education outcome.”

The Title VII Indian Education Program is legislation created in 1972 as a result of the migration of American Indian students moving from on-site reservation schools to urban area public schools in the 1950s.  

In addition, the federal government took the call to action to educate American Indian students and Alaska Native American students in an effort to best serve their needs by giving the direction to the Indian people themselves, thus creating the Office of Indian Education. 

There is also a very involved parent committee associated with the Title VII Indian Education Program, and they assist in coordinating the events and provide a partnership with the educators. 

“Several of the districts have access to this funding,” Lui said. “The funding can be used for educational opportunies, like mentoring or setting up tutoring, or paying for afterschool programs.”

The Winter Cultural/Literacy night is one of the big events provided throughout the year. Food and entertainment are provided for the families that attend. This year, 380 people attended. This event is also a way to inform families as to what resources are available in the Granite School District.  

Tables were filled with resources for parents to pick-up, from preschool information to college. The college and career readiness staff was on hand to answer questions about graduation requirements and offer guidance on applying to colleges or secondary opportunities, as well as the preschool staff. According to Lui, there are few American Indian preschool students; they wanted to make sure the families knew of this resource. 

In January, the committee will host the “Parent in Power” conference, which is an opportunity for all families to come and learn about resources that parents might not know about. 

“We try and work with the different ethnic groups, but also want to make sure we get the word out to everybody about what resources are available and how we, in Granite School District, can partner with parents and families and making sure that everyone has opportunities to succeed,” Lui said.