In a report approved Monday, members of the Farmington School District’s American Indian Education Parent Committee asked the school board for greater representation of American Indian culture in schools and for more opportunities for students to explore their native heritage.
The committee met regularly prior to this year, but its efforts have changed some since the district added Numen Smith as an American Indian education liaison. It has not typically asked the school board for action.
Smith had his first official meeting with the parent committee earlier this month and has worked with them to identify opportunities.
Among the concerns the committee presented in its current recommendation is the fact signs in the district that present information in multiple languages do not include native languages.
Smith wrote in the committee’s resolution that it is important to let students know there is a growing population of American Indian students in Farmington schools.
“We … need to educate the student body and let them and all parents and teachers know that we are not just mascots or pages in a history book,” Smith wrote. “There are American Indian students roaming the hallways now as we speak, next to your student. Everyone needs to know we are not a race that has just disappeared and now only see in the movies or what Hollywood portrays us to be.”
Barb Duffrin, the district’s director of educational programs, said Monday that the district has seen an increase since Smith was hired in the number of families that identify as American Indian.
Among other things, the committee is advocating field trips to significant sites, a mentorship program for older students to work with younger students and a summer program to keep the district’s native population connected when school is not in session.
The parent committee has also extended an invitation to the district’s art teachers to talk about enhancing the curriculum to include American Indian art.
“Our art teachers are very excited about this,” Duffrin said.
Also on Monday, school board members awarded bids for several of the projects funded by the bond referendum voters approved last November.
School board members approved a $1,479,600 bid from Pioneer Power to replace boilers at Farmington Elementary School and Boeckman Middle School.
Pioneer Power had the lowest of four bids submitted for the project.
The district also approved bids to replace roofs at Dodge Middle School; Riverview, North Trail and Farmington elementary schools; and the District Service Center and Instructional Service Center. The bids went to different contractors. The total cost will be $4.2 million.