OPI Hosts Annual Indian Education for All Best Practices Conference in Billings

Monday, February 27, 2012
By Allyson Hagen

Office of Public Instruction Hosts Sixth Annual Indian Education for All Best Practices Conference in Billings
Conference Focused on Building and Maintaining Culturally Responsive Relationships

Billings, MT - Montana’s Office of Public Instruction is holding the sixth Annual Indian Education for All Best Practices Conference on February 27 and 28 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Billings.  More than 230 educators are gathering to share knowledge, skills, and classroom materials to implement Indian Education for All. 

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said, “Montana continues to be the national leader in Indian Education and the only state to have a constitutional provision recognizing that our education system has an obligation to teach an accurate history of American Indian people and study contemporary issues of our tribal nations. Indian Education for All enriches our state’s classrooms, and this conference is a great opportunity for educators to share their ongoing classroom efforts for implementing Indian Education for All.”

This year’s conference emphasizes understanding cultural differences, valuing connections, and building and maintaining culturally responsive relationships.  Featured speakers are Reno Charette, MSU-Billings Director of American Indian Outreach, and Casey Olsen, Columbus High School English teacher. Superintendent Juneau will address the conference attendees at noon on Tuesday, February 28.

Teachers attending the conference will also enjoy an evening of poetry on Monday, February 27, with published Native poets Lois Red Elk from Fort Peck and Minerva Allen from Fort Belknap.

Reno Charette is a member of the Ties-In-Bundle clan of the Crow Nation and a descendent of the Pembina band of Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Ms. Charette teaches Native American Studies courses and works on cultural projects that help American Indian students feel comfortable and succeed while attending college at MSU-B. She holds an M.A. in History with a specialty in the American West supported by a B.A.in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Native American Studies.

Casey Olsen is a teacher-consultant of the Montana Writing Project (MWP) and has written multiple articles on educational practices that have been published in the MWP Journal. In 2011, the Museum of the Beartooths in Columbus published The Crow Tribe’s Influence in Stillwater County, a collection of historical articles written and edited by Mr. Olsen’s students. He has a B.A. from the University of Montana and is in the final stages of earning his M.A. in Teaching (English).

To download a complete program of the IEFA Best Practices conference: http://opi/Programs/IndianEd/Update_Listings/NewsStories/2012-02-08_111238.html


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