March 29, 2007

Results with total immersion

A Culture Put to the Test

For Navajo children, a rigorous program draws on tradition to spur achievement.Ask Marilyn Begay why the Navajo-immersion school where she is a 5th grade teacher has fared well in meeting student-achievement goals under the No Child Left Behind Act, and she’ll say it’s because the school integrates Navajo language and culture into its curriculum.

Put the same question to Maggie Benally, the school’s principal, and she’ll credit instruction driven by analysis of students’ test scores. The Navajo Language Immersion School—Tséhootsooí Diné Bi’ólta’, to use its Navajo name—made adequate yearly progress in all subgroups under the federal law last school year, Ms. Benally said, because “the teachers know exactly where their students are in terms of data.”

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