CSU California Academic Partnership Program

Promoting Academic Retention for Indian Tribal Youth (PARITY)

Native American Indian

Don Winter, Science Teacher, Hoopa High School writes:

PARITY gave me the opportunity to infuse my lesson plans and class assignments with outside-the-classroom experiences. Working with the forest service and the tribe, our science students were able to develop a 1/4-mile science trail and plant a one-acre forest. The forest and trail are integral parts of our science classes now.

Although PARITY is targeted for Native American students, the program is all inclusive and every student benefits.

Working together to build and maintain the trail built bonds of understanding and friendship between the students, and between the students and me. I actually get to know them better, learn more about them, when we're working in the field than when all in the formal classroom. My relationship with them improves when we're out on the science trail doing observations and experiments. The students open up more out there.

All this has led to increased interest in natural resources and we started a natural resources course. It was full in no time. Now we're offering two sections and they're both full.

The project

Located in a rural area of Humboldt county, not far from the Oregon border, the CAPP student population of three Native American tribes resides almost entirely on an Indian reservation located within the 1,100-square mile Klaamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District.

Through staff development and team approaches, faculty partners worked together to develop courses in science, math, social studies, and English that incorporate Native American historical and cultural contributions.

Establishing the concept of a "school without walls," faculty collaborated to ease student transitions between middle school, high school, and college; and designed hand-on lesson plans.

PARITY enhanced grade 9-12 curriculum in English, mathematics, science, and social science to complement Native American thinking and learning styles. A number of steps were taken to increase student academic confidence, including: developing new curriculum units that were relevant to Native Americans; curriculum alignment between elementary and secondary partner institutions and between secondary and postsecondary partners; faculty and staff development in communication and learning styles, cultural values and historical contributions of Native Americans; and dissemination of project-developed curriculum.

CAPP students' performance on standardized tests confirmed PARITY's success. Student performance on standardized mathematics tests increased 56 percent, science 39 percent, English/language arts 18 percent, and reading 17 percent.

Project partners include:

  • Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District
  • Humboldt County Office of Education
  • Hoopa Tribal Education Committee
  • College of the Redwoods
  • Humboldt State University
  • Aetna Life and Casualty
  • Pacific Bell

Dissemination goals: Included presentations on strategies for partnership development, applying the PARITY four-part model to other underrepresented populations, compiling and distributing curriculum plans that demonstrate class subject integration, and sharing the news of successes employed with Native American populations.

During the 1993-94 dissemination year, PARITY partners wrote and published a 253-page curriculum book. This book, Secondary Curriculum Focused on Interrelationships in Language Arts, Mathematics and Science, gives step-be-step instructions on how to create classes that enhance academic success among underrepresented groups. Examples show how subject areas combine to increase student interest and involvement. For example, seaside biology classes include mathematics when students use abalone shells to calculate ratios, art from a study of coast birds' coloring, writing and literature when they describe what they have learned, and ecological awareness and history as they learn the commercial importance in the historical diet of Native Americans.

The book was distributed to more than 300 educators at national conventions this year.

A national networking system on partnership development has grown naturally from PARITY presentations at regional, national, and international education conferences.

A series of presentations and discussions on partnership development were made during the year. These presentations discussed the concepts of inclusion, partner site infrastructure, incremental and developmental aspects of cross-institutional collaboration, as well as communication among partners and within the community. Interactive case studies involving audience member participation are an integral part of these partnership development discussions.

In February, PARITY materials were on display at the 17th annual state-wide American Indian Conference held in Sacramento. That same month, a presentation, "Project PARITY," was given at the Sharing the Vision Conference, for K-12 and higher education professionals, held in Portland, Oregon.

In March, PARITY's video and project materials were part of the continuously running video display area at the California State University deans of education meeting held at Chancellor Munitz's office in Long Beach.

In April, the video and materials were distributed at the meeting of statewide deans of arts held at Humboldt State University. That same month, PARITY discussed partnership development and specifically the role of community colleges at the State Community College Professionals meeting in San Jose.

Two national presentations took place this year, "Diversity Partnerships: A Global View of Ideas" at the Society of Educators and Scholars Annual Interdisciplinary Conference in Evansville, Indiana, and "Strategies for Enhancing Educational Partnerships" at the Association of Teacher Educators held in Atlanta, Georgia.

In June, PARITY partners presented "Interrelationships Among Disciplines Through Cross-Institutional Partner Teams" at the World CASE Study Association International Conference. More than 100 educators from Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa as well as North and South America attended.

This year, Humboldt State University nominated PARITY for one of four exemplary awards in partnership development. PARITY received that award at the Association of University Administrator's national conference held in Houston in June.

"In addition to all our dissemination activities, PARITY received funding this year from Aetna Life and Casualty for the 1994 Summer Bridge program for eighth grade students entering at Hoopa High School," said Sheila Webb, associate dean of teacher preparation programs at Humboldt State University and PARITY director.

"Summer Bridge was originally funded by CAPP during PARITY's implementation phase. We are pleased with this business partner support in funding the bridge program this summer, since the school personnel and parents have found that the Summer Bridge results in high retention rates for at-risk students."


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Last Updated: January 10, 2005