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Alumni News
July 17 2014


Sweet Grass Teachers Earn PBS Award
A team of educators who graduated from UTTC’s Sweet Grass Project have been recognized for their work in family literacy.

Kindergarten teachers Kara Four Bear, Shyanne Comeau and BilliJo Gravseth were named recipients of the 2014 Prairie Public Broadcasting Literacy Grant Award.

Four Bear is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Tribe. Comeau and Gravseth are from Standing Rock. The three are known as “Team Kindergarten” at Standing Rock Elementary School in Ft. Yates, ND, where Virginia Longfeather is principal.

Prairie Public, a regional Public Broadcasting System affiliate, partners with educators in North Dakota and Minnesota to host free community-wide family literacy events.

“Team Kindergarten” hosted Family Literacy Night as part of the SRES after-school program. The event was a great success. The team coordinated the help of the “Night Lights” staff, SRES coordinators, the SRCS Title I Program, and Prairie Public.

Families engaged in a variety of fun activities including: Miss Sparkles Puppet Show (Bismarck Public Library), Face Painting, 5th Grade “Living Museum” (Ms. Longtine), Cultural Presentation (Missouri River Educational Cooperative), Conventional and Non-conventional Book Making (Smithsonian Institute Training), Free Books and Technology Showcase (Prairie Public), Community Helpers, a Family Meal, and The Lakota Language Berenstain Bears - Ina and Ate Mahto.  Each child received free books of their choosing courtesy of Prairie Public.

The United Tribes Sweet Grass Project is a teacher preparation program funded by the Office of Special Education in the U. S. Dept. of Education. Lisa Benz-Azure is UTTC’s Teacher Education Department chair.

Description: SRES Family Literacy Event 2014.jpg
Berenstain Bears photo Kara Four Bear

Teacher Education Alumni Updates

Rolenthea Begay (Dine’ of Navajo) has been offered a teaching position beginning fall 2014 at the elementary school in the Chinle Unified School District, Chinle, AZ. Rolenthea graduated from the UTTC Teacher Education program with her BS degree in Elementary Education. She was a recipient of the David M. Gipp Fellowship Award and a participant in the Sweet Grass Project.

Memoree Dupris-Skinner (Cheyenne River) completed her BS degree in Elementary Education at UTTC in December 2013 and has been accepted into graduate school at the University of North Dakota. She will participate in the Resident Teacher Program in Special Education (SERTP) and complete an internship with a licensed special education teacher. Memoree was a participant in the Sweet Grass Project and a former school board member at Theodore Jamerson Elementary School on the UTTC campus.

Kara Four Bear completed her BS Degree in Elementary Education at UTTC in December of 2011. She has since been employed as a Kindergarten Teacher with Standing Rock Elementary School. In her current role, Kara and “Team Kindergarten” have worked to establish a kindergarten parent group, which earned them the 2014 Prairie Public Literacy Grant Award. Kara will be completing her K-12 Principal Field Experience this fall and will graduate with an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Montana State University-Bozeman. Kara is also starting a non-profit education organization to further benefit professionals and students in "Indian Education." She can be followed on Twitter @NDNEducation for the latest news, topics, and resources regarding education in Indian Country and beyond.

Tyson Maxon (Cheyenne River) completed his BS degree in Elementary Education at UTTC in December 2013 and is a licensed teacher in the state of North Dakota. Tyson was hired in January 2014, immediately after graduation, as a Gifted and Talented teacher at Standing Rock Elementary School, Fort Yates, ND. Tyson was a participant in UTTC’s Sweet Grass Project.


Law School Bound
Congratulations to Ronald E. Rousseau (Cheyenne River), who is headed to law school in the fall. The 2011 UTTC Criminal Justice grad finished at Haskell Indian Nation University and is moving on toward a new challenge. He has been accepted into the University of Idaho’s Native Law Program, headed by Angelic Eagle Woman (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate). Over summer he is attending U. S. Army National Guard Officer Candidate School, and will graduate July 25 from the eight week course at Mount Rushmore. He advises all who would pursue an education to be a positive role model for youth, remember our history for motivation, and honor our ancestors by taking advantage of the opportunities they afforded us.

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