From the Eagle’s Nest: Good start to a new school year 

Harley Garcia (left), in Pawaa One, is working on her numbers; she is the daughter of Windy Rock. A young student, who is in Pawaa One, is working hard at window washing.

After 1 year, 5 months, and 12 days (530 days) the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy has students sitting in the classrooms! Meals are being served, schedules are being refined, the Flag Song is being played and laughter is heard all over our campus. It has been a good start to this new school year. With our mission of providing a strong educational foundation and preserving the Southern Ute Language in a Montessori environment, the teachers are getting refresher courses in the Montessori method by our Curriculum Coordinator, Carolyn Striker, and being supported in their language growth by the Ute Language Specialist, Daisy Bluestar.  All staff have challenged themselves to learn more about our Montessori material and to greet everyone using the Ute language.  

We now have a new School Board – one separate from Tribal Council. On August 24, 2021, Tribal Council selected the first members of the Board. Out of the many letters of intent that came in, there was much conversation around who could bring their gifts and talents to the school. The board members who were chosen are Southern Ute tribal members: Rhiannon Velasquez, Daphnee Washington, Dominika Joy, and Nathan Strong Elk. Community member Joe Poynter was also selected.  

With SUIMA being part of a STEM program, staff member Ceriss Blackwood was selected to get a grant with Running Strong. This grant helps strengthen Native American communities across the nation, with a focus on serving the youth as they tackle complex challenges that come from issues within their community. Ceriss’s vision is to bring more STEM projects to the school. Congratulations Cerris.  

Our COVID-19 protocol of parents bringing students to the classrooms for temperature checks has been followed quite well – toghoyaqh pa’amanuni (thank you everyone). We have masks available at the gates and in the office for everyone’s convenience; they must be worn while on our campus. In the mornings, even though we have been having the gates unlocked from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., that will change on Monday, Sept. 13. They will be locking at 8:10 a.m., which is when the Flag Song is played and the beginning of our academic day.   

Toghoyaqh to all of the parents who have chosen to keep their son or daughter home at any sign of illness. During this time, your support and diligence in helping us remain open is so very much appreciated.  






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