Indian Education for All Best Practices Conference Held in Missoula

Monday, February 24, 2014
By Allyson Hagen

Eighth Annual Indian Education for All Best Practices Conference Held in Missoula
Focus on Integrating IEFA into the Montana Common Core Standards in English and Math

Missoula, MT - Montana’s Office of Public Instruction is holding the eighth Annual Indian Education for All Best Practices Conference on February 24 and 25 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula.  More than 260 educators are gathering to share knowledge, skills and classroom materials to implement Indian Education for All and meet our new, higher English and math standards.

“Montana’s new English and math standards ask students to think critically, read more non-fiction materials, review original historical documents, back up their opinions with evidence, and work on their literacy skills in all subject areas,” said Superintendent Denise Juneau. “This type of learning fits perfectly with the goals of Indian Education for All.”

Montana is the only state in the country that integrated Indian Education for All content into the Common Core State Standards, ensuring that our state will continue to deliver on the constitutional promise of providing culturally responsive instruction about the unique cultural heritage of American Indians.

Keynote Speakers
On Tuesday, February 25, Montana’s 2014 Teacher of the Year, Dr. Anna Baldwin, will deliver a luncheon keynote address supporting the theme of the conference entitled, “Rainmaker: The Confluence of IEFA and the Common Core”. She is a high school English teacher and literacy coach at Arlee High School and has been teaching on the Flathead Indian Reservation for the past fifteen years. She designed and teaches Native American Studies for the Montana Digital Academy and teaches English methods courses at the University of Montana as an adjunct instructor. Dr. Baldwin is the recipient of several awards, including the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Arlee Educator Award, Montana Association of Teachers of English Language Arts Distinguished Educator Award, and the Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching from Teaching Tolerance.

On Monday, February 24, Dr. Vernon Finley from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will help launch the conference at 9:30 am with an opening keynote address, “Indian Education for All – It is All Related”. Dr. Finley was born and raised the Flathead Indian Reservation. His early years consisted of spending much of his time with his grandparents who had a very significant impact on his life. They were fluent speakers of the native languages and practitioners of traditional culture. Much of his worldview and perspective comes from being brought up in their home. His western education consists of graduating from Polson High School, the University of Montana, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Georgia with a high school diploma, Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Master of Education, and Doctor of Education degrees, respectively.

Short Film Screening and Discussion
Teachers attending the conference will also enjoy a double short film matinee on Monday, February 24, from 4:00 pm – 6:15 pm at the Hilton Garden Inn, Grand Creek Ballroom Parlor D.

A recent release from Montana PBS, Indian Relay, co-written by OPI Indian Education Division Director, Mandy Smoker-Broaddus will be shown. This exciting independent film will be followed by a question and answer session with Montana PBS’s Director of Education, Chris Seifert. The second film to be shown is Redefined: Art and Identity, and Executive Producer Julie Cajune will be available for questions immediately following.

To download a complete program of the IEFA Best Practices conference, go to:


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