An Exceptional Educational Facility

LIttle Singer Community School

Little Singer Community School in Birdspring, Arizona, located in the southwestern portion of the Navajo Nation in Northeastern Arizona. The school is approximately 6 miles south of the  Birdspring Chapter House, 20 miles north of Winslow, 15 west of Leupp  and 65 miles east of Flagstaff.  The community has a population of 300 people. The school is a Pre-K-6 grant school (tribally controlled school) has a charter school for up to 7 and 8 grade. The community consists of the chapter house, housing subdivisions and a senior citizen center, homes are scattered the valley across the valley, neighbors live about one to three  miles apart.  The Majority of our community works in Leupp, Winslow, Dilcon, and Flagstaff.  Community members employed outside the commuity have to travel more than 30 miles on a daily basis and many of travel on dirt roads,and some travel great distance for work.  Many of the community members, especially the young families, move to nearby towns or to metropolitian areas to seek better job opportunities.  Many of the parents and traditional elders have never move away, they are homemakers, they tend to their livestock, farming and maintain the traditional and cultural teachings.

Our children are from rural areas, from the commuities of Birdsprings, Tolani Lake, Leupp, Dilcon, Teesto and Winslow.  English and Navajo are the predominant languages spoken in the home.  The community population is primarily Native American (Navajo).  Most of the children at Little Singer Community School come from families with parents/guaridans working outside the community.  Little Singer Community School is a grant funded school by the Bureau of Indian Education.  It operates under the regulations set by the Office of the Indian Education Program and Arizona Department of Education. The school implements the federally mandated school requirements set forth by No Child Left Behind (NCLB),  Elementary and the  Secondary Education Action (ESEA), Program Implement an Accountability Plan (PIAP) and the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Little Singer Community School abides by all federal and state standardized testing, and special education criteria and ensures federal program requirements are meet.

Little Singer Community School was established in the late 1970s as a community school.  The school evolved through the 638 Indian Self Determination Act and serves the community approximately 100-120 students. The school provides employment for community members. The school enrollment K-8 is 100 students; 80 elementary students (K-6), 20 junior high (7-9). The student demographic consists of 99% Native American (Navajo).  The FACE program serves about 10 home-based families, 8-12 center-based families, and 12 Adult Education students.  Majority of the school’s population is Native American with a majority from the Navajo Tribe.  A majority of our students are economically disadvantaged and receive reduced and/or free meals.  The buses and transportation travel to northeast to Sandspring, east Tolani Lake, Dilcon, south to Winslow, and surrounding areas of Birdsprings.  Little Singer Community School currently employees thirty-two full time employees, one  part time position for 2012-2013 school year.  Our staff consits of our principal, paraprofessionals, business manager, facilities/maintenance, reading coaches, the  FACE parent educators, bus drivers, custodians, and security officers.  Many of the staff members commute daily from Flagstaff, Winslow, Dilcon and others live in the community.  Other personnel who offer special services on a part-time basis include: Counselors, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, School Psychologists and Mental Health Professionalsd from the Navajo Nation Family and Children Services.  Eleven Teachers have Bachelor Degrees, and four have Master Degrees.  Thirty one of the school staff are Navajo Indian, and 1 Hochunk Indian.  Little Singer Community School has one principal and  teachers that assist her in administrative duties, there is a Reading Coach to help support teachers and implement  instructional programs. The teacher to student ratio is approximately 1:20.

The Winslow Public Health Services provides medical services for our students for vision and health screening, and dental services. Little Singer Community School curriculum is based on the Arizona State Standards and the Navajo Nation Dine Education Standards.  Each teacher has a copy of the these standards and they also have copies of the Common Core Standards in the classrooms.

The school uses the following assessments and continues to use the assessments for student progress: NWEA this test measures student growth for the school.  These tests are given at the beginning, middle and end of the year to students in Kindergarten up to grade 8. The NWEA test is an ability leveled multiple choice test taken on the computer.  Students are tested in reading, language arts and math.  DIBELS is a reading fluency assessment to and administered to address in areas of phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, oral reading fluency. This is administered to different student at varying degree of progress. The school also uses classroom grade level chapter subject content/unit assessment.

Although we show gains in our reading, we still need to work on reading, language arts, math and science.  Teachers use the design to identify the areas of strengths and weakness, and use the data to drive our lessons, improve instructional practices and performance in reading, language arts and mathematics.  Some challenges for us in to improves in areas are incorporate culturally relevant materials and methods that connect the students experiences to their own lives.