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Message from the Director
I am pleased to announce that BIE has begun its second year partnership with the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards to provide free professional development, support, and mentoring for teachers and counselors who want to pursue National Board Certification (NBC). NBC is known as the Gold Standard in teaching, similar to the level of certification that medical professionals receive when they become Board Certified physicians. BIE is providing funding support for educators interested in pursuing National Board Certification as well as financial incentives for those that complete the certification.

For our American Indian students, research shows that NBC educators have a greater impact on student learning and achievement than non-certified teachers, with their students outperforming their peers in other classrooms. For our teachers, NBC affords educators the opportunity to reflect on best practices, hone their skills, and find immediate application of what they have learned. For our schools, NBC educators typically form strong professional communities in their schools, transforming the culture to a collaborative, student-focused learning environment.

This professional development opportunity is not only an investment in our teachers, but in our students' futures. This is why I encourage our educators to consider pursuing National Board Certification. For those of you who are already board certified or in the process of obtaining board certification, I invite you to encourage your peers to consider this opportunity.  Please visit the BIE NBC Webpage for more information on the program, eligibility, incentives, and registration. The deadline to register for the National Board Certification process has been extended to Monday, February 29, 2016.  Thank you for all you do for our students and their families. 

Dr. Charles "Monty" Roessel 
BIE Advisory Board for Exceptional Children Seeking Nominations
BIE is seeking nominations of individuals to serve on the Advisory Board for Exceptional Children (Advisory Board). The Advisory Board was established under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 to advise the Secretary of the Interior, through the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, on the needs of children with disabilities in BIE funded schools . Nominations must be submitted by Monday, March 7, 2016.    
BIE will also hold its next Advisory Board for Exceptional Children Meeting on March 17-18, 2016 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (Mountain Time) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The purpose of the meeting is to meet the mandates of IDEA for Indian children with disabilities. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Manuel Lujan, Jr. Indian Affairs Building, 1011 Indian School Road NW. Albuquerque, NM 87104. 

Additional information on submitting nominations for the Advisory Board and upcoming meeting can be found in the Federal Register. For more information, please contact  Sue Bement, Designated Federal Officer (DFO), Bureau of Indian Education, Division of Performance and Accountability at or  505-563-5274.  
Secretary Jewell Highlights Budget Gains to Finish Previously Identified BIE School Construction Projects 
$45 million in construction funding as part of recently passed omnibus spending bill will finish projects on the 2004 BIE school construction  list; opens door for new set

RED VALLEY, Ariz. - On the heels of President Obama's State of the Union address where he committed to focusing on challenges and opportunities that will impact America for generations to come - including in Indian Country - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced $45 million to build the last previously identified Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) school construction projects. The schools slated to receive funding are the final two of 14  identified in 2004 by the Bush Administration as requiring the greatest need for replacement construction but never received Congressional funding.

"While this funding is long overdue, it meets critical educational needs to build safe learning environments for Native children, fulfills a broken promise to tribal communities, and clears the way for our new 2016 replacement school construction priority list," Secretary Jewell said. "The funding demonstrates the Obama Administration's commitment to Native youth success, opportunity and a brighter future. This budget proposal received bipartisan support in the House and Senate, and I thank Members of Congress who supported this request and shepherded it through the legislative process."

Additional information about this construction funding can be found in the full press release

Former KinLani Bordertown Dormitory Resident Introduces First Lady Michelle Obama at White House Ceremony Honoring School Counselors
Wyatt Whitegoat, a member of the Navajo Nation and former resident at BIE's KinLani Bordertown Dormitory, provided the opening remarks for First Lady Michelle Obama and his former Flagstaff High School counselor, Katherine Pastor, who was honored at a White House Ceremony as the 2016 School Counselor of the Year on January 28, 2016. Whitegoat, now an outstanding student studying Kinesiology and Psychology at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa shared how her support inspired him to achieve his dreams and goals.

The School Counselor of the Year program selects a winner and finalists each year based on several criteria: creative school counseling innovations, effective school counseling programs, leadership skills and contributions to student enhancement. It is in its ninth year and is the launch event for National School Counseling Week. The video of the 2016 School Counselor of the Year Ceremony with Whitegoat's opening remarks can be viewed below. 

Sherman Indian High School Students Present Native Earthquake Drill Posters at National Congress of American Indians Annual Convention
L-R Kyra Whitman_ Helen Corral-Bonner_ back_ Zoe Rain Carlyle_ Anthony New Holy_ Veronica Sam_ Orrah David_ Milo Booth_ National FEMA Tribal Affairs Advisor and Heather Duschell_ FEMA Liaison Region IX.
During the National Congress of American Indians Annual Convention and Marketplace conference in San Diego, California, Science Teacher, Ms. Helen Corral-Bonner and five visionary students from Sherman Indian High School, a BIE off-reservation boarding school in Riverside, California, presented their Native Earthquake Drill posters at the Emergency Management, Youth Preparedness in Indian Country Session.

The students developed the innovative Native Earthquake Drill posters as an earthquake safety map of the State of California. They translated the phrase "Drop! Cover! Hold On!" into various Native languages represented at Sherman Indian High School. Congratulations to these students on the success of their project and for highlighting their culture and language while promoting preparedness in Indian Country!

Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Climate Change Photo Contest 
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has announced their 2016 Tribal Climate Change Photo Contest for American Indian and Alaska Native students grades K-12. The purpose of this photo contest is to help students understand climate change and allow them to showcase their artistic skills while expressing what is valued in their culture and community. 

The photo contest asks you to take a picture of things you (or your tribe or village) value and add a short caption describing how a changing climate might affect what's in the photograph. 

Photos will be judged on the composition, subject, content and the caption that describes the climate change adaptation activity or climate impact. Winning photos with their captions will be hung in the hallways of the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. A matching framed copy will be sent to the school with a letter announcing the winners

Photos can be submitted by email to The deadline for spring semester submission is Saturday, April 30, 2016
BIE School Citizen Science STEM Pilot Initiatives Featured in
Hands on the Land Video
Watch how BIE schools are taking the classroom outdoors to national parks and putting citizen science in action! BIE's 21st Century Community Learning Center program began a Citizen Science STEM pilot initiative with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Park Service (NPS). As part of this program, BIE schools are working with NPS Rangers and Hands on the Land, a national network of classrooms and resources that connects students to public lands and provides hands-on STEM learning opportunities to students. Participating BIE schools; American Horse, Cherokee Central, Chi chil'tah Jones Ranch, Keam's Canyon, Porcupine, Quileute, Shoshone-Bannock, and Tohono O'odham High; are featured in this video that highlights each schools success.
Salt River Pima Elementary School Teachers Share Their Stories on Becoming Board Certified 
Thank you Karen Wiebel and Suzanne Decker for sharing your stories with so many BIE teachers and counselors throughout Indian Country. BIE is  interested in hearing from more educators in BIE-funded and tribally controlled schools who are National Board Certified or are in the process of pursuing National Board Certification. If you would like to share why you chose to pursue certification and how it has transformed your teaching practice, please contact Kim Vigue at or (202) 208-3156. 
Bureau of Indian Education
1849 C Street NW
Washington D.C., 20240
(202) 208-6123

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