Three graduates of the American Indian Urban Teacher Program (AIUTP) were honored at a ceremony on June 13, following the GSE Academic Hooding event. Graduates Ashley Friedman, Cara Colclasure, and Gina Rentz were joined by faculty, family, and friends for the evening’s celebration, which featured a traditional Native American meal.
Associate Dean Micki Caskey, who is one of the founders of the AIUTP program, was honored at the event for her ongoing support. Cornel Pewewardy, AIUTP co-founder and director of the Indigenous Nations Studies department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences sang an honor song as Dr. Caskey was presented with a Pendleton blanket in the traditional tribal way.
The AIUTP was launched at PSU in 2011 to recruit and train native people for the teaching profession. Portland has the largest American Indian population in Oregon with more than 2.1% of K-12 students, but less than .6 percent of teachers are Native American. The AIUTP is one of only eight universities awarded funding by the Office of Indian Education, U.S. Department of Education and provided a stipend for living expenses and full tuition to Native American teacher education students who qualify.
In June, 2012, the American Indian Urban Teacher Program (AIUTP) was awarded $50,000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund a new project, the NW Tribal Teachers Pathway Project. The new project will create a teacher career pathway for four American Indian college graduates by providing tuition and living expenses as they enroll in Graduate School of Education (GSE) prerequisite courses. Additionally, the Gates funding will enable AIUTP to increase its half-time office support staff to a full-time position as student support specialist.
This year’s graduates (left to right), Jonathan Belgarde (Chippewa), Carrie Green (Klamath Tribes), and Erica Spainhower (Cherokee Nation) joined alumnae Terri Reed (Chickasaw Nation) at the first AIUTP Honoring Ceremony.
An Honoring Ceremony was held Friday evening at the Native American Student and Community Center to recognize three graduates of the American Indian Urban Teacher Program (AIUTP).
The AIUTP is a new GSE program designed to increase the numbers of indigenous licensed teachers in Oregon’s schools. Currently the state has a very low percentage of Native American teachers, making them among the lowest represented racial groups in Oregon’s teacher population. Continue reading