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SSD CULTURAL DEPARTMENT

Arts, Culture, & Technology

Stop motion videos, SNEP Summer Camp, 2022.

lingit course 2024.png

Professional Development

Spotlight on

  • What is the SSD Cultural Department?
    The Sitka School District values high quality culturally responsive teaching practices, and the Title VI Indian Education Grant and the STEPS grant allow our district to have a robust Cultural Department. That includes the Cultural Director, Cultural Paras, Culture Bearers and Specialists, Lingít language teacher, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Staff, the Arts, Culture, and Technology (ACT) Specialists, emails to/from the cultural department, communication to/from the Family Engagement Coordinator, the sitkaschoolsact.org website, grade level projects, residencies/visiting artists, art kits, workshops, Cultural Department books, seasonal curriculum support, Lingít language resources, and CRE support.
  • What is the Arts, Culture, and Technology website?
    The Cultural Department works in tandem with the Sitka Native Education Program. These two departments support the ACT work that has been happening in the Sitka School District for over 10 years. With so many wonderful resources created in partnership between the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Sitka Native Education Program, and the Sitka School District, it was time that everything was hosted in one place. The ACT website was created to support teachers and other education initiatives in our community. Our hope is that this digital library makes it easier to weave culture into education programs.
  • What types of support do teachers receive?
    While our mission is to support all educators in accessing cultural resources and specialists, we do aim to create systems that continue within the hands of educators. Cultural integration should be happening through teacher initiative and not necessarily only within the cultural department.​ Areas educators can receive support: Language integration Art History/storytelling Seasonal topics/themes Culturally responsive teaching practices
  • What does cultural integration look like?
    Let's say you have a lesson on salmon and would like to have a cultural story and art lesson integrated within. A cultural specialist could support the teacher by doing it the first year, with the goal that the following year the teacher would be able to tell the story or do the art lesson by themselves. This creates sustainable systems that allows culture integration to happen year after year.
  • I’m not Native, what if I’m uncomfortable incorporating local culture on my own?
    That's completely understandable! Revitalizing the culture is in the hands of every educator in Sitka! Give yourself permission to learn, make mistakes, and learn more. Whether you are native or not, we are all learning together on how to bring in more opportunities for our youth. Our best advice is to ask a lot of questions, and remember that there are no wrong questions. Our hope is to provide resources and personnel who can support your own journey in learning more about the culture.
  • I don't know the Lingít language, where do I start?
    Did you know there are only about 40 fluent LingÍt language speakers left? This means that revitalizing the language is more crucial than ever before. Our goal isn't that the language is spoken perfectly, but that it is just spoken. Give it a try! Make Mistakes! Showing students that we are trying to incorporate the language sends a strong message regardless of your language ability.
  • How can we increase accessibility to Cultural Specialists when needed?
    Our staff who are hired to support education have many duties during the day/week. All of our staff work within the district or the Sitka Native Education Program. Between teaching and planning, this leaves very little time to be in the schools on short notice. We are open to creating videos or resources in advance if we have enough notice. Use the cultural specialist request form for any future requests. We are even happy to sit down with you and/or a team and plan out the next year to ensure you have the support you would like. Feel free to continue reaching out via phone calls or face-to-face to connect with cultural bearers if that feels more comfortable than completing the form provided. We highly encourage all staff to establish personal relationships with our cultural bearers independently, while also acknowledging that the cultural department is available to offer assistance whenever necessary!
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