During the 2014-15 school year Redwood Area School District students in the sixth and 10th grade, are going to be part of a pilot project that provides a culturally based curriculum as it relates to the Dakota experience.
During the 2014-15 school year Redwood Area School District students in the sixth and 10th grade, are going to be part of a pilot project that provides a culturally based curriculum as it relates to the Dakota experience. The project, which is called “Mni Sota Makoce: The Dakota Homeland Curriculum Project,” is going to incorporate 10 lessons in social studies programs at both grade levels in an effort to better help students of all ethnicities find a greater sense of belonging. That, it is hoped, can help address another issue – suicide.
While the course is about presenting the history of the area from all points of view, the hope is that each student who is enrolled sees where they belong as part of their culture and heritage. The project is a joint effort between the Redwood Area School District and Dakota Wicohan, which developed the curriculum. “The curriculum meets Minne-sota standards,” said Teresa Peter-son of Dakota Wicohan, adding work was done in conjunction with the Minnesota department of Education to ensure it met what was required by law. To better understand how that sense of belonging is felt, students in the class are going to be encouraged to take part in a survey that is going to ask questions related to suicide ideation. The survey is optional, and parents are going to be informed about it and are going to have the final decision about whether or not their child takes the survey. The plan is to administer the survey at the beginning of the program and then again at the end to see if it makes any difference. Along the way if any child begins to show any sign of suicidal tendencies those children are going to be referred to someone else to get them the help they need. The project is a one-year pilot, with students in Shakopee and Edina also involved. While the questions on the suicide survey are specific and ask very straightforward questions, those involved are confident making this kind of survey available is going to help. A grant is going to be used as an incentive for students to take the survey, with each being paid $10 for taking it. With suicide issues being a concern in the area, the hope is that this project brings things out in the open and helps to provide a way to prevent it in the future.