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Distance Education Agreement Signed
UTTC to serve school district on Navajo Nation
By Leah Woodke, UTTC Educational Outreach Director
5 December 2007

      United Tribes Technical College welcomes a new group of online students with the start of the Spring Semester 2008. UTTC has signed an agreement for distance education services with the Pinon Unified School District (PUSD) located in northeastern Arizona on the Navajo Nation.

      The agreement represents the culmination of weeks of discussion and planning and establishes a strong partnership that will allow Navajo students to pursue teaching degrees online from UTTC without leaving their home community.

Partners in education
PARTNERS IN EDUCATION: United Tribes visits the Pinon Unified School District in Arizona, from left, Leah Hamann, UTTC teacher education advisor; Nathan Stratton, UTTC financial aid director; and Kelly Bradfield and Claudell Tacheene, both from the Pinon Unified School District 21st Century Program. UTN photo Leah Hamann.

      Pinon, AZ is a tribal community located in the heart of the Navajo Nation about 260 miles from Albuquerque, NM. The PUSD serves approximately 1,500 children from kindergarten through grade 12. Because of its rural location, the district faces an educational challenge that is universal throughout Indian Country that of attracting and retaining qualified teachers.

      In her search for solutions, Kelly Bradfield, PUSD 21st Century Program Coordinator, contacted United Tribes with the idea of "growing their own" teachers by offering tribal members an opportunity to earn a teaching degree online.

      UTTC was able to respond because of its accredited degree programs in Elementary Education that are available online.

      Pinon students and personnel enjoy high speed Internet access and connectivity on the school campus. The 21st Century Program and other programs at PUSD provide after school and community activities at the school.

      To complete their online coursework, distance learning participants will have access to the school's computer labs, which will be open weekday evenings and on Saturdays. PUSD will also provide mentors.

      The district is also encouraging community members, who are not employed by the district, to enroll in UTTC's online education degree programs. Although the district will not cover the associated costs for tuition, fees and books, they are offering the computer lab and mentor services as a means of community outreach and service.

      As a beginning step in the partnership, a delegation from Untied Tribes visited Pinon, AZ in mid November: Nathan Stratton, Financial Aid Director; Leah Hamann, Teacher Education Advisor; and Dr. Leah Woodke, Educational Outreach Director.

      PUSD provided a warm welcome and lodging. The UTTC team met with prospective students one-on-one. As, the Educational Outreach Director, I helped participants understand the attributes of successful online learners and helped participants make informed decisions about enrolling in an online degree program.

      Nathan Stratton coordinated the admissions process with each participant and helped them complete the Financial Aid process.

      Leah Hamann advised and facilitated the pre-registration process with each student. She also provided a thorough orientation about the look of online courses and how to access them, how to engage in the class discussions, and what is expected from each student as an online learner.

      By the time we left Pinon, 15 students had pre-registered for online courses at UTTC. We are so excited about having them join the UTTC family.

      All of the students from Pinon are pursuing an Elementary Education AAS degree online and they are also interested in earning a BS in Elementary Education. We are committed to facilitating access to that degree program for them.

      For more information about United Tribes online and distance education programs please contact us:

 

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