MOHAVE VALLEY — The Anya Itpak (Sunrise) Elementary School, operated by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, is on course to open in August in time for the 2019-20 school year.
Construction of the 28,000-square-foot elementary school facility has progressed steadily since its November groundbreaking, said Gentry Medrano, Fort Mohave Indian Tribe public relations director.
“One of our goals with the Fort Mojave Culture Center and Elementary School is for our future Tribal Council to be able to conduct a meeting in our own language,” said Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams at the November groundbreaking. “This project has no state or federal funding which allows us to control our own destiny and be truly self-sufficient with our education. What we plan on doing is not only meeting the state standards but exceeding them with the elementary school. In addition, we are planning to have a nutrition plan that revolves around fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Overall this is going to be key to ensure that we know our language, customs, traditions and values. It will also ensure that we will continue to protect our land and water.”
According to the FMIT, the elementary school will be tribally operated and will have students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade. Eligible students include tribally enrolled children or first descendants, ages 3-12.
Anya Itpak Elementary School will undertake a comprehensive effort to preserve and restore the Mojave language, which came close to extinction in the Southwest, by providing an immersion-like instructional program among all students.
For the pre-K and kindergarten students, the school will implement a Montessori-based program.
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms, children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate actives to guide the process.
The school curriculum will follow the Galileo Digital Curriculum Platform, according to the FMIT, with a student assessment diagnostic system using Arizona state standards (reading, language arts and math). Individual diagnostic assessments will guide teacher instruction and be shared with parents. The school will be accredited through AdvanED, to ensure that it will conduct exceptional instruction
According to school officials, the elementary school will feature highly qualified state-certified teachers, regular physical education classes at the Wellness Center, bus services provided to all students, each student using their own Chromebook or iPad tablet, nutritious breakfast and lunch provided to all students at no cost, all students (third through sixth grade) encouraged to participate in organized league sports like volleyball, basketball softball, baseball and soccer, special education services that address the individual differences and needs of the students and more.
The school is at 1665 Roosevelt Drive in Mohave Valley. Earlier this year, the tribe opened a wellness center nearby on Dunes Road in Mohave Valley.