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Shi Awarded $4.5 Million in Grants For Educational Programs, Walter Soboleff Center

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has received three federal grants for educational programs and to help fund construction of the Walter Soboleff Center in Juneau.

The first grant awards approximately $2 million over two years to help build the center, which will be an educational facility for the sharing and study of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures. The center will include classroom and event spaces—which will be available for public use— artist demonstrations, and a state-of-the-art research facility for the preservation and study of archival and ethnographic collections. SHI plans to offer educational programs at the center for students through a memorandum of agreement signed by SHI, the Juneau School District and the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). The center will be operated by SHI, a nonprofit.

The second grant awards $1.2 million over three years to fund cultural orientation programs for teachers in the Juneau School District and UAS. The award will allow SHI to offer 50 hours of cultural orientation to almost 70 teachers and to develop culturally-relevant classroom resources for teachers.

The third grant awards $1.37 million over three years to hold culture-based math summer camps for middle school students in Southeast Alaska and develop resources to increase interest and academic achievement in math. Through the program, SHI will use traditional practices, such as basketry, weaving and canoe making, to teach math concepts and the institute will offer professional development for middle school teachers.

All of the grants were awarded by the Alaska Native Education Program.

Sealaska Heritage Institute was founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

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