Ribbon cutting ceremony is Thursday at Kwiyagat School in Towaoc – The Journal


Redsky Lang, 5, holds up her drawing she made on her first day of school at Kwiyagat Community Academy on Monday in Towaoc. (Jerry McBride / Durango Herald)

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Ute Mountain Ute Academy is the state’s first charter charter school

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday to honor the leaders, funders and various stakeholders who made the opening of Kwiyagat Community Academy a reality, according to a press release from the Keystone Policy Center.

The ceremony will feature Tina King-Washington, director of K-12 education; Goldlin Wall, Ph.D; Lyndreth Wall, Ute Mountain Tribal Council; Daniel Porter, school principal; and Millie Hamner, Keystone Policy Center.

Participants can visit the school after the ceremony, which takes place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 450 Sunset Blvd., in Towaoc, approximately 12 miles south of Cortez.

Teacher Jennifer Flaherty at Kwiyagat Community Academy is forcing students to line up to go inside after recess on Monday for the first day of school. (Jerry McBride / Durango Herald)

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Students line up for recess on August 23 for the first day of school at Kwiyagat Community Academy in Towaoc. (Jerry McBride / Durango Herald)

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The Keystone Policy Center worked with leaders of Ute Mountain Ute to help develop a comprehensive cultural approach to education on the reserve. Kwiyagat is the first school to be located on the Ute Mountain Ute reserve.

“This long-term initiative creates a comprehensive educational master plan that integrates the arts, language and culture ute at all levels of the curriculum; has a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts (indigenous) and mathematics; and will offer comprehensive services to support youth and families inside and outside the reservation, ”according to a press release from Marquez Chavez of the Keystone Policy Center.

Kwiyagat Community Academy, the new Ute Mountain Ute charter school, opened in August to 23 kindergarten and first grade students.

In January, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe received a grant from the RISE Education Fund to support the initiative. The RISE Education Fund was launched in September 2020 by the State of Colorado to support high-need school districts, charter schools and public higher education institutions to address learning challenges related to economic impacts, social and health issues of COVID-19 in a way that creates sustainable innovations that enhance student learning, close equity gaps, and improve operational efficiency.


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