Ayaprun Elitnaurvik

MISSION

  • Ayaprun Elitnaurvigmi elluarrluta Yugtun qaneryaram tunginun elitnauriciqukut: ellaturivkarluki, taikanivkarluki Yugtun piciryaraput, qaneryaraput, yuuyarput-llu.
  • ™We, the community of Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, will strive to provide a high quality Yugtun immersion education: empowering our diverse students by strengthening their knowledge, use, and understanding of Yup’ik core values, language, and culture.

WE BELIEVE

  • It is advantageous to be able to communicate in more than one language.
  • Knowing a second language promotes cognitive development and academic achievement in all subjects.
  • Learning a new language produces insight into that language’s worldview.
  • Second language learning improves a child’s understanding and appreciation of his/her first language.
  • Preparation for college and many careers is enhanced through second language acquisition.
  • Knowledge of a second language promotes cross-cultural understanding, mutual respect and world peace.

OUR GOALS:

  • To provide the benefits of proficiency in Yup’ik language and understanding of Yup’ik culture.
  • To achieve academic growth and mastery of the regular subject area curricula.
  • To provide students with communicative competence in speaking, reading and writing appropriate to their level of language development.
  • To enable students to have expanded educational and career opportunities.
  • To foster in students high levels of motivation, achievement, self-confidence and mutual respect.

HISTORY

In the early 1970’s Kilbuck Elementary in Bethel had a half-day “bilingual kindergarten” for interested parents who wanted their children taught all in Yup’ik. This continued for three years, but did not survive the changes in the school system.

In the mid-1980s concern among Bethel parents led to the establishment of a community committee appointed by the Bethel Advisory School Board. This committee formally requested that:

* Bethel schools improve their Yup’ik language programs

* Increase the number of hours per week for instruction

* Yup’ik instruction be made a required subject for K-6

1990 – A Bilingual Education Task Force was created to assess how Yup’ik was being taught and made recommendations to strengthen the program. The Task Force presented the ASB with a formal request that a total immersion Yup’ik language program be started in Bethel based on their year long study. The report was accepted by the ASB but no action was taken.

1992 – A group of KUC instructors, parents, and elders again approached the ASB and formally requested that an immersion education program be started. This group met over the year to discuss pros and cons gathered from Eskimo language programs of Russia, Canada, and Greenland. Again, the board chose to take no action. 40% of M.E. School parents asked for a total immersion Yup’ik program.

1994 – Members of the Bethel ASB introduced a formal resolution to establish a Yup’ik immersion program in Bethel in 1995. After much debate and parental requests, the resolution was passed!

1994-95 – Parents and LKSD Bilingual Department worked at getting ready for the very first Yup’ik language immersion program ever. The parents’ Yup’ik Immersion Steering Committee met monthly and then weekly with the LKSD Curriculum Bilingual Department to plan overall features of the new immersion program. In the spring two Yup’ik Immersion Kindergarten teachers were hired for the following school year and over the summer they joined with the M.E. site administrator in preparing for the opening of school.

1995-2000 – The Yup’ik Immersion program expanded one grade level at a time. The school has been noticed by other school districts statewide, and educators from other districts visited Bethel in order to observe and make plans for their own indigenous language immersion programs.

1999 – The Yup’ik Immersion Steering Committee successfully applied for Charter School Status from the Alaska Board of Education. The focus of the application was to provide for comprehensive Yup’ik program autonomy, consolidate under one administration and secure associated charter grants to fund Yup’ik language material development. Parents, teachers, and administration work collaboratively on the planning and implementation of our program.

2002 – The school saw it’s first sixth grade graduation. These kids were the first full time enrollees in the then pilot immersion program. There are 197 students enrolled. K-1 is located in their own building by M.E. Elementary while 2-6 is housed in the south wing of Kilbuck Elementary. The program is still growing, continuously changing to meet the needs of the students and community.

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