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Posted June 25, 2018

APS Cultural Enrichment Program offers tradition, STEM to Native American students

June 2018, Summer school enrichment program. Robotics.

Native American Summer Program

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - This month, Native American students are taking part in a hands-on summer learning program, aimed at getting kids interested in their culture.

Organizers say the classes are connecting these kids to their roots and traditions.

"A lot of them live in Albuquerque, so they don't go back home so to speak. Their parents live here and work here. This is a way for us to teach them their language, traditions, culture, and connect them," said Jay Leonard, the instructional manager with APS Indian Education.

Students will learn about everything from pottery to storytelling, and for the first time, robotics.
  
"The web is what catches the bad dreams and the beads and shells confuse it. While the good dreams go through the hoop and down the feathers to the person who is sleeping," said Ariana Zayas, a 5th grader.

Learning how to make dream catchers is just one of the topics students will learn about during the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program.
  
Pottery, storytelling, music and song are just a few of the other topics.

Organizers say out of the more than 5000 Native American students within APS, about 3000 are from the Navajo Tribe and 300 from the Zuni Tribe.
   
That's why students are learning about those languages as well.

APS Indian Education has been holding the Summer Cultural Enrichment Program for eight years. But for the first time, they're offering robotics.
 
Officials say not every school in the district has robotics or STEM classes, so for some of these kids, this could be their first or only chance to learn about it.
 
"In APS, one of the skills that our children need is math and science so it's kind of a focus area for our children," said Leonard.
 
APS Indian Education is also helping about 70 high school students make up credits in English, math, science and social studies so they can graduate this summer.
    
Organizers say all of this is free for students thanks to federal funding.

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