The Diné Institute for Navajo Nation Educators (DINÉ)
What is the Diné Institute for Navajo Nation Educators (DINÉ)?
The Diné Institute for Navajo Nation Educators (DINÉ) is a partnership between Northern Arizona University and Navajo schools aimed at strengthening teaching in K-12 schools serving Diné and other Indigenous students. The DINÉ began with 9 teachers in 2018, and we have had approximately 85 teachers complete the program since then.
Teachers who are DINÉ Fellows participate in an 8-month Fellowship that will increase their:
- Content knowledge
- Curriculum-development skills
- Capacity to deliver culturally responsive lessons
- Leadership ability
- Writing capacity
Teachers participate in a seminar group that is led by University faculty who are content experts. Teachers learn the seminar material through reading, discussion, and independent research. Each teacher writes a unique curriculum unit for use in their classroom. Curriculum units are then published online so other educators can access, adapt, and use them in their own classrooms.
The DINÉ’s three guiding principles: Accordion Closed
1. Diné and other Indigenous youth, teachers, elders, and communities are rich sources and sites of knowledge.
2. Culturally responsive schooling is a best practice, and the DINÉ integrates Navajo traditional knowledge throughout all aspects of our teaching, learning, and leading.
3. Initiatives that strengthen teaching through culturally responsive professional development will in turn improve the educational attainment of Diné and other Indigenous youth, which is a necessary component for tribal nation (re)building goals of sovereign Native Nations in the U.S.
The DINÉ’s three broad goals: Accordion Closed
1. Establish sustainable partnerships between Navajo schools and NAU that empower teacher growth and foster mutually beneficial cultural and content knowledge between the partners.
2. Build capacity for culturally responsive, academically rigorous curriculum development and delivery among all teachers in Navajo schools.
3. Enhance and promote teacher leadership and student achievement within Navajo schools.
Benefits of program participation Accordion Closed
- Increased knowledge of best practices in culturally responsive curriculum development
- Completion of a published, self-authored curriculum unit for use in your classroom
- Access to colleague’s self-authored curriculum units for use in your classroom
- Networking and learning from other educators in Native-serving schools
- A stipend provided upon program completion
- Graduate course credit available, for a fee
How can I participate in the DINÉ? Accordion Closed
Participants in the DINÉ are motivated, intellectually curious teachers who want to improve their content knowledge and have high expectations for their students. If you meet these criteria, you may apply.
- A full-time, fully certified K-12 teacher in a grant, BIE, or public school on or bordering the Navajo Nation
- Intend to remain in the same school district or school next school year.
- Completed at least one full year of teaching.
- Committed to attending 3 Saturdays & a 10-day summer residency in 2024
- Seeking a challenge, but supportive opportunity to learn more about a content area, and write a curriculum unit to use in your classroom
- Wanting to embed Diné culture and/or language within your curriculum
- Principal support to participate in the fellowship.
Fellows must also commit to remaining in the classroom in their current district or school on the Native Nation for at least three years. Due to the workload, first-year teachers are not typically a good fit for the DINÉ.
Expectations of accepted applicants
- Attend meetings, including the final Showcase and Open House in December 2024 (Date TBD) in Flagstaff (Please see DINÉ schedule 2023 to ensure your availability for these meetings)
- Submit all writing assignments on time, including the final complete curriculum unit that meets program specifications
- Maintain regular communication via email and/or phone with the program staff
- Every teacher will write a culturally responsive curriculum unit as part of the program
- Learn with colleagues and an NAU professor about the theme
- Improve content knowledge in the relevant area
- Grow capacity to engage students using the principles of cultural responsiveness
Applications for 2024 will be opening soon! If you are considering applying to an INE professional development program in 2024, please submit your information through this survey and we will contact you when applications open.
The application is completed via google forms, which requires you to complete and submit the entire application at one time. Please be sure you allow sufficient time to do this; we recommend approximately one hour. You will need to confirm that your principal supports your application, so you should talk about this with her/him before you apply. The application includes three longer questions, and we recommend you draft your answers to these three questions in Microsoft Word (or a similar word processing program) ahead of time and then copy and paste them into the application when you are ready to complete the full application. Each answer should be between 300-500 words. These three longer questions are:
1. Part of the mission is to reach teachers who are leaders in their school districts. How do you demonstrate leadership in your role as a teacher?
2. State your first-choice seminar from the list above (see options here). Explain why you are interested in this seminar topic, and describe a specific way you could integrate this seminar topic into your teaching. Click on this Google Link to hear what the seminar leaders have to say about their sessions.
3. State your second-choice seminar from the list above (see options here). Explain why you are interested in this seminar topic, and describe a specific way you could integrate this seminar topic into your teaching. If you do not have a second-choice, please just write that and move on to the next question. Click on this Google Link to hear what the seminar leaders have to say about their sessions.