Rez charter school wishlist: calculators

( – promoted by navajo)

crossposted at dkos

Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods is a public charter school in the Yurok Indian Nation within Northern California.

With Native American Indians having some of the highest dropout rates, Gevena Wiki founded Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods, or KRECR (pronounced “krek-er“) to provide a culturally relevant program for tribal high school students in 2005. Since then, KRECR students have surpassed other local schools on high school exit exam scores.

However, KRECR students currently have no scientific calculators. My husband took down a stack of regular calculators today, left over from his business, but we don’t have, and can’t afford, the scientific calculators the kids need. So he set up an Amazon.com wishlist account that will deliver scientific calculators directly to KRECR. The address for the school is included, in case you happen to have an old scientific calculator collecting dust and want it put to good use.

More about KRECR below…

You may have seen Smithsonian Magazine’s feature on Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods and Geneva Wiki, “Making the Grade,” some snippets:

The idea behind this innovative project, part of the Early College High School Initiative, largely funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is that low-income, minority and otherwise disadvantaged young people at risk of dropping out are encouraged to stay in school and get a free, non-intimidating taste of college.  

“This is the front line of our civil rights movement,” says Wiki. “Past generations struggled first over rights to fish and hunt, and then to govern ourselves. Now we need to work on reclaiming ourselves through education.”

In addition to math, science, English and social sciences, Wiki’s students study the Yurok language and such tribal skills as carving redwood canoes, catching eels and making acorn soup. Some educators-including Wiki-believe that such knowledge can make the difference in combating an American Indian dropout rate of more than four in ten nationwide. (Wiki suspects the rate among Yuroks, who have high rates of alcoholism and methamphetamine use, may be even higher.)

North Coast Journal adds to that (check out the slideshow)

Injustice. That’s what Geneva Wiki and her family have been fighting against for as long as she can remember. Wiki is the great-niece of Raymond Mattz, the Yurok man who refused to pay a fine for gill netting on the Klamath River and successfully appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, eventually winning back Yurok fishing rights in the early ’70s. Her aunt, Susan Masten, was the former president of the National Congress of American Indians.

Wiki is also the principal of Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods (KRECR), a two-year-old charter high school in Klamath partnered with College of the Redwoods that serves the North Coast’s native community. (About 20 percent of its students are non-native). KRECR is part of the Early College High School Initiative, a program enabling students to earn both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree in just four years, and it’s completely free.

“I believe that education is my generation’s fight to fight for equality,” Wiki said in her office last Thursday. “Our native young people are underrepresented in educational achievement stats and … we won’t be able to break out of poverty unless we’re able to reclaim education.” Wiki, small and sprightly, wears her heart on her sleeve.

“Our culture is a quiet culture,” Marvin Mattz told me in a whisper earlier that morning. And so, tucked away in a building across the street from the Yurok tribal office, the teachers and students at Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods are changing the face of native education — quietly, perhaps, but profoundly.

The program at KRECR is amazing and the changes for students, their families, and the community, both now and the potential for the future, are huge.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed getting to know about KRECR a bit more and if you’ve got a scientific calculator collecting dust, or some money for a good cause burning a hole in your pocket, I know just the place!

KRECR’s Amazon.com wishlist

Official KRECR website

Disclosure: I’m a former employee of KRECR; my husband tutors at KRECR; and our boys will attend KRECR in a few more years.

Thanks for reading!