Principal Leadership - January 2015 - (Page 59)

breaking ranks in practice A Community That Learns Together, Grows Together Anpao Duta Flying Earth A t the Native American Community Academy (NACA) in Albuquerque, NM, our mission statement is as follows: To engage students, educators, families, and community in creating a school that will prepare our students to grow from adolescence to adulthood and begin strengthening communities by developing strong leaders who are academically prepared, secure in their identity, and healthy. As I walk through the halls, I can't help but make mental notes of how our school embodies its mission in ordinary student interactions. I see a group of students who are waiting for a friend to finish his assignment so that he doesn't get left behind. I see another student directing hallway traffic so that younger students can get through. I make my way to the second floor atrium and see a group of students looking through books and asking each other which book they would like to read. I share these moments to emphasize that everything we do as a school is encompassed by a sense of community. We support one another through an educational program rooted in holistic wellness, culture, and language. Academic preparation is based on an effort to support the growth and vitality of the next generation of leaders in our communities. In a world where wellness is addressed nominally in education, NACA views the well‑being of students through the lens of holistic wellness. That is, NACA nourishes the intellectual, physical, social, and emotional aspects of student wellness. In particular, NACA's wellness philosophy holds that intellectual wellness is one of several factors contributing to a student's success-or lack thereof. At the root of wellness lies each student's conception of their identity and how it plays into the relevance of each concept or lesson they are taught. In every course and experience at NACA, students are encouraged to delve deeply into who they are and what motivates them. NACA's wellness philosophy is rooted in indigenous philosophies and epistemologies where children are cared for, treated respectfully and compassionately, and held accountable to community values. They are the next generation of leaders. The challenge is to transfer this time‑honored philosophy and knowledge to today's youth in a way that resonates with their identities while at the same time providing them with examples and strategies for direct application. Physical Wellness At the middle level, students take personal wellness, a class which serves as a combination of health and physical education with a focus on identity and culture. Students learn about topics such as nutrition, exercise, body image, peer pressure, and alcohol and drug prevention. They also gain knowledge about the health disparities that have plagued Native American communities. As part of this learning, all NACA staff, faculty, and students must maintain a standard of nutrition while at school. For example, fast food, energy drinks, and coffee are not allowed on campus. Yes, I said coffee-and this rule is applicable to teachers, as well. As influencers January 2015 | Principal Leadership 59

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal Leadership - January 2015

From the Editor
Bulletin Board
Cases in Point
Healthy Schools, Healthy Students
2015 NASSP National Principal of the Year
Tagging Along: U.S. Department of Education Officials Shadow School Principals
Making Space for New Leaders
Hitting the Learning Target
How to Support Grieving Students
Partnering With Millennial Parents
Building a Better Principalship
Creating Opportunity for Struggling Students
What Connected Educators Do Differently
Promoting Excellence
Instructional Leader
Breaking Ranks in Practice
Discussion Guide

Principal Leadership - January 2015