NSU continues Cherokee Language Teacher program
TAHLEQUAH – Beginning as a pilot program in 2014, the Cherokee Language Teacher program returned in 2017 to provide Northeastern State University students a chance to earn a teaching degree with an emphasis in the Cherokee language.
The program continues, selecting five students per cohort, with a Cherokee Language Teacher Training scholarship. Its goal is to certify students to teach in the classroom and the skills to teach in the Cherokee language. It is “designed to create certified Cherokee language teachers. After completing the first academic year of the program, students will sign a contract committing their services after graduation to the Cherokee Immersion School or at one of the Cherokee Nation’s cooperative satellite programs in public schools in the 14-county area,” according to language.cherokee.org
The NSU program maintains a direct line of communication with the CN’s Cherokee Language program.
“We are also coordinating together with the Oklahoma State Department of Education on reviewing and revising the Cherokee Language Teacher Certification test at the state level,” Roy Boney, CN Cherokee Language program manager, said. “The NSU degree program is currently the only university program that specifically is designed to prepare students for the Oklahoma Cherokee language teacher certification test, so maintaining that line of communication is important for both institutions.”
To apply, applicants must:
• Attend NSU’s Tahlequah campus;
• Pursue a bachelor’s degree in education and an Oklahoma state teaching certification in elementary education, early childhood education or Cherokee language;
• Demonstrate knowledge of the Cherokee language upon application; and
• Be a CN citizen who resides in the tribe’s jurisdiction or contiguous areas.
Boney said if accepted, the scholarship covers all tuition, books, fees, room and board or an equivalent stipend for students not living on campus.
“The students will spend a total of 15 hours per week in the program. This includes scheduled time in classrooms with teachers and students at the Cherokee Immersion (Charter) School, formal instructional time with Cherokee Language Program staff at Cherokee Nation, and other Cherokee Nation language-related events,” according to language.cherokee.org
After completing the first year, students sign a contract committing their services upon graduation to the Cherokee Immersion Charter School or at one of the tribe’s cooperative satellite programs in public schools in the jurisdiction, according to the website.
“In addition to the certification aspect, we are also working with NSU to develop language teacher-training programs for continuing education units and college credit options for the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice program participants,” Boney said. “We are currently in a pilot program with one of our language scholarship graduates where Education Services is sending her through the Master Apprentice Program.”