our ways teaching & learning framework™
We understand that a strong sense of cultural identity is essential for our students to achieve academic success. With that in mind, ICS developed the Our Ways Teaching & Learning Framework™ (OWTLF), which provides a framework for culture and academics to integrate. This endeavor began with an initiative called Listening to Tribal Voices. It was recognized that no one person or even a small team, should attempt to develop such an important project alone. With that in mind, interviews were conducted with over 800 American Indian people across Wisconsin, who provided answers to three questions:
- What should our students know by the time they graduate from Indian Community School as 8th grade students?
2. Why is it important to teach Native language and culture?
3. How would you like to help?
Analysis of the responses resulted in cultural outcomes for 8th grade students. Learning targets for each grade, kindergarten through 8th, were developed to support each of the outcomes. The OWTLF is comprised of both outcomes and learning targets. The nine main topics or what we refer to as “strands” included in the OWTLF include:
Living in a Good Way
Connections to Mother Earth
Indian Law & Policy
Additionally, we bring in cultural guests who support the OWTLF and serve as role models for the seven Sacred Gifts. These guests are generally available throughout the school day and offer early evening programming to ensure access to students, staff and our community.