Walatowa High Charter School
Walatowa High Charter School was established in 2001 as the second Native American public charter school in the state and the first Native State Charter High School. This authorization allows the WHCS to provide alternative educational setting to parents and students in the public school system as its own Local Education Agency (LEA).
From the outset, the school's founders, administrators, faculty and governance council have recognized that young people who understand their identity and appreciate their unique heritage are best-equipped to become effective students and citizens.
WHCS is implementing a community school model that includes the Two-Generation Approach and Continuum. As a community school, WHCS is both an educational institution and a center of community life that partners the school with other community resources. WHCS integrated focus on academics, youth development, family support, health and social services and community development leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.
Community Asset Based Learning Approach
Walatowa High Charter School integrated philosophy of learning incorporates a balance between traditional life experiences that honor community, family and native traditional practice balanced with academic rigor, and physical activity. The school calendar is moved the calendar to an early start date to accommodate the traditional calendars of Zia and Jemez communities and to recognize all tribal activities. Walatowa High Charter School asset based learning approach integrates culturally relevant cross-curricular instruction focusing on strength-based and culturally relevant teaching styles to serve our ethnically and culturally indigenous demography.
WHCS implements a multi-generational school model in which the school is both an educational institution and a center of intra-community dialogue. To improve student learning and build stronger families and healthier communities WHCSs community school focuses on its holistuic indigenous pedagogy whichlays the foundation of
WHCS’s Mission Statement:
"Through a community-integrated experiential learning program, Walatowa High Charter School will prepare students to be academically successful, while promoting cultural awareness, community wellness, leadership, college and career readiness”.
WHCS's community asset-based learning approach is rooted in Best Practices in Native education pedagogy. These place-based practices entail providing a culturally relevant curriculum to Native students' lives by incorporating experiential learning technigues that bring meaning to local places, events and situations. Indigenous Best Practices integrae teaching methods and strategies that encourage innovation and kinesthetic problem solving rather than memorizationl They also use information technologies, to direct self-learning and self-awareness, capture indigenous knowledge, and to create bridges to successful postsecondary opportunities. Informed by this understanding, WHCS utilizes a unique multidisciplinary instructional student-centered active learning approach called phenomena-based teaching and learning ( Pheno-BL). Phenomena (a.k.a. real-world events) - based instruction is the foundatio of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) three-dimensional learning process - the integration of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs). NGSS's performance expectations (PEs) are the result of all three dimensions coming together. WHCS integrates synergy among subject areas by holistically connecting eduational standards ( NM Content Standards, CCSS, NGSS and 21st century learning skills) with Native American culture and indigenous Best Practices when writing curricula.