Cherokee Language Enhancement II

Area of Focus: Cultural Preservation
Project Title: Cherokee Language Enhancement II
Grant Type: Project Specific
Grantee: Cherokee Central School
Grant ID: LGPS 1073 FA 13
Grant Amount: $229,168
Timeline: One Year
Grant Year: Fall 2013

Project purpose:  To support Cherokee language instruction and assessment at Cherokee Central Schools for the 2013 – 2014 school year.


Background:  For decades, Cherokee schools have offered Cherokee language classes. From the 1960’s through the mid-1990’s, resources for language instruction were limited, affording only a few teachers to reach hundreds of students. Accordingly, the schools’ primary objective was exposure to the language, rather than deeper, more advanced instruction. With the advent of gaming for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and the new resources that followed, Cherokee schools have greatly increased both the quantity and quality of instruction. Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) now has 14 language instructors and works with more than one thousand students annually. Over the past several years, more effective and expansive curricula have been developed, language teachers have developed and improved teaching skills, the school has operated a Language and Culture Summer school, and the language program continues to refine and improve student learning and program assessments.


Proposal: CCS’ Cherokee Language Program seeks funding to support second-year salaries for two additional language instructors, purchase more culturally appropriate performance clothing, offer teacher development opportunities, and provide instructional materials and supplies. Funds would support improved and expanded Cherokee language instruction both during the school year and during the Language and Culture Summer School, reaching students at all grade levels.  CSS has acknowledged that support for teachers will only be provided for this grant, and it is incumbent upon CCS to secure funding for those teachers’ salaries in future school years.  The CCS Cherokee Language Program seeks to continue an emphasis on teacher development, understanding that highly skilled teachers are more effective, and are a critical component of student achievement. Teacher development efforts include enhancing teaching methods, curriculum development and use of new technology.