Heritage Language Programs - Hupa, Karuk, and Yurok

Indian Education and Native Language Program at Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District

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Address: P.O. Box 1308, Hoopa, CA 95546

Telephone: 530-625-5600 Ext. 9

Web address: http://www.humboldt.k12.ca.us/kt_usd/K-T/indianeducation/index.htm

Contact person

Name: Sarah Supahan

Title: Program Director

Address: P.O. Box 1308, Hoopa, CA 95546

Email: ssupahan@mac.com

Telephone: 530-625-5600 Ext. 9

Languages/dialects taught: Hupa, Karuk, and Yurok

Grades taught: K-12

Program Description: To provide language instruction in order to revitalize the three local languages of our area.

Purposes and goals of the program: Four out of our five elementary schools provide instruction in the language that was originally spoken by students’ ancestors. All three local languages are taught at the high school.

Type of program: Heritage language education program

Program origin: The high school program began in 1997. This is the year when our languages were approved for entrance into the University of California system.


Parents’ expectations for the program: Although no formal survey has been done, our experience shows that parents appreciate and support the program.


Instructors’ and administration’s expectations for the program: We have both credentialed teachers and non-credentialed instructors teaching the native languages. We are working to get all of our staff credentialed through the state of California under the federal Native American Languages Act.


Students: Our students’ country of origin is the United States. All of our students’ heritage language is their second language. None of them grew up speaking their original language. The majority of our students are Native Americans, but non-Indian students also take native language courses. 81% of our students at our public school district are Native American.

How the program identifies heritage speakers: Language assessments

Students’ expectations of the program: High school students are very heart-felt about learning their language(s). They take the classes during their regular high school day.


Number of instructors in the program: 8

Languages in which instructors are proficient: Hupa, Karuk, and Yurok

Professional development opportunities instructors have: We provide teachers some training and collaboration. Many have participated in master/apprentice programs with an elder speaker and have also received training through state language programs.


Total contact hours per week: Approximately 5 hours

Student grouping: Students are grouped by language level.

Language skills

Heritage language skills developed: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing


Aspects of culture taught: Culture is integrated with the language courses taught. Most aspects of the culture are taught through “the world view of the language.”


Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program: Curriculum frameworks have been developed. We are in the second year of implementing the frameworks. Hands-on activities, Total Physical Response (TPR), songs and readings are used as instructional strategies. Some grammar instruction is also incorporated.


Other materials used for instruction: We try to emphasize communication based instruction. Most curricular materials are created by the instructor, although we provide many supplemental materials and some lesson plans through our Indian Education Resource Center.

Technology used for instruction: Teachers and students are beginning to create more multi-media in the languages such as DVDs, CDs, and PowerPoint presentations.


Assessments used to evaluate students’ progress: Mid-term tests, final exams, student self-assessments, teacher observations, portfolios, and cultural participation and research projects (CPR) are used to assess student progress.


Opportunities for using the heritage language and developing cultural knowledge outside the program: We offer tribal education opportunities so that students can use the heritage language and develop cultural knowledge.

Financial support the program receives: We receive funding from the US government as well as the state and local government. Money that is received from the school district's general fund is endowed by Impact Aid and by federal PL 874.

Other support the program receives: Some funding is from the federal Indian Education (Title VII) Program.

Special challenges

Challenges the program has experienced: We have difficulty finding language teachers who are available to teach and are qualified.

Additional support we would like to receive:
• Credentialing from the state of California
• Higher wages for our teachers so that their pay is equitable with that of other classroom teachers

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