Hydaburg City School District: An Approach to Culturally Responsive Schools

Camille M. Booth, M.Ed., MSW, Assistant Superintendent

At Hydaburg City School District (HCSD) our entire certified staff is engaging in an independently led book study using Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain by Zaretta Hammond. We kicked off the study at our beginning-of-the-year inservice and will be reading through the book, reflecting, and discussing strategies and processes throughout the year. We are particularly focusing on the Ready for Rigor Framework.

Each teacher received a copy of the book and we have designated ample professional development time throughout the year for discussion and deep dives into equity in the classroom. During our kick off, each staff member participated in examining their own cultural lens and how that might impact teaching. 

Additionally, we at HCSD, are committed to engaging in community-based cultural learning. We are fortunate to have a Haida culture bearer and language speaker on staff. Ben Young, leads our staff in learning ten Haida phrases that teachers may use to encourage and support students.

Ben modeled strong teaching strategies as he taught the Haida phrases. We reviewed these phrases daily, studied using a quizlet, and finally Ben completed an informal assessment with the staff as learners on the final day of inservice. Ben agreed to help language learners on staff review these phrases and support new Haida language learning throughout the school year. 

Ben Young gesturing as he teaches Haida

The Haida phrases we learned are:

• Háw’aa: Thank You
• Húu ‘Láagang: Good job. Good effort.
• Áang: Yes.
• Gáa’anuu: No.
• Dámaan agán hl Ḵíng: Take care of yourself.
• Áyaa: I don’t know.
• Díig hl tlaad: Help me.
• Háws dáng Hl ḵíngsaang: I will see you again.
• Áa uu tláan Gíidang: All done. That’s all there is.
• Agán hl Ḵ’alaagáadaa: Do your best, be persistent, be strong.
• Tajgwíig: Welcome, come in.

We also collaborated to determine the core of how we, as a learning community, will work together throughout the year. Our core propositions are:
• Engage in learning opportunities.  
• Build each other up. 
• Honor self, others, and place.