Local collaboration between schools, museum receives kudos from Smithsonian

Livingston’s Indian Education for All program, a grant-funded collaboration between the Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County and East Side School, could teach a thing not just to other Montana schools, but to schools across the country.

That’s the word from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Education professionals from the Smithsonian were in Livingston recently specifically to hear more about the collaborative project, explained YGM Executive Director Paul Shea.

The Yellowstone Gateway Museum received a letter from the Smithsonian educators praising its IEFA program.

“Your collaborations with the Crow Nation and your local schools are an inspiration,” the letter said, according to a YGM news release. “And the models you have created in support of the IEFA have generated much discussion with our other education colleagues at NMAI. The schools and tribes are critical pieces of IEFA, but the strong museum involvement provided valuable ideas as we look to creating a national platform for communities to share resources and ideas.”  

The Smithsonian delegation was in Montana late last month to visit with members of the Montana Office of Public Instruction, the Montana Historical Society and Montana State University’s department of Native American Studies, the release said.

While in Livingston, they joined museum staff and Crow Tribe representatives to celebrate the conclusion of a museum/school grant, designated specifically for IEFA.

Chosen from six museum/school grants awarded in the last two years by OPI,  the Livingston grant recipients were selected as an outstanding example of museum/school collaboration.

YGM and Livingston schools created a speaker series for fifth-graders and their parents, as well as teaching trunks and 3-D displays. A cross-cultural field day at Fort Parker, the first Crow Agency, with students and teachers from the Pryor School, located near Hardin, was held during the school year.

Livingston School Superintendent Dr. Rich Moore and three district principals — Luke Shelton, Robert Stevenson and Lisa Rosberg —joined the afternoon meeting.  

The NMAI delegation was an eager audience as the Livingston grant team shared details on the program. The meeting concluded with comments from school administrators, teachers, parents, students, tribal members and museum personnel.

NMAI promised continued enthusiastic support and communication with the schools and with YGM.

Additional photos of the event are available on the YGM Facebook page www.facebook.com/yellowstone.gatewaymuseum.