The Devils Lake Public School District has a very special group of people whose advice is vital to their work with a large number of students and their families.

The Devils Lake Public School District has a very special group of people whose advice is vital to their work with a large number of students and their families.
Led by Peter Owlboy, Jr., the Native American Education Advisory Committee has important input that administrators, teachers and paras draw from regularly as they work day to day with a diverse school population.

The group is also made up of Chris Dahlen, Ann Wadsworth, June Gourd, Felicia Greywater and Lindsey Onebear with teacher representatives Sarah Murchie and “Sis” Eisenzimmer.
They are also hoping to find a student volunteer to sit in on the meetings, as well, and represent the students’ point of view.
The NAEAC meets once a month with interested administrators, staff and members of the school board, and each meeting is held in a different school location.

Owlboy said he got involved with the group a few years ago because his own children were attending the Devils Lake schools. He said it seemed like a good thing to be involved with.
Through the years the members of this committee have done telephone surveys to talk with parents and guardians about their childrens’ education and learning needs.
Through members of the committee funding from outside sources like the Spirit Lake Casino have helped purchase books for the schools’ libraries, artwork for all the school buildings and to fund cultural presentations.

Twice each year members of the NAEAC attend the school board meeting and report to that body what the committee has accomplished and any concerns they might have or need to address.
Wadsworth pointed out that the monthly meetings and two school board meetings they attend help NAEAC members develop positive relationships with the school board members and vice versa.

That’s what Superintendent Scott Privratsky emphasized, as well. He says the greatest value comes with communication and relationship building, “It’s so important in education to have positive relationships with students and their parents. We are all working together, moving forward and trying to improve the way we do things to benefit everyone,” Privratsky said.
“We can always do a better job as educators and with good communication and positive relationships, that is possible.”

He pointed out that across the district Native American students make up 30 percent of the population, and how that’s a significant number of unique individuals, families and needs.
It is one of the elements that makes education in this day and age both a joy and a challenge for everyone concerned.

As the fourth Friday of September nears and some in the nation are marking Native American Day on Sept. 22, it is fitting to acknowledge the individual members of the Native American Education Advisory Committee for their contribution to education in the Devils Lake Public Schools. This is a group of people that is making a difference in their community.
The next meeting of the NAEAC is planned for Oct. 10 at Central Middle School.

Why is this important?
•Native American students make up 30 percent of the population of the Devils Lake School District.
•Each student has unique educational needs, that includes the Native American students.
•To better serve the Native American students of the school district it is important to have positive relationships and good communication with administration, faculty, staff and Native families.
•For those whose financial situation warrants it, the Native American Education Advisory Committee can occasionally find outside sources, like the Spirit Lake Casino and Resort, to aid in funding for items like expensive regulation shoes for a basketball player who needs them, for example.