Middle School Diné Language and Culture Teacher

$41,000 - $51,000 yearly
  • American Indian Academy of Denver
  • 1865 West Mississippi Avenue, Denver, CO, USA
  • May 08, 2020
Full time Education

Job Description

Founding Diné Language & Culture Teacher

Job Description Status: Full-Time

FLSA Classification: Exempt

Reports To: Head of School

Annual Contract Days: 192

American Indian Academy of Denver (AIAD) is an Indigenized STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) public school opening at the beginning of the 2020 school year providing rigorous learning opportunities for 6-8 th grade students.

We are committed to creating a sustainable environment where students, staff, and parents are safe, feel they belong, and are actively engaged. All variations within the identities of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, language, ability, nationality, tribal affiliation, immigration status, age, and class are honored; each member of the school community is deeply valued and provided with what they need to be healthy physically, socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Employment at AIAD means becoming part of a community of caring and driven adults dedicated to the strengthening of indigenous peoples’ self-determination, mobility and academic excellence attained through the implementation of Indigenized education. Collaboratively, teachers are afforded the autonomy to develop and implement lesson plans within AIAD’s integrated STEAM and ELA/SS curriculum and learning experiences for students and will be provided technical support in doing so. Teachers are also expected to transcend western educational expectations of what curriculum should be by ever-increasingly leaning into models of fun, meaningful learning and identity development that caters to the unique needs that Indigenous students have. This can include decolonized/Indigenized frameworks and pedagogies, land-based learning models, artsbased learning, social-emotional and trauma-informed teaching, mindfulness and post-trauma healing, restorative practices and classroom management, physical activity, traditional language learning, traditional ecological and ethnobotanical knowledge, oral tradition and storytelling as a means to ground content in indigenous worldview, etc. Collaboration across disciplines, different class subject matters, teachers and grades are welcome and encouraged in the interest of strengthening community and cooperation. Teachers are encouraged to also reach out and build solidarities with community members who are willing to come into class and share content, teachings, wisdom, skills and build relationships.


AIAD teachers create and implement relevant and meaningful curriculum through innovative teaching methods. The AIAD Diné teacher will be responsible for building each student’s foundation for Diné language and cultural ways of doing using a variety of instructional methods nested in culturally competent approaches. Additionally, the Diné language/culture teacher will teach personal wellness classes that are grounded in Indigenous beliefs toward overall wellness. Diné and Lakota language teachers will also collaborate with content area (STEAM and Humanities) teachers to help develop and deliver AIAD’s integrate content area courses.


● Deliver culturally competent Diné language instruction utilizing the AIAD Diné language curriculum ;

● Help develop and deliver Indigenous personal wellness curriculum and activities for 6-8 grade students;

●Collaborate with content area colleagues to develop and help deliver Indigenized STEAM and Humanities lesson plans and learning activities that fit within AIAD’s integrated curriculum

●Use strength-based restorative classroom practices that foster resiliency and success for students;

● Participate in weekly professional development through a student-centered professional learning community format;

● Develop strong relationships with parents and students, creating investment in school culture and academics;

● Work collaboratively with partner teachers and staff (Humanities and STEAM teachers, Lakota Culture & Language teacher and school staff) to create consistent structures and systems;

● Maintain required administrative records, for example: student attendance, evaluation, report cards, and student data;

● Implement Individualized Education Plan (IEP), monitor and report on students’ progress toward their academic and career readiness goals, as noted in their IEP as aligned with the instructor’s content area.


● Fluent in Diné language and possess Navajo Language & Culture teaching certificate AND/OR possess at least a BA degree in Navajo Language/Culture (or similar degree) OR willing to complete Navajo Language & Culture teaching certificate within one year (may be two years depending on availability of program) ;

● Possess at least Year-One English Language Acquisition (ELA) qualification or is willing to acquire this qualification within one year of hire;

● Has minimum of 2 years classroom experience;

● Has deep internalized understanding of Diné content standards (including culture, language, connection to land & environment, kinship, identity, history, sovereignty & treaties, oral tradition, and wellness & resiliency);

● Has experience developing and implementing differentiated curriculum and learning objectives for a wide range of learners;

● Has experience and/or strong understanding of how to design culturally competent learning experiences;

● Possess deep understanding of what it means to live as part of a marginalized group of people;

● Possess great relationship skills and high emotional intelligence


● Loves teaching middle schoolers;

● Demonstrate a deep commitment to decolonized mindsets and practices;

● Has experience in delivering authentic learning experiences in language instruction using integrated approaches;

● Has experience with cooperative learning techniques to enhance collaboration skills among students;

● Possess collaborative skills and a willingness to work with colleagues in a Professional Learning Community;

● Possess desire to learn and grow, and is open to feedback from instructional leaders and colleagues;

● Demonstrate willingness to be involved in community activities and events outside of typical school hours.


● Empowering work environment in a community-based school dedicated to community transformation;

● Opportunity to be a founding staff member as we build a high achieving school nested in Indigenous belief systems and values;

● Participate in a shared leadership model where all voices are heard;

● School committed to supporting professional growth for all employees;

● Health/dental/vision insurance and PERA (retirement);

● Staff wellness opportunities;

● Moving stipend for new employees moving to Denver from outside Colorado;

● $41,000 to $51,000 annual salary range dependent upon education and experience


Fill out this preliminary APPLICATION and submit. Have questions? Email Terri Bissonette, Head of School at terri@aiadschool.org