Native Language Cummunity Coordination

"The best time to start learning a language was when you were a kid. The second-best time is today.”
- Author Unknown

July 2020

We hope you enjoy this update from the NLCC Training and Technical Assistance Center. Please direct any questions or feedback to Cree Whelshula at


“The child’s first language is critical to his or her identity. Maintaining this language helps the child value his or her culture and heritage, which contributes to a positive self-concept.”

Resource cited:

What’s New?

Year 5! Where did the time go?

Contribution by Maria Griffin

Welcome to year 5 of your Cooperative Agreement with the Administration of Native Americans!

This is your final year, and here are some things to keep in mind as you finish up your project.

  • Community Readiness Assessment – Year 5
  • Carryover requests filed as soon as possible
  • Completing objectives to meet the goal of your project
  • Gathering all of your data to tell the accurate story of your achievements and challenges, as well as the prospects to sustain your project

Remember, we here at the NLCC T/TA Center are ready to help you with technical assistance, individual training, building evaluation capacity, and project management. Give us a call for your needs, or during the monthly coaching calls, set up time to talk with us about what you need to succeed. We are here to help your project be successful.

Community Forum

Contribution by Maria Griffin

As announced during the June Cohort Call (June 9, 2020), the NLCC T/TA Center has launched the NLCC Community Forum in the membership section of the website (

The only area to be monitored is the submission of topics. The T/TA Director, Cree Whelshula, will monitor the topics to ensure that duplications don’t occur, to keep conversations streamlined.

If you don’t have access to the membership side of the website, please email the NLCC T/TA Center Director, Maria Griffin, at and she’ll forward your information to our website master.

Upcoming Events

Community Readiness Assessment!

Contribution by Maria Griffin

In year 1 and 3 of your cooperative agreements, each of you completed a Community Readiness Assessment, or CRA, to see if your community was ready to participate or become engaged in learning your language. Now that you are in year 5, it’s time to conduct the CRA for its third and final time.

We do have some new people on board, so I thought I would take some newsletter space to talk about the CRA and the Community Readiness Model, as well as how it can be used on a regular basis.

What is the Community Readiness Model?

The Community Readiness Model (CRM) measures the

  • Efforts and activities,
  • Resources,
  • Knowledge, and
  • Attitudes

of community members and leadership in order to assess a community’s level of readiness to take action on an issue. The CRM uses five (5) key dimensions.

  1. Community knowledge of the issue
  2. Community knowledge of efforts
  3. Community climate about the issue
  4. Leadership
  5. Resources

The CRM comprises several key components, of which you may be familiar.

  1. Receiving a set of survey questions
  2. Interviewing key respondents using the survey
  3. Scoring the interviews
  4. Calculating the readiness score
  5. Developing a plan of action

For the NLCC cohort, this means that you are asked to measure the efforts and activities, number of resources, community knowledge, and community attitudes about learning your language across the educational continuum.

What should NOT be expected from the model?

  • The model can’t make people do things they don’t believe in.
  • Although the model is a useful diagnostic tool, it doesn’t prescribe the details of exactly what to do to meet your goals. The model defines types and intensity of strategies appropriate to each stage of readiness. Each community must then determine specific strategies consistent with their community’s culture and level of readiness for each dimension.

What CAN be expected from the model?

The model can help you identify the community’s stage of readiness to change…whether it be for language, suicide prevention, diabetes management, etc. By following the key components listed previously, you can discern which of the nine stages (see image below) your community falls in its readiness to move forward in addressing the issue.

Count down as follows: 9. Community Ownership; 8. Expansion/Confirmation; 7. Stabilization; 6. Initiation; 5. Preparation; 4. Preplanning; 3. Vague Awareness; 2. Denial/Resistance; 1. No Awareness

The stage number doesn’t really have much meaning unless you pair a stage with each of the 5 key dimensions. Each dimension can be at a different stage, which each of you experienced in years 1 and 3 of the CRM that you conducted. For example, the table below shows each dimension, a readiness level score obtained from the survey, and a readiness stage aligned with the readiness level score.


Readiness Level

Readiness Stage

Community knowledge of the issue 3 Vague awareness
Dimension/Score Analysis: Community members have only vague knowledge about the issue (e.g. they have some awareness that the issue can be problem and why it may occur).
Community knowledge of efforts 3 Vague awareness
Dimension/Score Analysis: A few community members have heard about local efforts, but know little about them.
Community climate about the issue 2 Denial/Resistance
Dimension/Score Analysis: Community believes that this issue is a concern, in general, but believes that it is not a concern in this community or that it can’t or shouldn’t be addressed.
Leadership 2 Denial/Resistance
Dimension/Score Analysis: Leadership believes that this issue is a concern, in general, but believes that it is not a concern in this community or that it can’t or shouldn’t be addressed.
Resources 4 Preplanning
Dimension/Score Analysis: Current efforts may be funded, but the funding may not be stable or continuing. There are limited resources identified that could be used for further efforts to address the issue.

When you implement the CRM for year 5, please remember that numbers can increase or decrease. The stages only measure how ready your community is for language and if it is ready to change. It is NOT a reflection on how well you are doing in implementing your project objectives.

If your number has decreased since year 3, look at your plan of action. Were you able to conduct all the activities? Did an outside element not included in your plan affect your activities? What can be changed in your plan to increase the community’s readiness to engage in language?

If you number increased since year 3, again, look at your plan of action. What activities were well-received? Can you identify which activities were embraced by the community? Do have additional data collected that can provide you with lessons learned to further improve your engagement with your community?

You can use the CRM for other “communities.” For example, if you conducted a focus group and want to know more about a subset of that focus group, go ahead and conduct a CRM for that group. Readiness is community-specific, so feel free to use the knowledge and experience in conducting a CRM and apply it to other communities that engage in language revitalization.

If you want to continue this conversation, or if you have questions, feel free to contact Cree at, Jim at, or Maria at


Plestad, B. A., Jumper-Thurman, P., & Edwards, R. W. (2014). Community Readiness for Community Change (Community Readiness Model handbook 2nd edition). Retrieved from University of Alaska, Anchorage, Institute of Social and Economic Research:

Language Acquisition

Curriculum Mapping

Contribution by Cree Whelshula

Curriculum mapping is creating a document (Excel spreadsheets work well for this) that outlines the content taught at what time of year per grade level. It is also a continuous process that is updated throughout the year by the teacher to revise and rework the curriculum so that it reflects what is realistic and what might take longer than expected. Depending on how the established curriculum looks, or lack thereof, the curriculum map will vary on what is included.

Here is an example of a curriculum map below. This map includes the week number, the dates of the current academic year, any notes for those dates, themes/topics, key language vocabulary, cultural aspects, language skills, and songs that are sung. You can also add items like resources. If you already have a comprehensive curriculum you can list the units and lessons that you will be using. Curriculum mapping layouts vary, so follow what works best for you.

This image is of a spreadhseet the includes columns and sample content in the columns for the week number, the dates of the current academic year, any notes for those dates, themes/topics, key language vocabulary, cultural aspects, language skills, and songs that are sung.

Click the image above or here to view this image in your browser.

Program/Project Management

Leveraging Tribal Resources

Contribution by Cree Whelshula

Resources can come in many forms such as funding, facility, materials, supplies, services, expertise, or labor. In working for a tribe or tribal organization, many opportunities abound to partner with other organizations to share resources. The trick is to find the common ground and financial justifications between you and your potential partner. This is where I find it very important to thoroughly understand the benefits of language and culture.

A great resource for finding the benefits of language and culture is the website from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). They have an advocacy section that lists various studies that support language learning as beneficial for academic achievement, cognitive function (thinking, problem solving, memory, decision making, etc.) and attitudes and beliefs towards culture (

On our website ( we have a resources section for language that has articles that support language and culture as beneficial for emotional health and physical health. Specifically, language and culture are shown to reduce anxiety and depression, lower suicide rates, decrease diabetes rates, decrease drug and alcohol abuse, decrease rates of domestic violence, increase self-esteem and self-efficacy, and increase overall wellbeing.

After thoroughly understanding the various benefits of language, you can then research the vision and mission statements of various departments to see where you can align possible partnerships. For example, in understanding that language and culture positively affect education, which then increases socioeconomic outcomes, you can approach programs like temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), Johnson O’ Malley (JOM), libraries, higher education, or employment and training to see how the programs can be mutually beneficial to one another. Tribes usually have programs like diabetes prevention and management, suicide prevention, drug prevention, and other health related programs. Look for wording in mission statements like education, self-sufficiency, and healing or health.

Again, the objective is to find the justifications for that program to utilize their own resources to support your program. The more you know, the better able you will be to find those connections and justifications. Never be afraid to ask a program manager/director to sit with you to discuss your needs.

For language benefit resources visit

Evaluation Proclamation

Sources of Data

Contribution by Cree Whelshula

Tracking, analyzing, and reporting on data is important for many reasons. One of the first steps in data and evaluation is knowing the various potential sources of data that are available to inform your program. Data is such a vague word it can be hard to even start. Here is a list of potential sources of data to track for your program. This is not a complete list, but a good foundation to get you going on tracking your program data.

Meetings & Events

  • Sign-in sheets
    • Don’t forget to track certain demographics on sign in sheet such as elder or youth, speaker or learner, etc.
    • You can also include a check box if they are volunteering for the event
  • Evaluations
  • Meeting minutes
  • Post-event plus / delta staffing
    • Plus / deltas is a staffing after an event or class to determine what went well (plus) and what could be improved upon (delta)
  • Picture and/or video documentation

Outreach & Community Engagement

  • Surveys
  • Request log
    • Log all requests from individuals or other programs
  • Website / social media analytics
    • Page visits, likes, comments, link clicks
  • Testimonies
    • Keep record of candidate positive comments about the program or events.
    • Keep record of candidate neutral or negative comments about the program or events to use for lessons-learned, potential solutions, etc.
  • Needs assessments (think community readiness assessment)
  • Focus groups
  • Key respondent interviews

Classes & Curriculum

  • Documents
    • Guidance documents, handbooks, teaching methodologies, etc.
  • Attendance records
  • Class plus / deltas
  • Inventory
    • Language materials (CDs, DVDs, books, audio, worksheets, etc.)
    • Curriculum documents
    • Lesson plans
  • Assessments / test results


  • Professional development plans
  • Strategic plan
  • Meeting minutes
  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU) or memorandum of agreement (MOA)

All of these sources can help you identify gaps for the next funding source you seek as well as provide you with a sense of accomplishment at the end of a grant period. These items tell the story of HOW you completed your work, WHAT you need to change or fill the gaps, and WHO in your community can be a strong advocate or champion for your project.

Newsletter Info:

NLCC newsletter is a collaborative effort among the NLCC TTA Center staff and subcontractors, the NLCC Cohort, and the ANA. For year 3 of the grant, the newsletter is distributed on the 1st Thursday of the Month. Prior to the distribution, we ask the recipieints to provide highlights and to share information regarding their programs as we continue the implementation of this communication and resource tool. To learn more about NLCC and the NLCC TTA Center go to our website:

If you have any resources, events, or highlights you would like to share, please submit your information to Cree Whelshula at

Thank you for being part of this networking collaboration!

lemlmtš (Spokane Salish – Thank you)
Qe'ci'yew'yew' (Nimiipuu – Thank you)

Contact Info:

Cree Whelshula
NLCC Training and Technical Assistance Director

ANA: Administration for Native Americans

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