No more books?

No more books?

Chinle Unified, Diné College go digital

CHINLE and TSAILE, Ariz.

There's plenty of logo clothing and school supplies at Dine College's redesigned bookstore. What won't you find there? Books. The college has gone to an online book buying and selling program with an eBook option. (Times photo -- Cindy Yurth)

There’s plenty of logo clothing and school supplies at Dine College’s redesigned bookstore. What won’t you find there? Books. The college has gone to an online book buying and selling program with an eBook option. (Times photo — Cindy Yurth)

It’s back-to-school time. Time to watch the kids hunching to school under their backpacks full of weighty tomes.

Unless you live in Chinle Unified School District, where the kids are skipping to school unburdened by obsolete printed matter.

That’s not quite true … but the district is in its second year as a “Beyond Textbooks” school. Teachers are using an online curriculum that breaks down the Common Core standards into teachable units, with shared lesson plans and recommended quizzes to make sure students are keeping up.

Some teachers are going textbook-free, but it’s not required.

“We still have our old textbooks,” explained Chinle High School Vice Principal Clete Hargrave, “but we’re not using them the same way.”

Teachers used to go through textbooks one chapter at a time, “and if you didn’t get to Chapter 12, that’s all the kids learned,” Hargrave said. But the Common Core requires students to learn certain things at a certain time.

“So, if Chapter 3 covers stuff they’re supposed to learn in the first few weeks, you might teach Chapter 3 first,” Hargrave explained.


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About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.

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