Hoopa Education to Bring Back JOM Programs in March
By KRISTAN KORNS, TRT Contributing Writer
Kerry Venegas, Hoopa’s newly-hired Education director, said that despite budget cuts of 10 percent this year, the tribal Johnson O’Malley Program will be restarted in March.
“We have to do a lot with a little,” Venegas said.
The Johnson O’Malley (JOM) Program in Hoopa was shut down in December, and is being restructured.
JOM provides educational help for Native American children, including tutoring and extra lessons grounded in Native language and culture.
Tutors focus on students who are having trouble in school and give them the extra help they need to succeed. Hoopa Elementary School also has teachers who volunteer to stay after school to tutor students.
The JOM Program and the Hupa Learning, Language and Culture Center (HLC) sponsored a get-together on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to get community input on the program.
The first question on the survey that was passed around was, “What services are the highest priority for the HCL-JOM to provide?” and people came with answers and some questions of their own.
Shelley Carpenter suggested having high school students in the Advanced Hupa language class teach a basic class to community members.
“It sounds to me like we have a lot of tutoring going on. We should focus on language and culture,” Carpenter said.
Pamela Mattz said, “We should be mixing Hupa language and culture in with the regular studies. We used to have language classes every Wednesday.”
“We did summer camps for the whole month of July, and the kids did everything in Hupa [language], including math classes.”
Venegas said the HLC used to hold community classes in the Hoopa language that were open to everyone.
“That’s something I really want to see happening again, because it’s really important to the community,” Venegas said.
“There are a lot of audio and VHS tapes with elders recorded, and we need to digitize and preserve that,” Venegas said.
Venegas hopes to hire a manager for the program by the end of February, and tutors would be in place by March. She said budget cuts affected how much they could do.
Community members with suggestions or ideas can pick up a copy of the community survey at the Hoopa Learning Center on Loop Road, across from the Forestry building.
“We need input and involvement from the community,” Venegas said.