Identifying a staff candidate with the sufficient background to assist students from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe has proved problematic for officials at Massena Central School District.
The education specialist who most recently held this position left the district at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. In a story published Oct. 25 in the Watertown Daily Times, Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said this individual helped high school students by teaching one section of study on the tribe’s culture and serving as the faculty adviser for the Mohawk Club.
“We’ve had some challenges trying to attract someone to that position,” Mr. Brady said in the story. “It’s also a civil service position which requires an exam, which is another challenge.”
Massena Central officials will adopt a measure practiced in Salmon River Central School District in Fort Covington, which contracts with the tribe to fill a similar staff position.
Under a memorandum of agreement that has been drafted, Massena Central would pay $20,000 toward the education specialist it hires with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe covering the remainder of the necessary expenses.
“We decided to explore an option that the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe often does at Salmon River, which is contract through them for a candidate,” Mr. Brady said. “Efforts to replace this position have not been successful, but this agreement with the tribe provides another option.”
This proposal is an excellent way for Massena Central to create closer ties with representatives of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. It also will give the tribe a stronger voice in the community. About 9 percent of the students at the district come from families who are members of the tribe, so it’s been beneficial to have a teacher/tutor there who specializes in Mohawk culture.
Given the difficulties that district officials have experienced in hiring someone for this position, looking to the tribe to help seek a qualified candidate makes sense. Having aspects of their culture taught at Massena Central is appropriate for students from the tribe, and so district authorities are wise to pursue this plan.