Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'ólta', WRUSD#8 (928)729-6842
The main goal of the Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'ólta' is to revitalize and maintain the Diné language among school age children within the communities the Window Rock Unified School District serves.
"At the base of the plateau in Fort Defiance, Arizona where descendants of the Long Walk originated sits an amazing school."
Today, at Window Rock Unified School District in Fort Defiance, Arizona, Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'ólta', also known as the Diné Language Immersion School serves approximately 240 students from K-8. Its location is at the former Fort Defiance Elementary School, (which was the former Tse Ho Tso Intermediate School) a 1959 structure that is condemned for student use. The Governing Board approved plans to relocate the student body to a newer school building for the '07-'08 school year.
The school has 13 Diné language teachers who instruct only in the Diné language while five English language teachers instruct in the English language, allowing for the use of the Diné Language if necessary.
At all grade levels instruction is based upon the integration of the Navajo Nation's Diné Cultural content standards with the Arizona state academic standards in reading, writing, math, and foreign language. This relates to the district's vision of being "an exemplary student centered learning organization reflecting the Diné values of life-long learning."
In Kindergarten and 1st Grade, the language instruction is only in Navajo. Beginning at 2nd Grade, English language instruction is provided for 10% of the school day. An additional 10% per grade level of English language instruction is added from grades 3-6. At 6th Grade 50% of the school day is conducted in the Diné language and 50% of the school day is in English. Students at 7th Grade begin elective coursework while continuing Diné language instruction at 50%. This continues for 8th graders.
Like other schools in the district, Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'ólta' provides the same services to students.
Community's Wish and District's Mission
The use of the Diné language and culture is a response to the community's wishes for their children to learn their native Diné language and culture while equally learning and becoming proficient in the English language. This relates to the district's mission "to ensure relevant learning for all students to be successful in a multicultural society."
In 2003, all Navajo Immersion Program classrooms throughout Window Rock Unified School District schools united and became its own school, Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'ólta'. The goal of unifying all the Navajo immersion students was to enrich the environment for Navajo language to ultimately increase oral Diné language proficiency.
In 1986 immersion classrooms began at the Fort Defiance Elementary School with Kindergarten. Each year a grade level was added expanding to a K-5 program within the school. Fort Defiance Elementary then became two schools: the Tse Ho Tso Primary Learning Center serving grades K-2 and the Tse Ho Tso Intermediate Learning Center serving grades 3-5. The immersion classrooms became available at both schools, providing parents with the choice of Navajo as the language of instruction. Later, the K-5 Window Rock Elementary School became the third school to offer immersion classes as a program for their students. These classrooms gave way to the currently outdated name, the "Navajo Immersion Program." The first graduating class from the Navajo Immersion Program was in 1999.