FARMINGTON — Board members behind a proposed charter school near Shiprock are determining their next move after a state board denied their charter application.
The proposed Dream Diné Charter School's application was denied during a New Mexico Public Education Commission meeting on Sept. 26 and 27 in Santa Fe.
Dream Diné was one of five charter schools seeking approval. Two applications -- Health Science Academy in Gadsden and Explore Academy in Albuquerque -- were approved. Dream Diné, the Columbus Community School in Columbus and the RISE New Mexico Charter School in Albuquerque were not approved.
Carolyn Shearman, chair of the state public education commission, said commission members are not commenting on any of the denied applications until written details are released later this month.
The mission of Dream Diné is integrate the Common Core state standards along with the Diné language and culture in a classroom environment. The goal, organizers say, is to allow students to remain in touch with their heritage.
The school plans to use both the English and Navajo languages to teach subjects and use the Diné philosophy of life, bringing the four sacred directions of Dine life -- east, south, west and north -- to influence the lessons of the school day.
Planning board member Celeste Yazzie said the board plans to meet today, and members will discuss whether to appeal the state board's decision or wait to reapply next year.
"I feel that we are going to go on as if we have been approved and keep moving forward," Yazzie said. "It's very important for our youth, our people and our community."
Yazzie said she plans to work more on community outreach and receive input from parents and children on developing a curriculum for the proposed school.
One issue the state Public Education Commission brought up during an August hearing is where the school would be housed while a permanent location is finalized.
Diné College President Maggie George said the college has had preliminary conversations with the school planning board members, and, if the school is approved, space at the college's Shiprock North campus would be set aside for it.
George said the missions of the school and college are similar because both adhere to Diné philosophy.
"We'll support them the best way we can," George said.
The application denial did not deter Yazzie, who said the process of building a unique school can take time and effort.
"It's a dream and a passion, not only me but for our team," Yazzie said. "It's really seeing our youth get an education and instilling values through the Diné way of living and learning."