FARMINGTON — The Dream Diné Charter School in Shiprock reached a critical milestone last week when a state education committee approved the school's contract and operations. The move allows the school to begin receiving funding for the upcoming school year.

The New Mexico Public Education Commission approved Dream Diné's mission statement, operations and charter school contract during its meeting on Friday in Santa Fe.

State funding from the New Mexico Public Education Department will begin on July 1, said Gavin Sosa, the charter school's director of operations and outreach. The school is scheduled to open in August.

"It was a huge hurdle and step that was necessary," Sosa said of the approval from the state. "I'm really excited. There was a lot of joy and celebration by the team."

Dream Diné will open with two kindergarten classes and one first-grade class. Each class will contain 15 students. The school plans to add a grade every school year until it reaches eighth grade.

The contract details performance goals for the school. Three are set for the school's first year. They include 10 percent growth in language proficiency on the Navajo Oral Language Assessment, a student attendance rate of 90 percent and using a web-based system to measure student proficiency.

Sosa said the commission looked at the state of the school before approving operations, focusing on items such as school board policies and the development of curriculum.

Roselyn Begay, a member of the school's governing board, said the school will soon begin hiring staff and ordering supplies for the school year.

A new temporary location for the school has been secured, thanks to help from the Shiprock Chapter. Six portable classrooms will be installed behind the chapter house, next to Navajo Head Start.

Dream Diné governing board members previously discussed operating out of Diné College in Shiprock. Sosa said the school worked with Shiprock Chapter President Duane "Chili" Yazzie to come up with its current plan.

Begay, who is finalizing plans for the school, said she is listening to interested community members discuss the opening of the school.

"We've been talking to a lot of people in the Shiprock area, and they are looking forward to it," Begay said.

Joshua Kellogg covers education forThe Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4527 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.