Utah rez schools lag behind others, but improving


Public schools in Utah that serve the Navajo Nation are doing average, according to grade data that came out in September. But there is a disparity between those actually located on the Navajo Nation and off-reservation schools.

The public schools in Utah that serve Navajo students ran a C average based on the 2016-17 letter grades assigned by the Utah State Board of Education.

According to data from the Department of Diné Education and the DoDE school directory, two public school districts serve Navajo students. The Sevier School District has 12 schools running at a B average, and the San Juan School District has 12 schools running a C average.

Although there is a dorm for Navajo students at Richfield High School in the Sevier School District, none of the Sevier schools is located on the Navajo Nation. The San Juan School District includes seven schools in off-reservation municipalities and five schools in the Navajo Nation. The schools off Navajo averaged a B, while the scores in Navajo averaged a D. Three schools in SJSD received a grade of F – Tse’bii’nidzisgai Elementary School, Whitehorse High School and Monument Valley High School – all within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

According to data from DoDE’s Office of Educational Research and Statistics, SJSD serves about almost 3,000 students with more than half of those at schools in the Navajo Nation. Utah uses letters A through F to grade schools in a system that does not include minus or plus grades.

Letter grades show on-reservation Utah public schools lagging behind their counterparts off the reservation.

Illustration showing letter grades for various schools. Monument Valley High got an F, as did Whitehorse High and Tes'bii'nidzisgai.

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Categories: Education

About Author

Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at Chrisp@navajotimes.com.