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Tempe district approves 2nd year of course on Yaqui language

Guadalupe, Arizona sign
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
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editorial | staff
Guadalupe, Arizona, is now home to about 6,700 residents.

The Tempe Union High School District has approved a second year of a course that teaches a local native language.

In fall 2023, the district met with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, based in Guadalupe, to create a course that would teach the Yaqui language.

Steve Threadgill is director of instructional services for the district. He said they’ve always had a strong collaboration with the tribe, as Guadalupe is within the district’s attendance boundary.

“The tribe itself really reached out to us because there was that desire and slight concern that the youth within the Pascua Yaqui Tribe were losing some of that sense of the culture [and] of the language,” Threadgill said.

The district’s governing board has approved a second level of that course to begin next year.

“That is really important that we were able to do that because in the state of Arizona, especially for our students that desire to go to college and universities after high school, one of the expectations is that students have two consecutive years of a world language,” Threadgill said.

The class is available at Tempe and Marcos De Niza high schools, but the district hopes to expand it to all of its high schools in the future.

“There are also cultural standards that are embedded in the curriculum,” Threadgill said. “So they’re learning about their culture [and] the connections with the community. It’s all encompassing.”

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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