After School Program at Umónhon Nation Public School Carries on Amidst Travel Restrictions

Michele Blackbird
Michele Blackbird

Prior to the COVID 19 Pandemic, MATC’s Roads, Rails, and Race Cars (RRRC) After School program was implemented at several sites outside of the Lincoln area. The pandemic caused suspension of outreach activities at all sites, and limited engagement and restrictions as schools began to re-open. At the Umónhon Nation Public School (UNPS) in Macy, NE, Alternative Education Teacher Michele Blackbird stepped up to lead the club. Along with Nicholas Stubbs, another teacher at UNPS, the two carried on weekly club activities with enthusiastic elementary and middle school students.

Michele Blackbird has been a long-time MATC collaborator. In 2017 she joined as a Sovereign Native Youth STEM Leadership Academy teacher, and serves as the host teacher at Umónhon Nation Public School for RRRC during the regular school year. Throughout the years she has added much to both programs. In particular, during a period of limited school access, she created video lessons and activities with a Native American STEM and transportation focus that have become part of the regular RRRC curriculum.

In Spring 2022 the OMICRON variant caused another round of travel restrictions that limited MATC in-person participation. Thanks to Michele’s leadership, club activities continued uninterrupted. The semester saw the introduction of new curriculum materials related to Art and Engineering and implementation at UNPS was enriched with contextualization to Umónhon culture provided by Michele.

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