KOTZEBUE, Alaska, Oct. 11, 2022 – As of Oct. 1, NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (NANA) provided $1.5 million in pre-Kindergarten (pre-K) funding to the Northwest Arctic Borough School District (NWABSD), a decision made by the NANA Board of Directors in their Sept. 2 special board meeting.
“The NANA board knows our children are our future. One of our top priorities is ensuring we provide opportunities for success for our shareholders. We recognized that there was a shortfall in funding and without our contribution, children across the region would not have had access to early educational opportunities this year, said Board Chair Utuktauraq Ely Cyrus. “NANA is proud to support the education of our young shareholders. NANA also acknowledges that early education opportunity supports parental workforce participation and is a key ingredient in a thriving economy.”
The funds will support instructors and professional development, and update or order curriculum and supplies at each of the 11 district schools.
“NANA’s support in this effort has invigorated this early and equitable access to education within our district. NANA’s support of educating our next generation in this manner goes straight to the heart of the values and culture of our region and is highly appreciated,” said NWABSD Superintendent Terri Walker.
The district acknowledges that the largest impact of not having pre-K for the last several years has hindered kindergarten readiness and social development skills.
“The funding from NANA means that the NWABSD can once again enhance early learning, starting at 4 years old, in our schools. To reach our target of all students reading by the third grade, it is vital to begin as early as possible with stable access to education,” said Walker.
NANA is a for-profit Alaska Native corporation, formed as a result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which was passed by Congress in 1971. NANA is owned by the more than 15,000 Iñupiaq shareholders, or descendants, who live in or have roots in northwest Alaska. Iñupiat have close ties to the land and to each other. The word Iñupiat means “real people” in Iñupiaq, the language.