The Lillian Vallely School, is an independent fully-accredited Christian elementary school for Indian children from kindergarten through fifth grade. It was begun at the request of a group of elders on the Fort Hall Reservation in eastern Idaho. These elders, mostly grandmothers led by a wonderful Shoshone woman, an Episcopal Deacon named Lillian Vallely, were concerned about their grandchildren and great-grandchildren and all the children on the Reservation. During many coffee hours at the Church of the Good Shepherd on the reservation, these elders dreamed of a special school where their grandchildren and great grandchildren might be given the tools to do better scholastically by having their own culture honored and academic excellence expected of them.
As a part of our ongoing relationship with the school, the NCPC has contributed to enhancing their cultural enrichment program by providing funds for a Native American flute teacher, and has helped them with their annual Children’s Day festivities. The NCPC has also donated funds for them to buy a DVD player, and sent Native American and cultural books and videos suggested by the teachers for their library.
About the School
From the beginning, the school has had small classes with lots of individual attention. Two highly qualified, nurturing teachers with Idaho Teaching Credentials teach the academic subjects. In addition, students are taught the Shoshone language, Indian dance, music, and crafts. A well-qualified and experienced Shoshone Indian woman teaches the culture. Students have opportunities to present dance performances off the Reservation, so that they can experience a wider world and gain self-confidence. They have performed at the College of Southern Idaho and in Denver for a large convention.
The school also teaches the Christian faith in the Anglican tradition, another request of the elders. They write: “We believe that if they are grounded in the faith, know their native heritage and can feel proud of who they are, they will do better in all subjects. We want them to be comfortable in both their native culture and in the culture of the majority, to excel academically and to have the skills to attend any college or university in America if they wish.”
Lillian Vallely School Says “Thank You!”
Dear Mr. Hall,
Thank you for your gift of $300.00 for the Lillian Vallely School’s participation in the Indian Day Parade and food and supplies for the school Pow Wow. We are grateful for this help from the NCPC for the school’s culture program.
The school is off to a good start. My husband, Bishop John Thornton, and I were there on Monday, observing classes, admiring the progress of the new landscaping efforts and visiting with the children and staff. It is always a delight to be there.
We are pleased with the progress the children are making. On their standardized tests last January, no one was “below grade level” in reading. Two kindergarten children were “near grade level”. Everyone else was “at grade level”.
The students had a wonderful time in March in Burley where, at the invitation of the Smithsonian, they opened the traveling exhibit on the History of Music. When the next group was late, our children covered for them by continuing to dance for the audience. The school staff and the children’s families were all very proud of them.
Thank you again for your generous gift.
Director for Financial Development