Enhancing Navajo Nation Youth Academic Achievement Through Diné Character Education

8/1/2023 – 7/31/2025


This qualitative case study will inform the practices of Navajo Nation educators who are collaborating to enhance educational opportunities and academic achievement for Diné youth. The study will examine the process that Diné educators utilize as they implement, then scale-up, a culturally sustaining/revitalizing curriculum developed with the purpose of integrating character education from a traditional Diné perspective throughout the tribally controlled schools of the Navajo Nation. The project aims to (1) support, and construct transferrable insights into, Diné educators’ process of implementing character education curriculum; (2) understand Diné educators’ process of scaling-up the dissemination and implementation of the character education curriculum; and (3) examine how this curriculum functions to address disparities in educational outcomes that affect Diné youth which, in turn, could inform U.S. education policies affecting tribal nations. Principal Investigator is Dr. Hollie Anderson Kulago (College of Education, The Pennsylvania State University); Key Community Collaborator is Dorthea Litson (Office of Diné School Improvement, Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education); co-PI is Dr. Logan Rutten (Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, The Pennsylvania State University).