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Bayfield High School

Grade Level
High School
Region
North

Designing environments where students see themselves

Bayfield High School is dedicated to creating a culture that is responsive to the needs of their student body. Located in northern Wisconsin, over 75% of their students are American Indian.

Recognizing the connection between student engagement and academic achievement, the leadership team purposefully decided to reflect the culture of all students in every aspect of the school, classroom, and curriculum.

The use of strong cultural imaging is evident instantly upon entry into the school. Visitors are greeted by a mosaic depicting an Ojibwe leader and a large dreamcatcher suspended from the ceiling. A mural in the cafeteria displays area wildlife, representing the connection between nature and the students’ culture.

Designing culturally-relevant curriculum

The curriculum is also culturally relevant. Teachers incorporate natural resource aspect of the region into the daily curriculum. Ojibwe language and culture classes also enhance student interest and engagement, which also serves to protect the past and honor indigenous ways.

Their outdoor project-based learning program allows students to engage even further in projects that validate and preserve their culture, including learning how cultivate mushrooms, monitor animals using trail cameras, and collect maple sap and process it into syrup.

Bayfield believes this commitment to culture has increased student engagement, leading to a decrease in suspension rates and an increase in graduation rates for American Indian students.

https://www.bayfield.k12.wi.us/schools/high.cfm