ISLA’s Mission

To Help Tribal and Urban Educators Focus on Native Students’ Strengths, So That Those Students Leap Ahead to Learning, Mastery, and Achievement

ISLA’s Leadership

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Steven C. Haas is a passionate advocate for culturally sensitive instructional techniques and strategies that are respectful of the traditional visual-spatial learning style of Native American children.

The natural synergy of so many applications from digital technology with the Native American visual-spatial learning style opens the door to strength-based programming instruction, replacing the frustration of endless auditory-sequential remediation and catch-up.

Mr. Haas has presented at the NIEA, the NASAI, and the Tribal Leader Education Roundtable in Rapid City, SD (January 20, 2012) and participated in the 2012 NIEA Legislative Summit. He has worked in education as a gifted and talented resource consultant, mentor, classroom teacher, Advanced Placement instructor, school administrator, researcher, and middle school principal.

Mr. Haas serves as Project Director for the Visual-Spatial Identifier Project under the auspices of the Gifted Development Center in Denver, Colorado, coordinating the development and validation of the Visual-Spatial Identifier©. He is a frequent presenter at the CAG/T, NAGC, and the WCGTC on a wide range of topics including the learning characteristics of Native American children, teaching visual-spatial learners, creativity, perfectionism, and acceleration. He was a keynote speaker at the Wyoming Indian Education Conference.
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Jerry Lassos is a member of the Tongva tribe, Indigenous to Los Angeles. In a career that spans over 30 years he was a teacher, Gifted and Talented teacher, and GT Resource Consultant in Colorado's largest school district. He was an Indian Education tutor and a district diversity trainer. He was a recipient of Jefferson County Public Schools' Wayne Carle Diversity Award.

Most recently a GT Resource Consultant and an American Indian Resource Specialist in Denver Public Schools, he passionately advocated for Native American students and families. Jerry was a founding board member of the highly successful STRIVE Prep Charter Network which has spawned six middle schools, two high schools, and an elementary school opening in 2013.

His cultural sensitivity background includes participation in the Teaching Tolerance Institute sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Multicultural Education Center at the University of Washington where he worked with Dr. James Banks.

Jerry also received training from Dee Grayson's Generating Expectations for Student Achievement (GESA) as well as Gary Howard's Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage (REACH). Jerry has presented at National Indian Education Association conferences, including the Legislative Summit, College Board's Native American Student Advocacy Institute, and the Tribal Leader Education Roundtable in South Dakota. He was a keynote speaker at the Wyoming Indian Education Conference.

Passionate Advocates for VISUAL-SPATIAL LEARNERS

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Steven Haas, ISLA Associate, Director Visual-Spatial Learners Project; Chantell Young Chief, Former Superintendent Fremont #38 School District, Wyo; and Jerry Lassos, ISLA Associate
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Jerry Lassos, ISLA Associate, and William Mendoza, Executive Director White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education
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Steven Haas, ISLA Associate, Director Visual-Spatial Learners Project, greeting Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
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