is located on the Gila River Indian Community south of Phoenix, Arizona.
It is a twenty-five minute drive from Chandler, Arizona and about fifteen
minutes from Sacaton.
is over 100 years old. The structures are made of adobe and form a rectangle,
enclosing a play-area plaza. The school
serves 180 students, kindergarten through eighth grade.
Barbara Jean is the librarian.
Peters site visits:
On my spring break vacation of March 2004 I was fortunate to visit the St. Peters Indian Mission School Library in Bapchule, AZ, on the Gila River Indian Community. During this visit I learned about the special and myriad roles of this school library and its librarian, Sister Barbara Jean. Sister Barbara Jean’s roles include the support of literacy, introduction of computer technologies, encouragement of learning in general, promotion of cultural traditions, fortification of health initiatives, and networking with individuals and organizations to garner and maintain support for the school. In addition, she was a most gracious hostess to my wife and I. Also, I am happy to report that the children, grades K-8, appeared to actually enjoy participating in the school’s curriculum and activities. I am not at all surprised there is a waiting list for enrollment to this little oasis south of Phoenix.
Chandler Public Library has been visiting St. Peters all year, this
was the first visit from the Texas people. We toured the campus and
heard about the nuns' ingenuity in getting donations from the community
- including an athletic field and a golf cart! Sister Barbara Jean,
the librarian, described how the library has grown and we talked about
future plans. I read My
Big Dog in almost every classroom in the school and we handed
out stickers and other incentives. Loriene told ghost stories at lunch
and I talked to the younger kids and spent some time with a wayward
puppy who had followed her 'master' to school. We also had the opportunity
to give an update on the program at the faculty meeting. It was great
to get input from all of the teachers. The first graders drew My
Big Dog pictures for us and I took some photos of the campus - all
to be posted here in the future.