WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eight federally recognized tribes will collectively receive nearly $2.5 million in grant awards from the U.S. Departments of Education and Interior to bolster their educational programs and advance self-determination goals through the development of academically rigorous and culturally relevant programs.

William Mendoza, director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, and Dr. Charles “Monty” Roessel, director of the  Bureau of Indian Education announced the awards today, during the seventh annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. The grants are funded through the Department of Education’s State-Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education’s Tribal Education Department (TED) program.

“Through these partnerships, we will be putting tribes in the driver’s seat by designing culturally responsive programs to help Native children reach their education potential,” Mendoza said. “These efforts will help reduce the achievement gap and make our Indian students more college and career-ready.” “These competitive grants will help strengthen tribal education departments as they set high academic standards and incorporate tribal culture, language and history into their curriculum,” said Roessel. “This program reflects our commitment to tribal self-determination. It expands tribes’ roles in developing educational goals for their communities and ensuring they have the resources to operate these systems designed for their students.”

The goal of the STEP program is to build the capacity of tribal education agencies to assume state and local administrative functions based on policies formed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The TED grant program was created to improve the quality of education in BIE-funded schools under the auspices of a Blueprint for Reform, a guide put forth by President Obama and developed in the White House Council on Native American Affairs. The report was developed based on contributions from tribal governments and key federal and tribal officials.

The STEP program provides $1,766,232 to five Native American communities in Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma to assist tribal schools in partnering with states and local school districts to develop culturally sensitive teaching strategies, curriculum materials and data-sharing that can improve attendance, raise graduation rates and reduce dropouts among Native youth. STEP’s pilot program, featuring tribal-state-local educational partnerships was conducted from 2012 to 2015, and today’s announcement marks the first new round of funding for the STEP program. The grants provide funding from 2015 to 2019. For more information about the STEP program, visit www2.ed.gov/programs/step/index.html.

The TED program provides $700,000 in grants to support the efforts of four tribal nations by strengthen their education departments, restructure their school governance, assume control over their BIE-funded schools, and develop curriculum for their students’ unique academic and cultural needs. With today’s announcement, 10 tribal governments have received a total of $2 million in TED grants this year. This is the second round of TED program grants the Interior Department has awarded this year. The first round of awards in August 2015 provided a total of $1,350,000 to six tribes: the Acoma Pueblo, Santa Clara Pueblo, Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. For more information on TED grants, please visit http://bie.edu/Programs/TribalEduDeptGrantProgram/index.htm.

The following tribes will receive STEP funding. (One tribe, the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma, was awarded the STEP and TED grants):

  • The Chickasaw Nation, Okla. ($500,000)
  • Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho ($330,000)
  • Coeur D’Alene Tribe, Idaho ($330,000)
  • The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla. ($318,463)
  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Mont. ($287,769)

The following tribes will receive TED funding:

  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Mich. ($300,000)
  • Leech Lake Band, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minn. ($200,000)
  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Miss. ($150,000)
  • The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla. ($50,000)

As part of the Interior Department, the BIE oversees 183 elementary and secondary schools located on 64 reservations in 23 states, serving more than 48,000 students. Of these, 54 are BIE-operated and 129 are tribally operated.

In conjunction with President Obama’s Generation Indigenous or “Gen-I” initiative, the Interior Department is leading an effort to provide students attending BIE-funded schools with a world-class education and transform the agency to serve as a capacity-builder and service-provider for tribes in educating their youth.

Under the new Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) program, the Department is making grants to a dozen recipients in nine states that will impact more than thirty tribes and involve more than 48 schools. These awards are a demonstration of President Obama’s strong commitment to improving the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native children and a key element of his Generation Indigenous “Gen I” Initiative to help Native American youth.

TEDNA was one of the grantees.

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Joyce Silverthorne, Director of Office of Indian Education, Gloria Sly, TEDNA President, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education , Quinton RomanNose, TEDNA

TOPIC: SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT LISTENING SESSIONS FINAL REPORT
U.S. Department of Education


On October 15, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE) released a school environment report called the School Environment Listening Sessions Final Report. The report was released and announced by William Mendoza, Executive Director of WHIAIANE at the National Indian Education Association’s Convention in Portland, Oregon.

As part of the school environment listening sessions WHIAIANE heard from Native youth, schools and communities on ways to better meet the unique educational and culturally-related academic needs of Native American students.

Throughout the sessions, WHIAIANE collected information about the challenges related to school environment including bullying, student discipline, potentially harmful Native American imagery and symbolism, and the implications of all of these school environment issues.

The School Environment Listening Sessions Final Report is a summary of the findings from the October and November 2014 listening sessions. It identifies common issues and suggests recommendations to address the concerns shared by teachers, parents, community members, and students.

Please join us for a brief conference call about the contents of this report. The Department of Education press release is available on the ed.gov website. The School Environment Listening Sessions Final Report on the WHIAIANE website under the Native Youth Environment Initiative tab.

October 29, 2015
1:00pm – 2:00pm EST
Number: 1-888-946-3504
Participant Passcode: 6958855

For more information, click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – William Mendoza, Director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education at the U.S. Department of Education, and Dr. Charles M. “Monty” Roessel, Director of the Bureau of Indian Education, today announced that the Pine Ridge School in South Dakota has received $218,000 at their request under the U.S. Department of Education’s Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant program to aid in recovery from student suicides and suicide attempts.

The Pine Ridge School, which serves the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, requested assistance after experiencing a significant increase in the number of counseling referrals, suicide ideations, and suicide attempts between August 2014 and April 2015.Two of the students who committed suicide were high school students and two were middle-school age.

“We are heartbroken about the tragic loss of life and are committed to working with the Pine Ridge community as it heals. These funds will help Pine Ridge School’s continued efforts to restore the learning environment in the face of these great tragedies.” said Mendoza. “This Administration is committed to supporting tribes in their work to meet the needs of their students. We all must do more to address the challenges across Indian Country.”

“Children and youth need help in seeing that their lives have meaning and that they, too, have the power to create promising futures for themselves. No tribe can long endure the loss of its lifeblood, its children and youth, to suicide,” said Roessel. “Thanks to the Department of Education and the SERV Program, the Pine Ridge School will be able to begin to help its students and their families onto healthier life paths that lead to more positive outcomes.”

In line with the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (“Gen-I”) initiative to improve the lives of Native youth by removing the barriers for their progress and academic success, the SERV grant will support a culturally appropriate approach to the recovery of Native youth at Pine Ridge School. The grant will enable the Pine Ridge School to hire additional counselors and social workers to help students during the summer school session and the next school year. It also will support implementation of a multi-faceted and holistic approach to healing that is based on Lakota traditional culture and relevant to Pine Ridge School students, who have dealt with the sudden loss of classmates to suicide or know those who have attempted suicide.

To view the entire press release, click here.

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the availability of an estimated $3 million in grants to help Native American youth become college- and career-ready. Funding for the new Native Youth Community Projects is a key step toward implementing President Obama’s commitment to improving the lives of American Indian and Alaskan Native children. The new grants will support the President’s Generation Indigenous “Gen I” Initiative launched last year to help Native American youth.

“We know that tribes are in the best position to determine the needs and barriers that Native youth face,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The Native Youth Community Projects will allow tribal communities to come together to improve outcomes for students.”

In a Federal Register notice, the Department said it would award five to seven demonstration grants ranging from $400,000 to $600,000 to tribal communities before Sept. 30. The new program is based on significant consultation with tribal communities and recognizes that these communities are best-positioned to:

  • Identify key barriers to improving educational and life outcomes for Native youth, and
  • Develop and implement locally produced strategies designed to address those barriers.

Each grant will support a coordinated, focused approach chosen by a community partnership that includes a tribe, local schools and other optional service providers or organizations. For example, the program allows tribes to identify ways to achieve college and career readiness specific to their own communities – whether it’s early learning, language immersion or mental health services. Communities can tailor actions to address one or more of those issues. The success of these first projects will guide the work of future practices that improve the educational opportunities and achievement of preschool, elementary and secondary Indian students.

The President’s FY 2016 budget proposal calls for increased investments across Indian Country, including a total request of $20.8 billion for a range of federal programs that serve tribes – a $1.5 billion increase over the 2015-enacted level. The budget proposal includes $53 million for fiscal year 2016 – a $50 million increase from this year – to significantly expand the Native Youth Community Projects program.

For more on the Administration’s investment in Native American issues, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/nativeamericans.

Tribal Consultation Sessions
Save-the-Date for the following:

April 13, 2015 Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, ND
April 22, 2015 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
April 26, 2015 Tribal Self-Governance Conference, Reno, NV
June 28, 2015 NCAI Mid-Year Meeting, St. Paul, MN

Registration and more information, please go to: www.edtribalconsultations.org

Preliminary topics for Consultation include:

  • ED’s efforts to implement the President’s Generation Indigenous Initiative;
  • Civil Rights in Tribally Controlled Schools
  • Native Student Environment Initiative update
  • ED’s revised tribal consultation policy
  • Native Language Memorandum of Agreement update