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.

The Office of Indian Education will host two separate informational webinars next week on the new Native Youth Community Projects grant initiative. These webinars will discuss developing community partnerships and needs assessment and data analysis.

 NYCP: Developing Community Partnerships   REGISTER HERE

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. EDT  

 The goal of the webinar is to enable potential NYCP grant applicants to identify and select partners that compliment community effort to address priorities. The webinar will focus on the need for creating community partnerships that focus on identified areas (both content and geographic location). Participants will also develop an understanding of the steps to creating a successful partnership (roles of partners, and collaboration vs. cooperation) and how to finalize and sustain partnerships.

  NYCP: Needs Assessment and Data Analysis   REGISTER HERE

Thursday, May 21, 2015, from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. EDT

 The goal of this webinar is to assist potential grant applicants to identify, collect, and assess data related to their tribe’s educational needs. This includes identifying opportunities and barriers to reaching college-and-career ready youth, using data and the needs assessment to develop a project, determining feasibility to address top community needs and developing community partnership priority(s) that are addressed in the application.

To learn more about STEP visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/step/applicant.html
To learn more about NYCP visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oie/index.html

The Office of Indian Education is soliciting highly qualified individuals to assist in the review process for two discretionary grant competitions for 2015. This includes:

  • State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program—electronic review last two weeks of June, 2015
  • Native Youth Community Partnership (NYCP)—electronic review tentatively the last two weeks of July or early August, 2015

Both programs are administered under Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended. The discretionary grant review information will be posted here when the schedule is finalized. Please submit your resume to John Cheek, Discretionary Program Team Leader at John.Cheek@ed.gov. Please submit a resume by April 30, 2015, and include an email address.

With the STEP Grant being announced, this is a good time to review TEDNA and Education Northwest’s webinar on the STEP Program here.  We encourage any Tribal Education Agency or Department that is contemplating applying for the next round of STEP Grants to watch the webinar.  The PPT slides can be seen here. TEDNA’s overview of the STEP Grant can be seen here.

On April 16, 2015, the Department of Education published in the Federal Register a notice inviting applications for the 2015 State Tribal Education Partnerships (STEP) program. The new competition officially opens on Thursday, April 16, 2015 and closes on June 15, 2015. Notices of intent to apply must be received by May 21, 2015. The purposes of this program are to: (1) Promote increased collaboration between tribal education agencies (TEAs) and the State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) that serve students from the affected tribes; and (2) build the capacity of TEAs to conduct certain administrative functions under certain Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) formula grant programs for eligible schools, as determined by the TEA, SEA, and LEA. The STEP program was first funded in FY 2012 and since then has incorporated final regulations into the new application.

You can see the full notice, with all of the requirements, here.  An excerpt:

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: April 16, 2015.

Date of Pre-Application Webinar: April 30, 2015.

Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: May 21, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 15, 2015.

Deadline for Submission of Final Agreement: March 31, 2016.

Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV.

This report addresses the accomplishments and recommendations of the Office of Native Education (ONE), a department of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). These accomplishments include:

  • Refined the Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State web-based curriculum, and expanded professional development in utilization of the resource.
  • Strengthened partnership efforts with the OSPI Environment and Sustainability Office focusing on the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in science instruction.
  • As a result of Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill (E2 SHB) 1134 (authorizing OSPI to enter into State-Tribal Education Compacts to establish tribally controlled schools), negotiated and approved three Tribal Compact Schools: Muckleshoot Tribal School, Lummi Nation Schools, and Chief Kitsap Academy (Suquamish Tribe).
  • Continued ongoing efforts to extend partnerships with Tribes and tribal organizations.

Authorizing bill/law: RCW 28A.300.105

http://k12.wa.us/LegisGov/2015documents/NativeEducationJan2015.pdf