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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 9, 2003 - Issue 93


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School News


gathered by Vicki Lockard


The information here will include items of interest for and about Native American schools.
If you have news to share, please let us know!
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Central gets funding for Indian learning center

RAPID CITY -- A grant from the Bush Foundation will fund a new learning center for American Indian students at Central High School this fall.

The Rapid City School District was notified in mid-July that it had been awarded $449,490 for programs aimed at reducing drop-out rates and increasing attendance and graduation rates at Central High School.

Spread over two years, the grant will provide $209,158 the first year to create the Lakolkiciyapi (pronounced la-coal-key-chee-ya-pea) room at Central.

Lakolkiciyapi means "Natives working together toward a common cause," according to Art Zimiga, director of Title 9 and Indian Education for the school district.

Zimiga said the center will be a place where Indian students and their teachers can develop new learning strategies to help the students succeed in high school.

Each year, between 200 and 300 Indian freshmen start high school in Rapid City, Zimiga said. Four years later, only 35 to 45 graduate from high school.

"That's not acceptable," he said.

Zimiga said the Lakolkiciyapi room will help students develop the skills they need to be competitive with other students and in society.

The 60 Central freshmen selected for the program will be identified by teachers and counselors as students whose academic achievements do not match their ability levels.

The students will be divided into two groups of 30. Each group will spend half a day in the Lakolkiciyapi room working on the same core curriculum used with other ninth-graders at Central. The rest of the school day will be spent in traditional classrooms.

"This room will not be a dumping ground for kids who are misbehaving in class," Central High School principal Pat Jones said. "It is an alternative approach to helping reduce the dropout rate for one of our at-risk populations, that being our Native American students."

Parents will be expected to support their child's participation in the program.

According to Jones, three teachers and a teaching assistant will staff the room. Each teacher will be certified in at least two of the four core subject areas of math, science, English and social studies.

"Along with the regular curriculum, life and social skills will be addressed to help provide these students with more tools to succeed," Jones said.

Also, he said, the new setting will help the students develop their own sense of community within the high school.

Through a community outreach program, the students will have an opportunity to learn what skills employers are looking for in employees and to explore career opportunities, Zimiga said.

Though the project's focus group is Indian students, Zimiga said the center will also be available to non-Indian students.

During the second year of the grant, the district will receive $240,332 from the Bush Foundation.

Zimiga said he hopes to match the grant with other funds to create "drop-in" learning centers throughout the community that would use the Lakolkiciyapi concept to attract dropouts back to school.

The Bush Foundation is a private grant-making organization established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth. The foundation funds nonprofit organizations in the areas of arts and culture, health and human services, education and ecological health in the region that includes Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.


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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

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