gets funding for Indian learning center
CITY -- A grant from the Bush Foundation will fund a new learning
center for American Indian students at Central High School
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
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.
means "Natives working together toward a common cause,"
according to Art Zimiga, director of Title 9 and Indian Education
for the school district.
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.
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.
not acceptable," he said.
said the Lakolkiciyapi room will help students develop the
skills they need to be competitive with other students and
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.
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
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."
will be expected to support their child's participation in
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
with the regular curriculum, life and social skills will be
addressed to help provide these students with more tools to
succeed," Jones said.
he said, the new setting will help the students develop their
own sense of community within the high school.
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.
the project's focus group is Indian students, Zimiga said
the center will also be available to non-Indian students.
the second year of the grant, the district will receive $240,332
from the Bush Foundation.
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.
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.