OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Education has been awarded a nearly $4 million federal Native Youth Community Project grant that is aimed at improving college and career readiness for 1,400 American Indian high school students.
By the end of the calendar year, the Oklahoma Future Native Leaders grant will expand the Office of American Indian Education from one staffer to a team of six. This marks the first time since the 1990s that the office has had a staff larger than one.
The six-member team will be led by OSDE’s executive director of American Indian education, Julian Guerrero Jr.
“Citizens of Oklahoma’s 39 tribal nations are an invaluable part of our state’s cultural tapestry and make critical investments in our public school system,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “These funds will allow us to focus more of our efforts on shaping a comprehensive statewide strategy to increase college and career readiness for American Indian students through high school graduation.”
OSDE says the project will “engage Native youth in activities including concurrent and Advanced Placement coursework, college visits, rigorous STEM coursework, individual career academic planning (ICAP), scholarship/FAFSA applications, tutoring and mentoring programs, college application exercises, a summer Native student institute, career exploration, professional learning opportunities for teachers and an annual state Native Student Leadership Summit.”
School and tribal partners for the grant include Riverside Indian School, McAlester Public Schools, Anadarko Public Schools, Calvin Public Schools and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes.
“Our goal is to develop an American Indian education office that is a model for other states to follow,” Hofmeister said. “Thanks to robust, ongoing consultations between tribal nations and school districts in our state, and the funding provided by the Oklahoma Future Native Leaders grant, I am confident we will enhance educational outcomes for native students.”
Click here to learn more about the OSDE’s Office of American Indian Education.