Oglala Sioux Tribe Endorses Teach For America

Tribal Council Passes Resolution in Support of Organization’s Efforts to Expand Educational Opportunity for Native Students in South Dakota

Source: Teach For America

PINE RIDGE, S.D., September 3, 2013—The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council passed a resolution announcing its formal support of Teach For America-South Dakota corps members and alumni in their efforts to advance Native student achievement in the state.

Teach For America recruits, trains, and develops recent graduates and professionals to teach in urban and rural public schools, including some that are tribally operated under grant or contract with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and some that are BIE-operated. During the 2012-13 school year, 510 Teach For America corps members taught in Nativecommunities in South Dakota, Hawaii, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council resolution states in part:

Oglala Sioux Tribal Council supports Teach For America corps members and alumni in their efforts to build a truly effective movement through building local partnerships with students, families, local educators and with other organizations to eliminate educational inequity thus bridging the opportunity gap.

The resolution cites rigorous research studies that demonstrate Teach For America corps members have a positive impact on student achievement. Additionally, it recognizes the organization’s effort to strengthen its culturally responsive teaching training to better fit the needs of Native students.

The resolution also encourages other tribal governments and school districts serving American Indian students to strengthen their partnership with Teach For America.

“We are proud to support Teach For America as an ally in the critical effort to help Native students realize their full potential through excellent educational opportunities,” said council representative Kevin Yellow Bird-Steel. “The students in Pine Ridge classrooms right now will be the future tribal, state, and national leaders.”

Teach For America−South Dakota has been partnering with schools on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations since 2004. This year, more than 40 new Teach For America teachers will be teaching in reservation schools on Pine Ridge, Rosebud and for the first time Standing Rock and Lower Brule.

“We want the work of our corps members to be directly aligned with the visions and goals of the tribes, communities and families with whom we partner,” said Jim Curran, Teach For America− South Dakota executive director. “It means a lot to have formal support from the Oglala Nation.”

In 2010, Teach For America launched its Native Alliance Initiative to provide an additional source of effective teachers in Native communities and advance student achievement in Native schools.

“Education in Native schools is about the community. Teach For America is incredibly grateful for this support from the Oglala Sioux Tribal Government,” said Robert Cook, managing director of the Native Alliance Initiative and enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “This partnership will allow our corps members and alumni to have a more meaningful impact with students.  It is a symbol of the alliance needed to help all students reach their full potential.”

About Oglala Sioux Tribe

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border. Today it consists of 3,468.86 sq mi (8,984.306 km2) of land area and is the eighth-largest reservation in the United States, larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals of all academic disciplines to commit two years to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. This fall, 11,000 corps members will teach in 48 urban and rural regions across the country, while 32,000 alumni will work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter.