Rapid City Area Schools Establishes Indigenous Education Task Force
Rapid City Area Schools formed an Indigenous Education Task Force to improve the educational experience, learning environment and outcomes for Indigenous students.
Native American students in Rapid City tend to perform among the lowest of student subgroups on state assessments and also have discipline rates and suspensions disproportionately higher then other student subgroups. Drop out rates are also higher among Native American Students.
Valeriah Big Eagle is the President of the Title VI (SIX) Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee. She says cultural based education can empower Native American students.
“When I see students in K through 12, especially here in Rapid City, it just breaks my heart because I feel like as a Native person myself, those are my children. That's my child. And they're not receiving the same equitable opportunities as their peers. We know that because they need that Lakota language and culture around them. We need Native people, Native representation among personnel in administrative roles, in principal roles, because we can create that sense of welcoming and that sense of empowerment for students. Because if they see someone like them we know that's going to help address that achievement gap.”
The task force will convene sometime next fall and present their recommendations to RCAS Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon. Currently, RCAS is collaboratively developing a Lakota Language and Culture Immersion pilot to begin next fall.