Education Services to address student dropout rate

BY TESINA JACKSON
Former Reporter
12/22/2011 08:25 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation lost more than $500,000 in scholarship money after losing 318 CN scholarship recipients during the 2010-11 academic school year, the period for which the latest figures are available.

“We lost about 318 students between fall (20)10 and the end of spring (20)11,” Education Services Group Leader Dr. Neil Morton said. “Those students would average, because some are graduate students or part-time, they would average about $1,600 a piece. So we take 318 times $1,600 and that would be the actual loss. And we call it a loss because it is a loss to us unless the students transfer out of state or unless they drop out for a while and then come back and finish up their degree.”

In fall 2010, the tribe supplied scholarships to 2,732 students ranging from undergraduate freshman level to graduate school level. CN officials said the largest number of dropouts is at the freshman level, losing 185 freshmen during the 2010-11 year.

“Students have a difficult time managing their time when they enter college, and for most of them it’s their first time away from home, and it’s just a big step for that freshman student,” Morton said.

Education records show that 89 sophomores and 44 juniors who received CN scholarships dropped out during the 2010-11 academic year. Once the students become seniors, the dropout numbers are slim, Morton said.

Some CN scholarship funds come from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but most of it comes from tribal funds, Morton said. Once the student drops out, CN doesn’t get that money back.
“If the student drops out before the legal dropout period of the university, then we get the balance of funds returned,” Morton said. “Usually the student drops out after the second nine weeks, after the refund policy has already elapsed by the university.”
After conducting a phone survey of some of the scholarship recipients, Education Services found that the biggest reason for students dropping out was bad grades.
“The other reason that ranked high enough that it’s a concern of ours, they just didn’t turn in their papers for second semester, didn’t turn in their community service hours or forgot to send a transcript in and therefore did not receive funding,” Morton said.

Other reasons included students obtaining full-time employment and family illnesses and issues.

To address these issues and keep students in school, Education Services officials plan to assign a contact person to each scholarship recipient and will be visiting several universities throughout the spring 2012 semester.

“That will be a new service that we’re providing so that students who are scholarship students or students who are just interested in scholarships…there will be a person who they can talk to on a one-to-one basis,” Morton said. “And we are asking the universities that comprise the largest number of our enrollment in Oklahoma, their counseling centers to see if they can legally provide us documentation on the students’ progress. We would like to be a part of their intervention strategy.”

Morton anticipates that with the efforts that have been initiated the dropout rate will be significantly less.

“We think this needs to be a total effort on part of the Cherokee Nation and individual employees that know students that are in college to encourage them to stay because that first year is a social adjustment as well as an academic adjustment,” Morton said.

tesina-jackson@cherokee.org • 918-453-5000, ext. 6139

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BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/23/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses signed a memorandum of understanding on Jan. 10 to begin a Cherokee language pilot project called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program. The program aims to have select Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants teach the language to Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates as they enter Sequoyah High School. “We hope to make an opportunity for them to polish up their language skills and at the same time pass on the teaching techniques that we’ve developed in the adult master-apprentice program for the high school so they can be teachers one day or at least teach their family and friends,” Ryan Mackey, CLMAP curriculum supervisor, said. The MOU states the “Cherokee Nation and CNB share a common interest in promoting and encouraging the continuous use of the Cherokee language. This requires trained and educated individuals who are prepared to further the proper use of the Cherokee language through instruction of others.” The program is geared toward immersion school graduates attending SHS to continue learning the language in an after-school program and a 10-week summer intensive learning program. CLMAP graduates will be selected and employed as instructors in the pilot project. CNB is funding the program with $180,000 going toward salaries, materials and tools necessary to aid CLMAP instructors in conducting their teachings. Included in the funding is classroom space, meals for participating students, travel for natural language environment field trips, staff training, administrative costs and indirect costs where applicable. “It’s a great day in the Cherokee Nation that we get the opportunity to take our language program to another level,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. CLMAP first-year participant and CN citizen Jeromy Miller said he is participating in CLMAP to help his children, who attend the immersion school, continue learning Cherokee at home and bridge the language gap. “I didn’t have the language myself. I wasn’t able to teach my kids growing up how to speak in their tribal language, their own Cherokee language,” Miller said. “Now that I am learning the language I can bring that home as well, and I can complete the circle in my house of communicating in our tribal tongue.” The CLMAP began in 2015 to create Cherokee speakers and teachers from adult second-language learners. The program promotes the revitalization of the Cherokee language with participants spending 40 hours a week immersed in the language to become proficient speakers. The program recently received new office and classroom space on the second floor of the Cort Mall above the Kawi Café in Tahlequah. The space is needed for the program’s expansion. “It gives us enough space to have breakout classrooms as well as a main classroom. It also provides office space for our staff members, and that’s not something that we’ve had. We started as a very small program and so we needed a small space. But at this point we’ve expanded and we’ve been very successful and we want to make sure that people are accommodated,” Mackey said. For more information about the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program, call 918-207-4950.
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/22/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – David Grann, New Yorker writer and bestselling author of “The Lost City of Z” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” has been named as the guest speaker for the 2018 Larry Adair Lectureship at Northeastern State University. Grann will offer personal insight on his book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and Birth of the FBI,” at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the Center for the Performing Arts. “Killers of the Flower Moon” has spent more than 20 weeks on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, was the finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction and was ranked No. 1 on both Shelf Awareness and Amazon’s Best Books of the Year in any category. The “Killers of the Flower Moon” is set in the 1920s when the Osage Indians became the wealthiest people in the world after the discovery of oil beneath their lands in Oklahoma. The Osage people were murdered in one of the most sinister crimes in American history that became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations. The FBI team, which included one of the only Native Americans in the bureau, eventually caught one of the masterminds, but as Grann documents, there was a deeper and darker conspiracy that the bureau never exposed. Following a bidding war for the film rights to “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a screenplay is now in development by Oscar winner Eric Roth, with Martin Scorsese as director and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Peggy Glenn, director of development and executive director of the NSU Foundation, said after she read the book last summer she shared it with NSU President Steve Turner and Adair, and they both agreed that Grann should be the 2018 lecturer. “We are honored that David Grann is returning to Oklahoma to talk about this state’s early days, how Osage citizens were preyed upon and even murdered because of the natural resources they owned, and how the resulting investigation gave rise to a new Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Friends and family of the former Oklahoma Speaker of the House, Adair, and the NSU Foundation established the lectureship series in 2004 to create an annual forum to engage students in politics, government and public policy. A book signing will follow the lecture in the Center for Performing Arts lobby. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 918-444-4200 or visit <a href="http://www.nsualumni.com" target="_blank">nsualumni.com</a>.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
01/22/2018 12:00 PM
NEW YORK CITY – Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is in her second year at Columbia University, where she said she’s adjusting well to college life and New York City. The 2016 Tahlequah High School graduate chose Columbia after attending its “Engineering Days.” To pay for her higher learning, she received an annual scholarship of $73,000 for four years from the university and earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Receiving the two scholarships not only pay for schooling and books, it also covers living expenses. However, Reed still maintains a part-time job. The transition to a big city and an Ivy League school was “surprisingly” smooth for Reed. She said she was part of an academic success program that introduced students to the campus and classes before their first semester began, which made adjustment easier. “I was homesick at first. You miss trees more than you think you would and just little things that you wouldn’t think would be different,” Reed said. “I was part of a five-week program before classes even got started where there was fewer people, and they really took the time to introduce you to the campus and had crash course over the courses you were going to take before you took them for a grade. So it was a bit easier adjustment than it could have been if I didn’t have that.” Now a sophomore, Reed has declared her major in operational research with hopes of working for a large corporation to understand finance and how businesses work. “I would like to ultimately work for a nonprofit and maybe teach them how to get small businesses running or maybe teach finance classes to local communities,” she said. She also enjoys participating in activities such as the Native American Council, Engineering Without Boarders Club, Society of Women Engineers Club, a sorority and dance team. Being active and networking at Columbia also offered Reed the opportunity to travel this past summer to Morocco in North Africa to teach SAT prep to high school students looking to attend college in the United States. “I got to go to Morocco to work for someone I met through Columbia. So I got to help them with their essays and help them study for the SAT and prepare them for what it’s like, taking any of their questions they had like what college is like in the United States and any misconceptions and really connect with them, which was really exciting,” she said. She said she never expected to have so many opportunities, but she realized networking is important for opportunities. Reed said attending an Ivy League school was intimidating initially, but now it’s home. “I had this preconceived idea that Ivy League schools were terrible and you can’t ever sleep or work, but that wasn’t accurate,” she said. “A lot of people say you’re just a number when you go to a school that big, but I wouldn’t say that’s true at Columbia. I have professors that really care, like if you miss class, they’ll email you and make sure your doing OK. You can still find your place and not be just a passing face. It’s still possible to feel at home.” She said even though being at home and around friends is comfortable, she’s happy she’s attending college outside Oklahoma. “Honestly, it’s been so rewarding, and I have learned a lot about myself, and I appreciate my roots a lot more now that I was able to experience being away from home and being around other people.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/18/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Beginning this fall, Northeastern State University will increase the number of President’s Leadership Class scholarships awarded to incoming freshmen each year. According to NSU officials, the President's Leadership Class is a unique leadership and scholarship program designed to cultivate the outstanding potential of proven student leaders. Previously offered to about 15 incoming students each fall, the President’s Leadership Class scholarship will be awarded to 20 incoming freshmen in the fall 2018 semester and will increase to 25 over the next two years. The expansion will allow for a more comprehensive scholarship experience for student leaders, officials said. In the fall 2018 semester, incoming members of the President’s Leadership Class will receive more than $5,000 per semester for four years for housing, tuition and foundation support. “The President's Leadership Class is among the very best student aid programs in the state in terms of length (four years) and total value,” NSU President Steve Turner said. “By increasing the number of leadership scholarships over the next two years, we are demonstrating our commitment to meet our state's need for highly skilled college graduates.”? Applicants for the President’s Leadership Class should display outstanding leadership capabilities and must have an exceptionally strong academic record. High school seniors are required to have an ACT composite score of 20 or higher for consideration. Applications are available online at <a href="http://www.scholarships.nsuok.edu" target="_blank">scholarships.nsuok.edu</a>.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
12/15/2017 08:15 AM
NORMAN, Okla. – The application process for the Native American Journalists Association’s student-training program is open through Jan. 31. The Native American Journalism Fellowship is a student-training program committed to creating the next generation of storytellers through hands-on training in a weeklong immersion experience with professional journalists. “The Native American Journalism Fellowship is NAJA’s flagship program for Native media students. It has evolved over more than 25 years into a hands-on experience and has launched the careers of many successful NAJA members through mentorship, training and professional connections,” Rebecca Landsberry, NAJA executive director, said. College and graduate students will be able to broaden their reporting and multimedia skills by receiving multimedia training, a professional NAJA mentor, skills for job-readiness, connections to media jobs and internships though NAJA’s national network and upper-level college credit hours. Selected students will attend the 2018 National Native Media Conference set for July 16-22 in Miami, Florida, where they will attend regular meetings with a mentor and participate in all planned webinar trainings. Throughout the remainder of the fellowship, students are required to participate in online check-ins and trainings throughout the year, write and edit reporting assignments for inclusion on the NAJA Native Voice website and seek media-focused internships. “All fellows attend our national conference with all expenses paid, covering the event and local community as working journalists. In addition, they get on-site newsroom experience working with some of the best Indigenous media professionals from across the U.S., including other fellows. It’s an immersive experience, and they really get a chance to dig into the nuances of covering Indian Country, ask questions in a safe space and emerge from the experience as better reporters,” Landsberry said. Mentors can also apply to help oversee the fellows in their training. Mentor requirements include being a current NAJA member in good standing; journalism experience in print, broadcast or digital media; and are encouraged to bring any professional equipment to the newsroom experience such as cameras, video equipment, recording gear, etc. Visit <a href="http://www.naja.com" target="_blank">www.naja.com</a> to apply for the student fellowship or mentorship and to renew or become a new NAJA member. Annual memberships dues are $20 for college students and $55 for individual professional members. For more information, email NAJA Education Committee Chairwoman Victoria LaPoe at <a href="mailto: vlapoe@naja.com">vlapoe@naja.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
12/13/2017 03:15 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Northeastern State University American Indian Heritage Committee is accepting proposals for individuals interested in presenting at the 46th annual Symposium on the American Indian. Priority consideration will be given to proposals received by Dec. 15. The symposium will be April 16-21 on NSU’s Tahlequah campus. The theme, “Walking with our Ancestors: Preserving Culture and Honoring Tradition,” will provide a space for the Indigenous community to examine American Indian history and reflect on how the collective past influences who American Indians are as Indigenous peoples today. According to a NSU press release, American Indian people are often left out of conversations about minority groups, and many people believe they are only a part of the past not the present nor the future. “On the contrary, American Indians are still here preserving their culture and honoring their traditions by incorporating this knowledge into their present day professional careers,” the release states. “While Indigenous communities may look different, they still managed to maintain their identity and hold fast to their language, sovereignty, and Indigenous ways of living.” Proposals should focus on one of the following: cultural preservation, Indigenous knowledge (multi-disciplinary), history (from an Indigenous perspective), intergenerational/historical trauma (impact, healing, etc.), tribal sovereignty and/or language revitalization. The committee will conduct a blind review of each proposal. The best proposals will articulate a clear objective and purpose as well as importance of the point of view to be expressed. Proposals need to show evidence of scholarly care, clear and effective argument and/or a basis in research. Proposals can be sent to <a href="https://offices.nsuok.edu/centerfortribalstudies/NSUSymposium.aspx" target="_blank">https://offices.nsuok.edu/centerfortribalstudies/NSUSymposium.aspx</a>. The Symposium on the American Indian is a community event. There is no registration fee and events are open to the public. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cts.nsuok.edu" target="_blank">cts.nsuok.edu</a> and follow the link to the NSU Symposium or email <a href="mailto: tribalstudies@nsuok.edu">tribalstudies@nsuok.edu</a> or call 918-444-4350.