Education Services to address student dropout rate

BY TESINA JACKSON
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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Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/27/2014 12:54 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation and Northeastern State University’s College of Liberal Arts are collaborating to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee Constitution. There will be a celebratory symposium at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 28 at NSU-Tahlequah’s University Center Ballroom. The Cherokee Nation Color Guard will kick off the event. Following, there will be panels discussing the history of the tribe’s 1839 Constitution. Keynote speaker, Dr. Miriam Jorgensen, will speak during lunch. Jorgensen is a lecturer for both University of Arizona and Harvard University’s Executive Education programs in Native American Leadership. She also works at George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University as an adjunct professor in Community Development with American Indian Communities. For more information, email Dr. Diane Hammons at <a href="mailto: hammonsa@nsuok.edu">hammonsa@nsuok.edu</a>.
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BY STAFF REPORTS TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Indian Youth Wrestling organization based in Tahlequah is selling T-shirts to raise money for club expenses such as new singlets and equipment. Cost per shirt is $15 plus $5 for shipping, with an additional option to donate more. The organization’s goal is to sell 50 shirts by Aug. 15. Customers should receive their shirts in the mail around Aug. 29. To place an order, go to the booster.com website and search for IYW or type in <a href="http://www.booster.com/iyw" target="_blank">www.booster.com/iyw</a> to be taken directly to the ordering page. Booster.com will ship anywhere around the world. The organization has set out to provide its children with a strong work ethic, resilience and a sense of responsibility for their own destiny as well as lasting inner-strength and confidence. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.facebook.com/IndianYouthWrestling/info" target="_blank">www.facebook.com/IndianYouthWrestling/info</a> or email Jillian Girty at <a href="mailto: jillian.girty@cn-bus.com">jillian.girty@cn-bus.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
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BY STAFF REPORTS
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BY STACIE GUTHRIE
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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On May 6, Cherokee students attending schools within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction competed in the tribe’s Small Business Assistance Center’s Entrepreneurship Day, which promoted young CN citizens in making plans and ideas for their own independent businesses. The event took place at Sequoyah High School’s gym, The Place Where They Play, and consisted of students from fifth to 12th grades. Fifth through eighth grades competed in one category as ninth through 12th competed against each in another. SBAC entrepreneur development Manager Stephen Highers said the event is geared to helping students get creative when trying to create businesses. “Basically, what they done is they have created an idea for a potential business that they would like to see,” Highers said. “They have set up a display board to show off their businesses. They’ve created a business plan, and they are presenting those business plans and those display boards to the judges, who are then going around and choosing the winner, choosing who they think is the best one.” SHS junior Sharon Stanley and sophomore Serena Schaffler won first place in the ninth through 12th grade category with their business idea, Eclectech. “Our business is Eclectech. Our motto is simplicity with efficient design. We’re a software company,” Stanley said. “Basically, technological people know that Windows is better than some of the others (operating systems) in their experience and from a lot of my experience Windows 98 is one of the best ones.” When Stanley and her partner Schaffler began their projects, nearly three weeks before the event, they decided they wanted to make something that anyone of any age could understand and use. “What we did was we modeled a software off of Windows 98 and Windows XP and we morphed it into our own design,” said Stanley. “It has the simplicity to where you can work with different types of documents that you need to. You have all of the advanced things that Apple and Android and Windows can bring to technology but they’re in a simplified format that way people of any age can understand them.” Cash Wright, a sixth grade student from Vian Middle School, took home the first place prize in the fifth through eighth grade category in Tahlequah with his business Cash’s Awards & More. His business makes awards for any occasion and can do so in wood or other materials. The second Entrepreneurship Day event took place on May 13 at Rogers State University in Claremore. This is the first year the event has expanded to include competition at a university. Hannah Hart, a seventh grade student from VMS, took home the first place prize in the fifth through eighth grade category with her business Double H Basketball. Her business allows her to work as a coach who helps students improve their basketball skills. Meredith Brown and Trevor Petors, 10th grade students from Bartlesville Middle School, took home the first place prize in the ninth through 12th grade category in Claremore with their business Sweet 16 for a Cure. It offers DJ services for “Sweet 16” parties with a fraction of their earnings going to cancer research. All of this year’s winners received cash prices to help start their business. First place winners from both categories at each event received $400. Second place winners received $300. Third place winners received $200. Fourth place winners received $100, and fifth place winners received $50. Also, at each event, a grand prize winner was selected from both categories and received $700. The grand prize winner at Tahlequah was Kaycee and Kylee Haning, seventh grade students from VMS, with their business Kaycee and Kylee’s Canine Service, which takes in stray animals and puts them up for adoption. They also work with a local veterinarian to get the animals vaccinated. The grand prize winner at Claremore was Alex Bailey, a seventh grade student from Locust Grove Middle School, with his business Kids Classifieds. His business works online to link youths to elders or others within the community who need help with home projects and are willing to pay the youth for services. In years past, winners received either televisions or laptop computers. Highers said the events’ main sponsor was the Nation’s Tribal Employment Rights Office, which gave $6,000. “They sponsored the prize money that went out to the students both in Tahlequah and in Claremore. Without the support of TERO, we would not have been able to offer the prize money to the students to help start and further develop their business ideas,” he said. Highers said he enjoys the Entrepreneurship Day events and believes it’s important to get Cherokee students involved in the process of creating their own businesses. “I think this is a hugely important program to the Cherokee Nation because it instills entrepreneurship at a early age,” he said. “I think that is important to the tribe especially as we move forward because it’s important to have entrepreneurs out here in northeast Oklahoma that are making a difference and starting their businesses and they are being the economic engine that is moving the Cherokee Nation forward.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/14/2014 08:32 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, 28 Cherokee students were awarded Gates Millennium Scholarships for the 2014-15 school year. High school seniors receiving the scholarships who are Cherokee Nation citizens are Grant Harrison, Sallisaw High School (Okla.); Zachary Sharp, Gans High School (Okla.); Emily Smith, Locust Grove High School (Okla.); Shaylee Rowland, Muskogee High School (Okla.); Brett Allen, Muskogee High School; Meagan Jackson, Pryor High School (Okla.); Chance Blount, Sallisaw High School; Randilyn Thompson, Sand Springs Charles Page High School (Okla.); Kaitlyn Sweatt, Sapulpa High School (Okla.); Cade Chlouber, Shawnee High School (Okla.); Kakiley Workman, Stilwell High School (Okla.); Rebecca Miller, Stilwell High School; Brandon Doyle, Stilwell High School; Colby Luper, Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah; Grant Neugin, Sequoyah High School; Collin Vann, Sequoyah High School; Jordan Wagnon, Sequoyah High School; Sarah Ferrell, Tahlequah High School; Colby Brittain, Tahlequah High School; Montana Hefner, Tahlequah High School; Joshua Holcomb, Tahlequah High School; Kelsi Morrell, Tulsa Lighthouse Christian Academy (Okla.); Hartley Russell, Tulsa Thomas Edison Preparatory High School (Okla.); Ryan Pendleton, Tulsa Thomas Edison Preparatory; Christopher Compton, Oklahoma City Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics; Jordan Connell, Irrigon High School (Ore.); and Joel Martin, Toldeo High School (Wash.). One student claiming Cherokee ancestry but not registered as a CN citizen who received the Gates award is Chase Hall of Rogers High School (Ark.). The scholarship program is funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that was established in 1999, according to a release from GMSP. It provides “outstanding low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete and undergraduate college education in any discipline they choose.” “Continuing Gates Scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, the opportunity to reach their full potential,” states a release from the GMSP. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.gmsp.org" target="_blank">www.gmsp.org</a>.