Budget increased for higher education scholarships

BY TESINA JACKSON
Reporter
08/23/2013 08:59 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tribal Councilors on Aug. 12 approved a budget modification that added slightly more than $1 million to the Cherokee Nation’s fiscal year 2013 budget for higher education scholarships.

Education Services senior advisor Dr. Neil Morton said the additional $1,034,000 would fund an extra 500 scholarships, mostly for college freshmen who are given scholarships last because upperclassmen are funded first.

“I am very excited to be able to award scholarships to students that submitted a complete application,” Mandy Scott, CN College Resource Center director, said. “The scholarship advisors worked hard to make sure all students turned in all required documents. It is a good feeling knowing that the Cherokee Nation cares about helping students continue their education.”

Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr. said he liked the fact that so many students qualify for the scholarships.

“I appreciate the problem that you’re having because you got more students, you need more money. That’s a good problem to have,” he said.

When Hoskin asked why Education Services wasn’t funding the freshman first, Morton said budget restrictions and procedures of funding upperclassmen before freshmen were the reasons.

Morton said Education Services funded approximately 250 new students for the spring semester, which is 200 more than the department normally funds.

The approved budget modification was expected to take effect immediately so that Education Services could fund those additional scholarships this academic year. All freshmen who have a completed application on file and are eligible would be funded, Morton said.

“This year we wound up with needing to fund 850 new (CN scholarship) students,” he said. “Actually 835 are new and 15 are continuing.”

The students who received scholarships during FY 2012 attended colleges or universities in 31 states and Washington, D.C. And 80 percent of those students attended 35 colleges or universities in Oklahoma, Morton said.

The number of freshmen scholarship recipients for FY 2012 represents about 22 percent of the number of high school seniors who are Cherokee and residing in the CN jurisdictional area. Several students go into vocational, technical education before entering college.

There are currently 190 graduate students who receive scholarships.

The five universities that have the largest number of students receiving CN scholarships are Northeastern State University with 631 students, Oklahoma State University with 328 students, Rogers State University with 192 students, University of Oklahoma with 189 students and the University of Arkansas with 135 students.

Tribal Councilor Cara Cowan Watts asked if Education Services would be keeping track of how many freshmen drop out of college or continue on with their education.

“With our new computer system, we can finally get an accurate dropout rate and also what they do after they graduate,” Morton said.

During the 2010-11 academic school year, the CN lost more than $500,000 in scholarship money after losing 318 CN scholarship recipients.

Morton said although Education Services is trying to get its hands on the number of dropout students, the dropout rate has declined. Now, when students apply for scholarships, they are assigned a CRC counselor who helps monitor the students.

“There was a time we were losing students, the greatest number of students at the end of the first year,” Morton said. “If we keep them during the first semester, chances are we’re going to keep the majority of them, vast majority of them.”

For more information, call 918-453-5000 or toll free at 1-800-256-0671 or email collegeresources@cherokee.org. To view and apply for scholarships or create a profile, visit https://cherokeenation.academicworks.com/.

tesina-jackson@cherokee.org


918-453-5000, ext. 6139

Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
03/23/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Students will take to stages May 5, 6 and 8 as Northeastern State University holds spring 2017 commencement ceremonies in the NSU Event Center and the Oral Roberts University Mabee Center. The NSU Event Center will be the location for the Tahlequah ceremonies. The College of Education ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on May 5. The Gregg Wadley College of Science & Health Professions ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on May 6, and the College of Business & Technology and College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on May 6. Sen. James Lankford is scheduled to speak at the Saturday ceremonies. The NSU-Broken Arrow commencement ceremony for all colleges will be held at 7 p.m. on May 8 at the ORU Mabee Center. NSU will live stream the Tahlequah commencement ceremonies for relatives and friends who are unable to attend. Commencement videos will also be available after the ceremonies. For more information, live stream connections and commencement videos, visit <a href="http://www.nsuok.edu/commencement" target="_blank">www.nsuok.edu/commencement</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/20/2017 04:00 PM
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma College of Law on March 24 will host the American Indian Law Review’s annual “Indigenous Peoples, Law, and Power Symposium.” This year’s theme is “Oil and Water.” The symposium is co-sponsored in partnership with the OU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Native American Studies Department. The event will begin at 10 a.m. in the Dick Bell Courtroom in Andrew M. Coats Hall. Experts of Native American environmental issues will sit on two panels and give two keynote addresses. The speakers and their topics include: Morning Panel: “The Chickasaw-Choctaw Compact in Context,” Sara Hill, senior assistant attorney general of the Cherokee Nation, and Taiawagi Helton, professor of law, University of Oklahoma College of Law. Morning Keynote: “Water Sovereignty and Stewardship: The Historic Chickasaw-Choctaw Water Settlement,” Stephen Greetham, chief general counsel and special counsel on water and natural resources, Chickasaw Nation and Michael Burrage, managing partner, Whitten Burrage Law Firm; Afternoon Panel: “Justice and Juxtaposition: Environmental Justice and Protest in Parallel,” Taiawagi Helton, professor of law, University of Oklahoma College of Law; and Afternoon Keynote: “The Impact of Fracking on Indian Nations: A Case Study,” Walter Echo-Hawk, of counsel, Crowe & Dunlevy. “This year’s “Indigenous Peoples, Law, and Power Symposium” builds upon several dedicated events we have held this year, all of which have focused on the intersection of Native American rights and environmental law,” said OU College of Law Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. “We are honored to host these discussions on such important issues and we’re pleased to have the partnership of OU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Native American Studies Department as we do so.” In December 2015, the OU Board of Regents unanimously voted to elevate Native American Studies from a program to department status at the request of OU President David L. Boren. Since 1994, OU’s Native American Studies focus has attracted and served students of diverse backgrounds who are committed to using distinctly Native American perspectives to place the sovereignty of Native nations and the cultures of Native peoples at the center of academic study. In addition to a graduate certificate in American Indian Social Work, the Department offers bachelor’s, master’s, and joint master’s and juris doctorate degrees. “This is our sixth year to co-host this special event,” said Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham (Chickasaw), chair of the Native American Studies Department and director of the newly established Native Nations Center. “Our partnership grows out of our joint M.A./J.D. program, which makes all of our students uniquely competitive. This year’s symposium topic is of critical importance to Native nations and communities. The subject matter is dear to our hearts as it impacts our lands as well as our political and cultural identities.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/13/2017 12:30 PM
WASHINGTON – The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will host a Teacher Training Institute at the museum in Washington, D.C., this summer as a part of its national education initiative, Native Knowledge 360. The weeklong teacher training experience will provide foundational information about American Indians and support effective use of a new online interactive lesson “American Indian Removal: What Does It Mean To Remove a People?” The sessions will focus on the impact of removal on Native Nations before, during and after the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830 under Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Applications are open for middle and high school educators, including classroom teachers, librarians, curriculum or content coordinators and school administrators in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee – the region most affected by removal. Applications will be accepted through April 14. Native Knowledge 360 inspires and promotes the improvement of teaching and learning about American Indians. The summer institute is a pilot project funded through a Smithsonian Institution Youth Access Grant. The Teacher Training Institute will take place July 10-14. Each selected educator will receive an honorarium. Participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation and housing. Summer institute participants will take part in scholarly lectures and discussions, tour the museum’s collections and work with staff, Native scholars and education experts throughout the week. For more information, <a href="http://nmai.si.edu/explore/education/summer-educator-institute/" target="_blank">http://nmai.si.edu/explore/education/summer-educator-institute/</a>.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
03/13/2017 09:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the Cherokee Nation’s Education Services will start collaborating with schools inside the tribe’s jurisdiction that have high Native American enrollments on projected expenditures of Every Student Succeeds Act funds. Derived from a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant, school districts receive ESSA funds based on their respective numbers of enrolled Native American students. Ron Etheridge, Education Services deputy executive director, said the dollar amount received per student equates to about $182 per student. The Obama administration signed the act into law in 2015 as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The law mandates that “schools collaborate with the tribes” and that schools and tribes “sign off that they agree with the projected expenditures,” Etheridge said. He said the act encompasses “every tribe in the state of Oklahoma and all school districts that receive Title VI money.” Etheridge said the tribes would have “local control” of funds as long as the schools spend the federally allocated funds for what they are to be used. “Concerning how that title money is used in the respective districts, it’s used for schools supplies. It’s used k-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade),” he said. “When they (Native students) get older and they require a lot more things it goes in toward technology…you can use it for college and career to get everyone prepped toward the future and life and what they’re going to do. You can guide them there.” For example, Etheridge said Tulsa school districts are using grant monies on teachers and counselors, known as resource advisors, to visit schools and meet with students for needs such as attendance and grade issues. According to documents, Education Services is focusing on 17 schools in three counties within the CN jurisdiction that have enrollments of at least 50 percent Cherokee students. In Adair County, the tribe will collaborate with Cave Springs, Dahlonegah, Greasy, Maryetta, Peavine, Rocky Mountain, Stilwell, Watts, Westville and Zion public schools. In Cherokee County, the tribe will work with Briggs, CN Head Start, Cherokee Immersion Charter, Sequoyah High, Grand View, Hulbert, Keys, Lowrey, Norwood, Peggs, Shady Grove, Tahlequah and Tenkiller schools. In Delaware County, the tribe will collaborate with Kenwood and Leach public schools. Etheridge said the CN and other Oklahoma tribes involved are determined to finalize plans for ESSA funding by the new school year in August.
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/03/2017 04:00 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – An agreement between the Cherokee Nation and city of Claremore worth nearly $20,000 is helping Justus-Tiawah Schools in Rogers County abandon old sewage lagoons in favor of modernizing infrastructure. CN officials recently provided the Claremore Public Works Authority with $14,750 to help the city extend sewer lines to Justus-Tiawah Schools, which uses a lagoon for the treatment and disposal of sewage. Tribal Councilor Keith Austin donated another $5,000 from the tribe’s special projects fund. Projects funded through the special projects fund are selected by the Tribal Council and Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s office, and allow the tribe to partner with communities and organizations on projects that benefit both CN citizens and non-Cherokees alike. “Cherokee Nation remains a good partner in Rogers County for economic growth and community improvement, and no expansion project means more than one which directly benefits a local school and its mission to educate our kids for a better future,” Baker said. “Now, Justus-Tiawah Schools will be able to do more for its students and make significant upgrades to its campus for healthier, happier students.” Austin said the tribe’s contributions would position the Rogers County school for future growth. “I am always pleased when I can help find a way to support the schools in District 14. Justus-Tiawah is a school with one of the higher percentages of Cherokee students in the area and has a reputation as a great school. This donation will help put them in a position to grow to meet the needs of the district. I am proud the Cherokee Nation believes in supporting our schools with these kind of investments,” Austin said. Claremore will tap into an ongoing extension project managed by Cherokee Nation Businesses to run sewer lines to Justus-Tiawah buildings. Once the city extends sewer lines from the nearby project to the school site, bond funds will aid the school in carrying out other improvements such as connecting to the city’s sewer main and abandoning the lagoons. Justus-Tiawah Public Schools Superintendent David Garroutte applauded the tribe’s contributions to the school and the impact the funding will have on the future of the campus “We’re honored to accept this donation from Cherokee Nation, which does so much for public schools. It’s like a shot in the arm,” Garroutte said. “This money helps cover the cost to connect all our buildings to the waste line.” A second phase of work will result in the removal of lagoons, which would create additional playground space for students of the school, Garroutte said.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
02/17/2017 08:15 AM
WARNER, Okla. – In August, Connors State College opened the doors to its Native American Success and Cultural Center that features Native American art, a computer lab, language repository and study group rooms for students, faculty, staff and the public. The center is part of a Title III grant program that Connors received in 2014. “This was a $5 million dollar grant spread over five years. This particular one has two focus areas. It has the Native American Success Center area, and it also has another focus for online hybrid course development,” Gwen Rodgers, Connors Title III project director, said. Rodgers said Connors developed a “pride model” to help Native students with retention, help them learn about their respective cultures and be “inclusive” of all cultures. “The center is open to anybody. It is not exclusive to Native Americans. There’s a rumor going around that only Native American students can utilize the center, and we’re trying to dispel that,” Colleen Noble, NASCC director, said. “We want students, the public, faculty, staff to feel comfortable to come and learn about the history, culture, literature, artwork of the Five Civilized Tribes. That’s our focus. We are reaching out to school districts for them to come and be a part of field trips.” The Cherokee, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), Chickasaw and Seminole nations were labeled as the Five Civilized Tribes. Noble said in the center’s cultural section artwork is featured with a majority of it being Cherokee, but it also has Muscogee, Seminole, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Pawnee and Osage artwork. For the grant’s remainder, NASCC officials plan to acquire more art pieces from the Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Cherokee tribes in Oklahoma. The center also offers cultural activities throughout the year by inviting presenters from different tribes to teach classes such as basket making and moccasin making. Noble said Connors has a high population of Native American students, and the center is a “stop gap” for them to learn more about their respective cultures and heritages without having to travel to places such as Tulsa, Tahlequah and Muskogee to visit museums. “We are currently 38 percent Native American students, which is a really good percentage for this area. We are one of the highest Native American populations for the state of Oklahoma for a higher learning institute. The biggest percentage of our students are Cherokee. We have over 900 students who are Native American and out of that over 600 are Cherokee,” Noble said. “We’re able to partner with Cherokee Nation and bring in some really wonderful cultural experts to share their knowledge and skills with our students.” In the NASCC’s success center section, students learn styles in audio, visual and kinesthetic areas. Kinesthetic learning or tactile learning is where students learn by carrying out physical activities rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations. Noble said the computers labs have headphones, study rooms have marker and art boards and students can utilize a “spinning chair” to de-stress and re-focus on college studies. “It is a five-year grant, but it is developed and designed for continuation so that at the end of the five years this doesn’t all stop. It’s institutionalized throughout so that everything we’re doing now will keep going. So Connors will just be stronger because of it. We’re excited to be a part of it,” Rodgers said. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.connorsstate.edu" target="_blank">connorsstate.edu</a> or call 918-463-6364.