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$3.2M grant to help Native American students

Keith Cowan

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo Public Schools, in collaboration with seven pueblos, College Horizons Inc. and the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School are using a $3.2 million four-year grant to develop culturally responsive curriculum for Native American students in grades 7-12.

The initiative, known as the Student Success Program, will be aligned with values and cultural needs of the pueblos so students will not have to choose between culture or college, Bernalillo schools officials said in a news release.

Regis Pecos

Working with the pueblos of Cochiti, Santa Ana, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Zia, Jemez, and Sandia, the federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Native Youth Community Project was awarded to Bernalillo Public Schools last month, according to a news release.

“This is a great opportunity for family and community to come together to discuss the future of their children. It will allow communities to voice their thoughts through the lens of a pueblo prospective,” said Dr. Curtis Chavez, Indian Education Coordinator at BPS, in a statement.

BPS Superintendent Keith Cowan said, “Students will receive individual support in regards to internships and advisement for college opportunities”

The money is expected to support a project director responsible for overall management and seven student success coordinators at the middle and high school level with regular workshops and training in schools and the pueblo communities.

The Bernalillo Public Schools system, which has an Indian education department, serves 1,327 Native American students throughout the district.

Regis Pecos, co-founder of the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School, predicted the project “no doubt will become a model in New Mexico and the nation.”

“This epitomizes what is possible when Pueblo leaders and educators work collaboratively with local School Boards and their education leaders,” he said in a statement.

Carmen Lopez, Executive Director of College Horizons, in a statement said the project will allow Native students to bring “their culture, language, ancestors and indigenous ways of knowing with them because these are gifts, blessings and educational asset.”