Empowering Native American Students Significantly Increases Enrollment in Advanced Courses

Every November, our country recognizes this time as  Native American Heritage Month. At Equal Opportunity Schools, we celebrate the knowledge, culture, and traditions of the hundreds of Tribal Nations across our country all year long. Native people are proud, resilient, and a pillar of our country and communities despite having faced centuries of oppression and violence.  

As we work together to address the wrongs of our past, we know that creating opportunity through education is a key component to advancing that cause. 

At Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) we support positive change in the education landscape for underserved and underrepresented students, including many Native American students who face unique barriers to advanced academic opportunities. Through our partnerships with school districts, we provide tools, data, and coaching that are proven to increase the number of students who take, pass, and have a sense of belonging in advanced academic courses. We do this work based on the following core principles: 

  • Culturally relevant teaching and curriculums; 
  • Classrooms where students are comfortable asking teachers for help;
  • Clear expectations, along with constructive feedback and assessments; and,
  • Teachers who engage students in informed conversations about race.

At EOS we are committed to this work, and success has been consistent, but we must remain diligent within school communities. Our data can help identify problem areas. For example, in one district we serve, our student diagnostics show:

  • 69% of EOS Native American/Alaskan Native students reported that a lack of adult encouragement was a barrier to them accessing advanced coursework. This is higher than the general student population by 6%.
  • 54% reported a general knowledge barrier. 
  • 77% of Native American and Alaskan Native students said they aspire to college, with 25% saying that they would like to get an advanced degree.

Through our work with this district, we helped enroll 502 new Native American and Alaskan Native students in advanced academic courses in the 2023 school year, increasing their chances of success in college. Continuing this work can help break down historical barriers and create a future where more Native American students have the equal access and opportunities that all students deserve in order to thrive academically.