Back to school

Michael Bland

I’m sure many of you are loading backpacks and packing lunches as summer winds down and school begins. Let’s take a moment to check in with our four education projects, financed with over $40 million of New Markets Tax Credit allocation, and see what exciting plans they each have for the coming year.


Educare Winnebago – Winnebago, NE


Educare Winnebago art
Winnebago Educare lessons in Winnebago language

(Pictured top: Artwork on the walls of Educare Winnebago; Pictured bottom: Lessons in Winnebago language)

The Winnebago Head Start program received a $1 million grant late last year that will enable Educare to open up three new classrooms. Each room will have two teachers (lead teacher and master teacher) and bring the total enrollment up from 133 to 191. Educare Winnebago offers comprehensive early childhood development from birth until age 5. This approach requires intensive coordination with teachers, administrators and parents. Much of Educare’s success comes from the individualized plans or Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) plans created by the lead and master teachers with consultation from the family.


Minnewaukan School – Minnewaukan, ND


Minnewaukan day care

(Pictured above: Daycare at Minnewaukan School)

School began last week for the 296 students attending the Minnewaukan School near the Spirit Lake Reservation in eastern North Dakota. Over 90 percent of the students are enrolled members of the Spirit Lake Nation or the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Minnewaukan Superintendent Jean Callahan is excited about this year.

“We are doing well, and it’s great to see all the kids in the halls and playing in the daycare,” she said.


Itom Mahtawa’apo Education Complex – Tucson, AZ


Pascua Yaqui Tribe Intel Clubhouse Pascua Yaqui Tribe Intel Clubhouse

(Pictured above: A game built by students of the Intel Clubhouse)

Another school year brings another exciting year of educational support at Itom Mahtawa’apo on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation in Tucson. This facility offers Yaqui language, history and culture classes as well as other education services such as tutoring, literacy training and adult education. Approximately 300 students use the complex’s services each month.

The complex also has an Intel Computer Clubhouse, which teaches robotics, emulation, digital photography, editing, etc. This year Pascua Yaqui will host the Intel Clubhouse regional conference where many aspiring engineers, programmers and inventors get together to test and share their work. Below is a video of the Pascua Yaqui’s clubhouse director, Sabestine Hernandez, explaining a game his students built that is similar to the classic Operation board game.



Little Big Horn College – Crow Agency, MT

Little Big Horn College gym

(Pictured above: Gym at Little Big Horn College’s Health and Wellness Center)

Classes begin this week at the Crow Nation’s Little Big Horn College. The college is developing a new vocational technology curriculum and will be offering two new classes: commercial drivers license/heavy equipment and welding. And saving the best for last, LBHC will be sending a delegation of 12 down to Brazil for the first-ever World Indigenous Games on October 23. The event competitions include traditional canoeing, archery, wrestling, distance running, and swimming. Let’s all wish the Rams boa sorte (good luck) at this exciting event.