This past week, the Wyoming Department of Education held listening sessions at tribal schools to see how the state can better serve Native American families. Rob Black, social studies consultant with the WDE and liaison to the Native American community, said students on the reservation are a vulnerable population. Graduation rates and achievement levels there lag behind non-native communities.
Black said before addressing specific issues the WDE wanted to open up dialogue.
“We were after a number of things,” Black said. “The broad question is, what do you feel is needed from the State Department of Education and the school system to better prepare you as a student for a career, or for college, or for a high quality of life?”
He said they were also interested in, “What’s the most important issue facing Native American students today?”
The Wyoming Department of Education completed four of six listening sessions last week. They met with students and adults in both Arapaho and Ethete. The final listening session in Fort Washakie was postponed until May 10th.
The input will be compiled into a report, which Black said, will help shape more innovative approaches as encouraged by the Every Student Succeeds Act.