Red Cloud Indian School chosen for national guide on STEM education

posted on December 14, 2012,
by Christopher Ives

On December 11th and 12th, representatives from the Manhattan Strategy Group and the American Institutes for Research visited Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The visit was part of a research study commissioned by the United States Department of Education to learn about successful afterschool and summer programming in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEM.

Red Cloud Indian School’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program was selected for participation in this research after being highlighted by South Dakota Department of Education as exemplary. It is one of only 15 programs across the country chosen for its demonstrated success and potential in promoting STEM through career and technical education. The U.S. Department of Education’s research will inform the creation of four ‘Lessons Learned Guides,’ which will help other programs, nationwide, refine their practices.

The two-day site visit to the reservation-based school allowed researchers a chance to meet with administrators and view innovative after-school programming. As part of the school’s programming, Red Cloud Indian School has also partnered with the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T) to provide students, grades 2-12, with unparalleled access to research opportunities beyond the Pine Ridge, SD campus.

This summer, more than 40 Red Cloud Middle School students attended daylong and residential programs and classes at SDSM&T. Program topics ranged from space exploration, to meteorology and paleontology. Hands-on classes included metallurgy and sword making, environmental engineering at Mt. Rushmore National Monument, and mining and explosives with world-renowned SDSM&T mining engineer, Shashi Kanth.

“These camps offer them excellent opportunities to expand both their academic skills and their life perspective,” says TJ Lynch, 21st Century Director at Red Cloud Indian School. “This will particularly prepare them for their college experience.

“Red Cloud Indian School is committed to giving students the ability to spend time off the reservation to strengthen their confidence in new and unfamiliar situations. Each camp offered the experience of living on a college campus for five days with students from all over the country.”

Lessons Learned Guides will be available nationwide to after-school programs, highlighting the strategies employed by schools like Red Cloud Indian school in providing students with quality after-school and summer STEM programming.