The Rapid City Journal reports that Central High School has been awarded a $1.2 million Demonstration Grant for Indian Children by the U.S. Office of Education. The grant will directly benefit the public school’s Lakolkiciyapi resource center, which helps mentor students, more often than not increasing their attendance record and, ultimately, their graduation rate. The grant, given to 10 schools across the country, will alleviate the scrambling to maintain student outreach that many school administrators were forced to do once the Bush Foundation grant money ran out in 2009.
The grant money awarded to Central will help pay the salary and benefits of the five graduation coaches. Two vital goals of the grant are to funnel more Native American students into math and science courses and increase their numbers in post-secondary programs. The grant will also go a long way in establishing a partnership between the public high school and local Oglala Lakota College and the Ateyapi program for mentorship, cultural activities, transportation and after-school programs.
School principal Mike Talley said the current graduation rate is unacceptable, but the grant is a great way to improve the situation.
“One child not graduating from Rapid City is just not an option,” he said. “There are so many things people are trying to do.”