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ERIC Number: EJ1016785
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Native American Community Academy: The Power of Embracing Culture
Principal Leadership, v13 n9 p46-52 May 2013
The value that Native American nations place on deliberative experiential learning and oral reflection often is opposed to traditional practices in US schools. The inherent differences between those cultural approaches to learning have contributed to the large achievement gap between Native American schools and traditional public schools. In 2006 the Native American Community Academy (NACA) was founded to create a school for Native American students in Albuquerque that would integrate personal wellness and cultural identity with academic success. It was the first collaborative charter school in New Mexico, and it is the only urban public charter school in the state that is designed to serve the academic, cultural, and wellness needs of Native American youth. The Native American Community Academy is a grades 6-12 Title 1 school that is located on two campuses. Grades 6-10 share facilities with an Albuquerque Public School middle school; grades 10-12 are housed in the law school on the University of New Mexico campus. Ninety-five percent of the 415 students are Native American, and they represent more than 50 tribes, including Apache, Cherokee, Cochiti, Lakota, Navajo, Taos, Tiwa, and Zuni. The school is guided by the belief that Native American students thrive in academic environments that include and value their languages, histories, heritages, and cultures. From that vision grew the requirements for Native American language study--Ds are not accepted for credit and each student must complete six hours of college credit prior to graduation. The school's mission was to write a new story for Native American youth that is filled with hope and opportunity. After six years, students of all ages clearly articulate how different school is for them; how they feel a sense of pride when they freely express their identity; how they have learned to respect all other cultures; and most important of all, how they see a future built on a college education. Students express gratitude for being in an education setting that connects their individual background and culture to their academics. They see where they fit in--an essential variable for teenagers. Every facet of the Native American Community Academy is grounded in the school's core values. This article provides a close look at each value followed by implementation strategies to illustrate how students and staff members live, work, and learn together as a community.
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A