Teach For America–South Dakota Forges Formal Partnerships With Tribal Nations and Red Cloud Indian School

New Partnerships Aim to Recruit More Native Teachers and Expand Educational Opportunities for Native Students


Mission, S.D., December 18, 2015—Teach For America–South Dakota announced today that the tribal councils from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Rosebud Sioux Tribe have respectively approved new partnership agreements with the organization to recruit more Standing Rock and Rosebud tribal members to teach in Native communities throughout the state. Additionally, Teach For America–South Dakota forged a partnership with Red Cloud Indian School to recruit more of the school’s alumni into its teaching corps. These strategic partnerships will help allow Teach For America–South Dakota to increase its recruitment outreach efforts at tribal colleges to encourage more Native college graduates to teach in indigenous communities and provide more professional development on culturally-responsive teaching methods.

“Human capital is crucial to nation building. We want to encourage more of our young people in college to come back home to help our people. Teach For America is one great pathway to have an impact,” noted Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II

Teach For America recruits and prepares top college graduates and professionals to teach for at least two years in urban and rural communities, making meaningful differences for their students, and develops them as life-long leaders in education and other fields. Additionally, the organization’s Native Alliance Initiative works hand-in-hand with tribes and Native communities to expand educational opportunities for their students in South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Minnesota, Hawai’i, and Washington.

“Lakota educators have the power to create change in our community,” said Scott Herman, vice president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “Our partnership with Teach For America will encourage our emerging Lakota leaders to consider teaching as a way to give back to our youth.”

In 2004, Teach For America joined the South Dakota education community with 17 corps members teaching on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. The organization aims to support its tribal partners in providing a high-quality education that equips students with the skills necessary to reach their full potential and help cultivate the next generation of community and tribal leaders. This school year, nearly 100 corps members and alumni remain steadfast in their commitment to expand educational opportunities across sovereign Lakota Nations that often face extreme teacher shortages.

Teach For America–South Dakota aims to recruit more corps members that identify as Native by 2020, with at least a third being South Dakota tribal members. The formal partnerships with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Red Cloud Indian School advance the organization towards this goal.  

"We want our alumni to positively impact the Pine Ridge Reservation. Our new collaboration will support efforts to bring more employment opportunities to our community as well as support our students," said Robert Brave Heart, Sr., executive vice president of Red Cloud Indian School.

As Teach For America welcomed its 25th corps into the country’s highest-need classrooms this fall, it also ushered in 790 teachers working across six states, including South Dakota, Hawai‘i, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Washington, that have significant Native student populations—communities that have been severely impacted by educational inequity. Teach For America remains one of the country’s most-studied educational leadership development organizations, with a growing body of research indicating the positive impact of corps members and alumni in classrooms, schools, and communities.

“Every child deserves access to an excellent education, where students and their families have a voice in defining excellence,” said Jim Curran, executive director of Teach For America–South Dakota.  “Teaching is a tremendously challenging yet rewarding job. In order to advance our education system to meet the needs of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Red Cloud Indian School, we must creatively and assertively recruit the next generation of leaders into that effort. We want to be partners in ensuring that local students can come back to their home reservation and have an impact on their younger relatives.” 

About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, 8,600 corps members are teaching in 52 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 42,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.