PHOENIX, Ariz. (May 17, 2022) – The Arizona Department of Education today announced targeted funding for Native American students and families. “In reviewing data from past years, we know that our Native students deserve more targeted support,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “My administration is committed to ensuring that Native students have additional holistic resources inside and outside of the classroom. These investments reflect that priority, and we are proud to invest in additional resources for Native communities.”
The funding will support:
- The University of Arizona College of Education will receive $1.2 million for its Indigenous student outreach, access, and resiliency (Native SOAR) program to establish a comprehensive multigenerational mentoring program that centers on the needs of Native students statewide through the P-20 education system.
- Akimel O'Otham Pee Posh Charter School will receive $598,000 to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on families residing in Gila River Indian Reservation by providing high-quality books to establish home libraries for all enrolled preschool and kindergarten students.
“The Gila River Indian Community is a book desert,” said Jagdish Sharma, Principal of Akimel O’Otham Pee Posh Charter School. “Our serving area has faced the scarcity of quality published content among Native American homes. This funding will help close the learning gap created by the pandemic in our community.”
“Native SOAR is grateful to receive the Arizona Department of Education grant, which enables us to close the digital divide in our tribal communities and expand much-needed mentoring and professional development support services to Indigenous students and educators across Arizona,” said Dr. Amanda Cheromiah, Director of Native SOAR. “The ADE grant will help us to continue creating healing and innovative spaces to encourage students and communities that they are loved, and they are brilliant leaders. We look forward to transforming Indigenous education to better serve our communities in this pandemic era."
These investments continue the Superintendent’s vision of supporting the Native American community. In 2021 Superintendent Hoffman announced a $1 million dollar allocation to the Department’s Office of Indian Education, a statutorily mandated office that has never received funding from the Legislature.
These projects are funded with dollars from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and are part of Arizona’s ARP School and Community Grantees. All funded projects share the goal of supporting schools, students, educators, and families as they recover from the effects of the pandemic.