indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native Sun News: Oglala man focuses on reservation teachers

Filed Under: Education | National
More on: native sun news, oglala sioux, south dakota
   

The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.


Robert Cook

Making the grade
Cook strives to build strong network of Native teachers
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Staff Writer

RAPID CITY — Reservation schools across the country score lower on standardized tests, have lower graduation rates than off-reservation schools and often struggle to recruit teachers who have the credentials and ability to connect with students.

Robert Cook, however, through his work with Teach For America is in the process of changing these startling trends.

For over 20 years, Cook, who is an Oglala Lakota, has been an educator and advocate for Native American students in South Dakota and across the country. Also during this time, he has been recognized for his work from a wide variety of organizations, including Little Wound and Lower Brule schools, the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and the National Indian Education Association. Cook has been named teacher of the year by all four entities.

In 2005, he was named as a Milken Educator Award winner, which recognizes educators who show exemplary ability in the classroom that could be used as a model for others in the profession. The award also recognizes teachers who show measurable results in improving the quality of education for the students they are teaching. Cook today remains the only Native American to ever win the award.

In 2010, he was named by Teach For America to its National Advisory Council on Indian Education to try and further the group’s work and was appointed as the managing director of its Native American Initiative, which had been struggling at the time.

“I joined this movement to ensure that there would never again be times when our students start the school year without great teachers,” Cook said in a statement.

Teach For America, which began bringing teachers to underprivileged students in both rural and urban schools in 1990, has been heralded by educational professionals for the work it has done in schools across the country. The program recruits recent college graduates and young professionals from all fields of study and enlists them for two years as teachers, and then places them in communities where there is a shortage of teachers.

In addition to recruiting these young professionals, the organization also trains and prepares its teachers with the skills needed to close the achievement gap that exists between poor communities and the rest of America. According to Teach For America’s website, www.teachforamerica.org, the organization now has over 33,000 trained professionals working at all levels of the educational spectrum.

Currently, Teach For America has 400 corps members working in Indian country where they serve over 15,000 Native American students with the hopes of expanding their numbers to 1,500 members serving 52,000 students by the year 2015.

Not only will the program bring more teachers to Native communities, but it will also bring people who have backgrounds similar to the students they will be teaching.

“We will also focus on recruiting more American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian corps members, and by 2015 we will be one of the top national recruiters of Native leaders into the education field,” Cook states on Teach For America’s website.

“Our goal is to start building a pipeline of teachers who can give our young people leadership opportunities and who can help inspire our kids to go in to higher education,” he adds.

The organization has recently made efforts to increase their presence in rural America, where it is often extremely difficult to recruit and retain quality teachers. In order to address this issue Cook has increased efforts to recruit teachers from schools in the region in order to bring homegrown talent to the rural communities that need it in South Dakota.

“We are trying now to bring in teachers from schools like Black Hill State, South Dakota School of Mines and also our tribal colleges,” Cook told Native Sun News. “It is important to have teachers come from this area, because they are the ones who are likely to stay on and continue a career in the area.”

More information about Teach for America can be found online at www.teachforamerica.org.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at staffwriter2@nsweekly.com)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Ceremony welcomes return of spiritual beings (3/31)
Tribes and families in South Dakota win big victory in ICWA case (3/31)
Non-Indian adoption group disputes BIA's new ICWA guidelines (3/31)
Dennis Chappabitty: How I survived a racist attack in Oklahoma (3/31)
Ellie Reynolds: Native people used as pawns in mascot debates (3/31)
Jordan Wheeler: Fan in fake headdress turned out to be Native (3/31)
Carolina Castoreno: Racism runs rampant in the 'Hoosier State' (3/31)
Tulalip man charged for buying firearm used in school shooting (3/31)
Man charged in stabbing of BIA superintendent in South Dakota (3/31)
Few details about well-being of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe leader (3/31)
Navajo Nation makes headlines as first with tax on junk foods (3/31)
School to use IHS grant to bring Native students into medicine (3/31)
German photographer earns trust on Fort Belknap Reservation (3/31)
Water agencies seek early appeal for Agua Caliente Band case (3/31)
Radio station on Hopi Reservation launches fundraising effort (3/31)
Bureau of Reclamation seeks $20.3M for tribal water projects (3/31)
Metis Nation of Saskatchewan closes doors after losing funds (3/31)
Report puts tribal gaming industry revenues at $28.3B in 2013 (3/31)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe loses bid to force state into gaming deal (3/31)
Santee Sioux Tribe prepares to open casino golf course in June (3/31)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to welcome visitors to reopened casino (3/31)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation contributes to economy with casino (3/31)
Everything you wanted to know about tribal gaming in Arizona (3/31)
Opinion: Connecticut tribes face challenges to gaming empire (3/31)
Native Sun News: Designation sought at Cheyenne warrior site (3/30)
Lakota Country Times: Efforts to rename sacred peak ramp up (3/30)
Mark Charles: Nation was built on the dehumanization of others (3/30)
Navajo Nation considers agreement for land-buy back program (3/30)
US Attorneys named to lead DOJ Native American subcommittee (3/30)
Kevin Abourezk: Students retrace journey of Chief Standing Bear (3/30)
Patricia Paul: Overcoming hardships and becoming a tribal judge (3/30)
Julianne Jennings: Taking care of our eyesight in Indian Country (3/30)
Police looking for clues after murders of Indian man and woman (3/30)
Chairman Michael Jandreau of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in hospital (3/30)
Hundreds pay respects to Navajo Nation officer killed on the job (3/30)
Police officer who kicked Native man reinstated in Saskatchewan (3/30)
Native boy with rare disease granted wish to join favorite team (3/30)
Jury rules against Cheyenne River Sioux man in 'KKK' scar case (3/30)
BIA official expected to be released from hospital after stabbing (3/30)
BIA delays ruling on Pamunkey Tribe federal recognition petition (3/30)
Alex White Plume aims to grow hemp on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/30)
Blackfeet Nation opposes energy development on sacred lands (3/30)
Opinion: Don't include Indian Country in BLM fracking regulation (3/30)
Fort Peck Tribes might scale back plans for first gaming facility (3/30)
BIA rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming compact (3/30)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles for a gaming compact with Indiana (3/30)
Nisqually Tribe to open second phase of $45M casino expansion (3/30)
Opinion: Expansion of gaming options not a good idea for Texas (3/30)
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.