American Indian students benefit from McDermitt grant

A grant program through the United States Department of Education will have a direct impact on American Indian students at McDermitt Combined Schools.

The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) was the only agency to receive money from the US Department of Education grant. Only two school districts in the state received funds.

According to the grant program abstract, the American Indian population makes up about one percent of the state’s population, “but has been impacted by higher than average rates of poverty, substance abuse, low academic proficiency scores and high dropout rates.” The program hopes to improve these areas of concern.

“This grant will allow the school to provide a variety of supports and activities for students to become college and career ready,” McDermitt Combined Schools Principal Doc Welter said. Supports include after school tutoring, summer school credit retrieval, exposure to college campuses and college prep courses, ACT prep, and more, he said.

The project will use College and Career Coaches to advise individual students. Community-based instructors will be housed with the tribes to perform community presentations based on individual community needs, the press release said.

“Some of the planned supports include ensuring curriculum is culturally relevant to Nevada American Indians, creating summer school programs for credit recovery, college field trips and hosting a statewide youth conference twice per year,” the NDE’s press release explained.

The grant project aims to increase enrollment in Advanced Placement courses and applications to college and trade schools and raise grade-point averages in American Indian communities.

McDermitt Combined Schools has already stepped up its college and career focus. This year, an early emphasis on college and career readiness led to every McDermitt senior receiving at least one college acceptance letter.

The press release said NDE will work with the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe and its education department, as well as Humboldt County School District and McDermitt Combined School.

The grant will also benefit the Yerington Paiute Tribe, the Walker River Paiute Tribe, and two schools in Lyon County School District.