Embracing the Lakota Culture in Todd County School District's Classrooms


In 2016, the state of South Dakota awarded grants to two schools in Todd County SchoolDistrict (TCSD), located on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. The funds were designated to increase student success through building cultural identities, encouraging academic perseverance, supporting the development of the whole child, and encouraging student leadership skills. The NCCC, in partnership wilth the South Dakota Department of Education, the Native American Community Academy, and TCSD, is working to help educators understand what classrooms look like when they fully embrace the Lakota culture and live its values to support student success.

The focus for this work is on developing an Innovation Configuration (IC) Map as a tool to "paint a picture with words" for educators to visualize what it means to indigenize a school. Developed by members of the Lakota educational community, with feedback from an array of stakeholders including tribal elders, the tool draws from a tradition of strengthening and protecting students: embracing the whole child within their circle of learners. Project fellows and district administrators will use it to communicate their vision of an indigenized school to school personnel and to the community. It will also be useful in informing professional development offerings and as a formative tool in the pilot project's program evaluation. Ultimately, the state may use it to support similar projects. The team plans to present a draft of the IC Map to teachers at a professional development day in May. For more information, please contact Adena Miller.

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