About The Program
The Wounspekiya Unspewicakiyapi Native Teacher Education pilot program seeks to address the teacher shortage in our Native communities through support for K-12 Native teacher recruitment, development, and retention by collaborating with tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to increase students’ successful attainment of teacher certification and employment and to learn best practices and strategies for future programming.
Wounspekiya Unspewicakiyapi can be translated from Dakota to describe the purpose of this program, teaching teachers. The name prioritizes Native worldview and understanding within the approach to creating Native American teachers.
Through generous funding from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, this three year $2.25M pilot program provides the opportunity for TCUs to enhance and strengthen culturally responsive teacher education pathway programming. This is accomplished by developing the pathway starting with recruitment through obtainment of a teaching degree and certification.
To support this vision, the College Fund has identified the following outcomes for this program:
- TCU grantees will produce more culturally competent and place-based Native teachers who are retained in the K-12 system.
- TCU grantees will increase recruitment, retention, and graduation and support successful entry into the field of teacher education.
- TCU grantees and the College Fund will learn about community informed barriers and opportunities to entering the teaching profession, to enable the recruitment of more Native teachers to meet the high demand for culturally competent, place-based teachers.
This program enhances support services for students before they are admitted to the teacher education degree program, assists retention of students through the completion of their teaching degree, and supports students to obtain state certification. Some of the proposed activities relate to improving the quality of distance education, utilizing online platforms for gathering students for seminars, consulting former graduates to assist with Praxis test preparation, and building a Community of Practice to share and learn best practices among partnering TCUs.