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Success Academy

How Native American Students Prepare for College (and How Colleges Can Prepare for Them)


Mary Jo Benton Lee

Picture two very different schools: one, a federal Indian boarding school emphasizing vocational training, where few graduates attend college. The other – its neighbor – an overwhelmingly white, land-grant university.
These two schools had little to no contact, until an innovative initiative turned things around. In the fall of 2000, the Flandreau Indian School began a reform effort, Success Academy, aimed at preparing all of its students for postsecondary education. Over the next decade South Dakota State University responded by committing 300 of its faculty and staff and $85,000 of its annual budget to opening the doors of higher education to Indian students who had previously been excluded.
The traditional way of increasing college access for students of color is through remediation, that is, through attempting to «fix» those presumed to be unprepared for higher learning. What sets Success Academy apart is that the educators involved chose instead to «fix» both their institutions, institutions that were actually preventing Indian students from entering college. Throughout all aspects of Success Academy programming, students’ American Indian identities are affirmed, honored – and incorporated into school culture. Ethnicity matters in each and every aspect of Success Academy.


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Index 181


2+2+2 Project, 22–23, 32, 145 Acker-Ball, Shawna L., 122 Aday, Alyandra, 139 Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), 117 AIGC (American Indian Graduate Center), 91 Allison-Brewer, Nanabah, 53, 73 American Indian College Fund, 85 American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC), 91 Amiotte, Arthur, 51 Anzaldúa, Gloria, 86 Astone, Barbara, 144 AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), 117 Basic Algebra, 112, 125 Basic Writing, 112, 114–15, 125 Belkham, Betty, 11, 16, 17, 61, 81–82, 157 BIE (Bureau of Indian Education), 7 Bielfeldt, Darla, 106, 114–15 Bird, Jackie, 51, 156 Bolman, Stephanie, 44 Border crossings, 83–98 Bosse, Sherrie A., 150 Bourdieu, Pierre on cultural capital, 102–105, 125 on economic capital, 104 on families, 104 first challenge to, 105–16 second challenge to, 116–24 on social capital, 104–5 on three types of capital, 125 See also Community cultural wealth Brandt, Carol B., 88 Brayboy, Bryan McKinley Jones, 25, 105, 138 Brewer, Joseph, 74, 75 Brokenleg, Martin, 36 Brophy, Byron, 9, 10 Brown, Donna L., 145 Browning, Larry, 108 Bruininks, Robert H., 162 Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), 7 Index b_text_t5 8/21/2013 7:55 AM Page 181 Burk, Nanci M., 148 Burshiem, Derek, 121 Bybee, Deborah, 24, 27 Cao, Hanh Thanh, 88 Capital aspirational, 107–8 bridging (networking), 81 and community wealth, 105–7 cultural of Bourdieu, 102–5 and cultural integrity, 130–31 formed through institutions, 120 state-sponsored, 116–19 economic, 124, 125 familial, 109–11 navigational, 112–15 resistant, 111–12 social, 100, 101,...

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