Community Learning Exchange

Improving Native American Education in Minneapolis

Migizi Communications, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, works to strengthen Native American families and improves the life chances of Native American children living in the urban area of the Twin Cites. Many of the community systems do not serve Native Americans well. This is particularly the case with the public schools that have a long history of disconnect with Native American students and families.

How are they helping to improve high school graduation rates? Migizi operates the Native Academy (NAC) -- a middle and high school program focusing on science, technology, and math that has developed into a nationally recognized model for Indian student success. They work to increase academic performance, graduation rates, and postsecondary enrollment rates of Indian students.

Migizi has played a prominent role in mobilizing community engagement to improve student success of Native American youth in the schools. This led to a landmark Memorandum of Agreement between the Native American Community and the Minneapolis school board governing how the schools will work with Native American students and families. Two Native American staff work in the schools to help teachers and administrators develop culturally relevant approaches to curriculum and relationships with students and families. The community has reclaimed their primary role in the education of their children.

Creating collective leadership capacity. As Migizi works with the schools, they partner with other organizations and communities of color to advance the work of educational equity. Often systems create competition among communities of color for limited resources. This can lead to distrust. Migizi has learned how to honor the conversations that need to take place in each community and then invite groups to construct together, coalitions for educational equity. They have established strong relationships, based on deep listening and mutual respect, with a number of communities of color including the Somali, Latino, African American, and Hmong communities.

They also partner with the Organizers Apprentice Project to use their Racial Equity report card to monitor the racial disparity impacts in the schools.

Back to Stories page.

© 2018   Created by steve stapleton.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service