Core of the Matter: New Opportunities for Success for Native Students (#CoreMatters)

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July 15, 2014 10:19 am

For five years, an Oglala Sioux child flourished in school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  Teachers labeled her gifted, a leader, and confident in every subject.  The student was proud of herself, her heritage, and her community.  Then, for reasons beyond her family’s control, she and her family abruptly relocated to Washington, DC.

She entered her new school mid-year feeling academically confident and secure, ready to make friends and continue to be a leader.  She soon discovered, however, that students in rural areas react differently to various activities and societal pressures than students in cities.  She noticed her initial struggle to answer questions as quickly and competitively as the other students, confused by the aggressive shouting of an answer to get attention.  She often went home frustrated, unable to understand why her peers acted in particular ways regarding classroom behavior and peer-to-peer interaction.

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