Our vision is to activate the next generation of Indigenous leaders by engaging our youth with a rigorous, culturally relevant curriculum that challenges them to understand and affirm their roles as citizens in our many Native Nations. Our school is born from the ideas of the Native community of Oklahoma City, who believed that meeting student wellness needs first is foundational to our children’s academic success. Rigorous and culturally relevant classroom content increases student engagement, learning, understanding, and critical thinking while also elevating student consciousness about justice for our communities. The wisdom of our elders is key to realizing our mission. By placing that wisdom foremost, we will activate the next generation of holistically healthy Indigenous leaders and empowered citizens.
Our administrators and staff have aimed to create an environment where our students are not just encouraged to succeed academically, but where they are free to express themselves culturally and learn more about themselves throughout their learning process. We believe that by creating a safe, culturally sensitive place for our students, we can ensure their overall wellbeing before they are expected to perform to a certain standard within their classrooms. Through this model, we have already seen significant improvement academically through our students’ test results. Our test scores from our previous year show incredible academic and wellness growth. In some cases, we saw students show 300% growth and move up multiple grade levels. Indigenized curriculum in tandem with wellness curriculum works!
It is largely-known within Indian Country that our peoples are disproportionately affected by negative statistics, such as suicide, drug/alcohol abuse, and more. At Sovereign, our students are encouraged to find alternative ways to sustain themselves and find wellness within the different cultural opportunities we provide to them (such as Powwow Club). We would love to expand upon these programs, adding more special interest extracurriculars and classes so that we can find ways to connect our youth to better healing methods. It is not an underestimation to state that the creation and ongoing existence of Sovereign Community School is saving many children’s lives.
This school is a place where many of our students have created a home, but that home is currently in jeopardy due to a financial crisis that has been compounded by the impact of COVID-19. Due to this impact, we have moved back and forth from in-person to distance learning. Many of our students’ ability to participate in their classes have been adversely affected by their inability to access stable internet connections and/or reliable technology. We have done our best to supply them with the needed technology but are constrained due to the financial situation.
We are at a crossroads in our ability to serve more Indigenous children. We project that our enrollment numbers will double next year as we add grades and continue to receive tremendous community support, but our resources have not kept pace. Today, we are reaching out to our Tribal Nations to ask for support to continue this transformational work. Our children deserve to have a learning environment that works to counteract much of the trauma we have faced and one that allows them to be who they truly are without fear of further displacement.