American Indian Initiative Celebrates Student Achievements in Southwest Colorado
By Greg Hessee
The American Indian Measurable Success Initiative (AIMS) is hosting an Outreach Event on February 12 at Fort Lewis College to celebrate the academic growth of Native American students at Durango, Ignacio, and Montezuma-Cortez high schools.
In AIMS’ first year of program support, the three high schools increased the number of Native American students enrolled in AP courses from 2 to 53 while increasing the number of students earning qualifying scores on AP exams from zero to 14.
“The AIMS project has had a profound impact on our systems in Durango School District 9-R,” said Superintendent Dan Snowberger. “Not only have we seen a major increase in the number of Native American students graduating and engaging in post-secondary programs, we’ve seen a shift in culture where all students see rigorous college prep programs, such as AP classes, as a place in which they can find success.”
The AIMS Initiative has created a unique partnership that unites educators and community members with students and their families to develop and expand postsecondary and workforce opportunities for Native American youth. This collaborative effort has produced impressive results in its first year of existence: 26 Native American students continued to college, a 37% increase in college enrollment from the previous year.
“AIMS has empowered the local community to reinvest in their public education and develop systems that are responsive to the evolving needs of the students,” said Rebecca Holmes, President and CEO of Colorado Education Initiative. “Results like these happen with the support of the community and in turn, benefit the community.”
Native American students in Southwest Colorado are benefitting from several efforts coordinated by AIMS, including:
- Concurrent enrollment options at Fort Lewis College and Southwest Colorado Community College;
- Personalized portfolio planning and development; and
- Student advisory groups and family outreach.
About Colorado Education Initiative
Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) is at the forefront of improvement, innovation, and change in Colorado’s public education system. CEI is a statewide nonprofit organization that invests time, expertise, and dollars in K-12 public education. For over 10 years, CEI has worked with educators as an inspired and supportive partner on the ground in over 150 urban, suburban, and rural school districts. CEI is known as a visionary organization that fuses best practices with innovation, that is tuned into today’s school dynamic and always mindful of what the future demands.