OLC Offers Master’s for Native Principals

Aug 15th, 2000 | By | Category: 12-1: Celebrating Our Students, Tribal College News

The state of South Dakota has approved Oglala Lakota College’s master’s degree program for Native American school principals. This is the first master’s degree program in the nation that offers a Native culturally based curriculum in educational administration, according to Lynda Earring, Ed.D., director of graduate programs at Oglala Lakota College (OLC) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

“This is a historic moment in the history of our tribe and college,” said OLC President Tom Shortbull. “We can produce school principals with a foundation in Lakota culture, which is critical to serve and teach our tribal children.” The program addresses the critical shortage of Native school principals. In 27 reservation schools, only seven of the certified principals are Native. OLC initiated the master’s program with a $750,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The new program also helps fulfill the reservation school teachers’ need for graduate level courses.

With its partnerships with other South Dakota tribal colleges, Earring said it will improve school systems across the state. The other partners are Sinte Gleska University, Sisseton Wahpeton Community College, Si Tanka College, and Sitting Bull College. The program began in April 1999 as a collaboration with the University of South Dakota. The first educational master’s degree courses were offered at OLC and at Sitting Bull College in the fall of that year. Currently there are four students enrolled in the program.

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