Cankdeska Cikana Searches for Talent

Nov 15th, 1998 | By | Category: 10-2: Assessing Student Learning in a Cultural Environment, Tribal College News

The U.S. Department of Education has funded the Cankdeska Cikana Community College (Fort Totten, N.D.) Talent Search Program $203,000 for another four years. The news came on top of other good news–the North Central Association had accredited the college again, and another review will not be necessary for seven years. Cankdeska Cikana, formerly named Little Hoop Community College, is located on the Fort Totten Reservation in northern North Dakota.

Talent Search is a national program designed for 6th through 12th grade students from low-income, rural families whose parents do not have college degrees. To encourage them to graduate and successfully enroll in a post-secondary educational institution, it develops and enhances academic performance, improves self-esteem, and increases motivation. Started at Cankdeska Cikana in 1993, the program has served more than 600 students at five schools in the area, as well as high school drop outs, according to the director, Imogene Belgarde. Talent Search provides supplemental instruction, personal assistance and support, career fairs, home visits, and field trips to educational centers. During the summer, Talent Search sponsors a program to enhance students’ skills in math, art, English, and science.

In the isolated communities they serve, sometimes a student might need $20 to take the ACT test and a ride to the test center, according to Belgarde. She and her staff try to recognize the students every month, providing incentives for honor roll students such as banquets, gift certificates, and pizza parties. “It keeps us busy, and it’s fun,” she says.

Talent Search is one branch of five in the Department of Education’s TRIO Program family. Currently, over 2,000 projects are hosted nationwide at over 1,200 postsecondary institutions and more than 100 community agencies. Other branches of the TRIO Program include Upward Bound, Educational Opportunity Centers, Student Support Services, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program. After Talent Search identifies promising students, the other programs prepare them for college level work, provide information on academic and financial aid opportunities, and provide tutoring and support services to students on campus.

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