Red Wing Public Schools

Working together, the American Indian Parent Advisory Committee and Red Wing School District completed the Title VI funding application this week.

This was the first public demonstration of cooperation since the AIPAC took the district to task earlier this spring for not meeting Native American students’ needs.

The AIPAC held a virtual hearing May 5 to finalize the 2021-2022 Title VI application. The grant will include $23,009 for the Prairie Island Indian Community to assist Native American students in the Red Wing School District.

“The best part is that the money flows directly to Prairie Island,” Superintendent Karsten Anderson said. “You know it’s not a way to generate money for the general fund or the district. It really goes back into partially reimbursing Prairie Island for everything they do.”

The AIPAC collaborates on different programs with the Prairie Island Indian Community to help all Native American students in the district achieve academic success.

One of those programs is supplying cultural liaisons to offer academic assistance in reading and math. This is done to increase school attendance and graduation rates, and enhance integration of American Indian culture in the schools.

Most of the Title VI grant funding will be used toward paying those liasions, who are employed by Prairie Island. The liaisons will be available during regular school hours to provide instructional assistance and help students find appropriate resources, including school counselors and social workers.

The grant includes $712 to cover district administrative costs.

Get everyone counted

Philip White, the state-funded district’s liaison for Native American programming, will help Prairie Island by acting as a go-between for students, school staff, parents and different community resources.

The Title VI funding is based on how many American Indian students are in the district and students are only counted when their family fills out a Title VI form. 

White admitted that not every family who has an American Indian student in the district filled out the form, which made the grant money lower for 2021-2022 than in some years.

“I think we all need to get the word out that we need to have our Native American community and their families fill out the title forms,” White said.

It is too late to increase the funding amount for 2021-2022, but families are encouraged to fill out the Title VI form during the next year.

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