August 9, 2021

Effort to Help Indian Country Receives Major Support from the U.S. Department of Education

BIG BOOST: The Claremont Native American Fellowship program has received new major funding from the U.S. Department of Education

Training educators to serve the many Native American communities across the nation is one of the big challenges facing Indian Country today.

CGU’s School of Educational Studies (SES) has received a boost in its efforts to respond to this need with the recent awarding of a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education.

That grant will enable SES to welcome more students into its Claremont Native American (CNA) Fellowship program, which provides Native Americans with 100% tuition support and a living stipend to receive a California preliminary K-12 teaching credential and a master’s degree in education.

The U.S. Department of Education’s announcement was made earlier this month; the awards to recipients (including SES) all come through the Office of Indian Education’s Professional Development program.

For SES Dean DeLacy Ganley, who has spearheaded the program and written all its grant applications since its inception in 2017, the new award will fund another cohort of as many as ten CNA fellows.

“A program like this not only creates opportunities for our students, it has the potential to change the lives of communities, too,” she said. “The CNA Fellowship program is an example of how we live out the school’s mission of social justice and educational equity.”

Ganley led the design of the CNA Fellowship program and said that the program creates a “virtuous circle” of giving back to the community: In exchange for the tuition and living support that they receive, students accepted into the program must then be employed after earning their degrees for two years as teachers in a school serving a high percentage of Native American youth in the U.S. However, they are not required to stay in California.

If fellows don’t satisfy that part of the agreement, Ganley says, the funds given for their training must be repaid by the student to the U.S. Department of Education, and this is why identifying candidates who are a good fit for the program and profession is critically essential. Ganley says the CNA Fellows program has already sent two cohorts of new teachers to work with Native American students in the state and nationwide.

“We’ve had some terrific individuals go through this program with a passion for serving communities,” she said. “We’re excited to work with students who are truly committed to teaching as a profession and using their profession as a meaningful way to promote social justice.”