Red Cloud Indian School is a private K-12 institution located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. With separate elementary, middle, and high school buildings sharing one campus near the town of Pine Ridge, and a K-8 building situated in the town of Porcupine, the school serves a total population of approximately 600 students.
Through several successive grants awarded to Red Cloud Indian School, AmeriCorps members have played a vital role in supporting students and staff by serving as teachers, mentors, tutors, counselors, and coaches. In a community characterized by the highest rates of poverty in the nation and designated as a federal “Teacher Shortage Area” because of its remote location and scant resources, the AmeriCorps program has helped to maintain a quality educational environment that has allowed a large majority of the school’s students to complete their high school education and attend postsecondary institutions. The program has been an essential part of implementing the school’s vision of improving educational outcomes for students in spite of adverse economic realities. In doing so, the school is hoping to effect positive changes throughout the wider community. AmeriCorps members come from both the local community as well as from various parts of the country.
Key objectives of the current AmeriCorps grant are to enhance students’ literacy and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills; direct the afterschool program; institute Response to Intervention (RtI) strategies in school and after school; and supplement Red Cloud staff as teaching assistants, student activities coordinators, librarians, coaches, and bus drivers.
In front of Red Cloud High School
RMC Research is using a mixed methods formative and summative evaluation to assess program impacts on students and AmeriCorps members. Instruments for the AmeriCorps program were developed by RMC Research and revised and approved by program staff in fall 2015. A site visit is conducted in the spring of each program year to gain feedback from AmeriCorps members, students, school administrators, and parents.