2014 National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities

The 2014 National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities, “Building Engaging Educational Communities for Native Students,” is a professional development activity sponsored by The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N), in partnership with The National Indian Education Association, the Minnesota Department of Education, the South Dakota Department of Education, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Alaska Staff Development Network, the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration, the National Johnson O’Malley Association, Foundation for the Advancement of Culture and Education, Leech Lake Tribal College, and Augsburg College.

The Forum will feature nationally known keynote speakers as well as professional educators. Presentations will emphasize a variety of strategies that work with native students who are at risk of dropping out of school before high school graduation.

Conference Strands

(1) addressing the opportunity gap, (2) instructional strategies to increase learning, (3) emotional supports, (4) school climate: safety and student wellness, (5) service-learning and restorative justice, (6) digital communication and engagement, (7) reengagement and recovery strategies, and (8) culture and language.

Keynote Speakers

14.Gentry1 Dr. Marcia Gentry
Director of the Gifted Education Resource Institute
Professor Educational Studies at Purdue University

Marcia is Professor of Educational Studies and director of the Gifted Education Resource Institute at Purdue University. Her research has focused on the use of cluster grouping and differentiation; the application of gifted education pedagogy to improve teaching and learning; student perceptions of school; and on non-traditional services and underserved populations, including Diné, Ojibwe, and Lakota youth. Marcia developed and studied the Total School Cluster Grouping Model and is engaged in continued research on its effects concerning student achievement and identification and on teacher practices. She is past chair of the AERA SIG, Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent, actively participates in NAGC, frequently contributes to the gifted education literature, and regularly serves as a speaker and consultant.

Bill_Mendoza_0Mr. Bill Mendoza
Executive Director
White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education

William (Bill) Mendoza was appointed as Executive Director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education in December 2011. Bill, Oglala-Sicangu Lakota,grew up on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Sioux reservations in South Dakota.

Bill has experienced, firsthand, through his professional and life experiences, the multitude of challenges facing American Indian students, educators, and tribes. In addition to being a teacher and principal, Bill has worked at the school, professional and community level to help foster leadership development and civic engagement among American Indians. Integral to his professional and academic capacity has been his experiences as a tribal college student at Haskell Indian Nations University, Sinte Gleska University, and Oglala Lakota College.

14.Treuer_0 Dr. Anton Treuer
Executive Director
American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University

Dr. Anton Treuer is Executive Director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University. He has a B.A. from Princeton University, M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language and author of 9 books: Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Ojibwe in Minnesota (“Minnesota’s Best Read for 2010” by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), The Assassination of Hole in the Day (Award of Merit Winner from the American Association for State and Local History), Ezhichigeyang: Ojibwe Word List, Indian Nations of North America, Awesiinyensag: Dibaajimowinan Ji-gikinoo’amaageng (“Minnesota’s Best Read for 2011” by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales & Oral Histories, Aaniin Ekidong: Ojibwe Vocabulary Project, and Omaa Akiing.


Rev. Dr. Michael Oleksa
Alaska Staff Development Network

Father Michael Oleksa, Ph.D., was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He came to Alaska in 1970 from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York at the invitation of the Alutiiq village of Old Harbor on Kodiak Island. Over the next three decades he served as a Russian Orthodox priest in over a dozen Alaska Native villages. In 1988 he completed his doctoral degree at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Presov, Slovakia, with an emphasis in Native Alaskan History during the Alaska Russian period (1741-1867).

Recognized as an “Elder” by the Alaska Federation of Natives, a Distinguished Public Servant by the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, and honored by the Alaska State Legislature and the National Governors Association, Dr. Oleksa is a storyteller who seeks to foster greater understanding across boundaries of race and culture.



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