Choctaw Tribal School System
As the largest Indian school system in the US, the Choctaw Tribal School System is based in Choctaw, Mississippi. This system isn’t part of the public-school system, but it’s regulated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
A Unique System of Schools
This special school district includes eight schools which are located in three separate counties:
There are between 1700 and 1800 students enrolled in the Choctaw Tribal School System. Most of the students can speak both English and Choctaw. While the system isn’t part of the public-school education system in Mississippi, it is accredited by the State Department of Education.
Because the Choctaw Tribal School System is an Indian school system, students must be part of a Native American tribe, which is recognized in the United States. They must also be at least one-quarter Native American.
Schools in this group include the following:
- Tucker Elementary School
- Red Water Elementary School
- Conehatta Elementary School
- Standing Pine Elementary School
- Pearl River Elementary School
- Bogue Chitto Elementary School
- Choctaw Central Middle School
- Choctaw Central High School
The motto of the system is Alla Momat Ikkana Chih or All Children Will Learn. To achieve this goal, the schools offer an Exceptional Education Program. This program is first for those students who may have academic, physical, developmental, mental or emotional disabilities and provide special resources for their learning. Secondly, this program seeks to identify those students who may be gifted and help them reach their true potential.
Tribal schools also have an After-School Program which began in 1990 since many kids went home unsupervised after school because their parents were working. The program not only provides help with homework but a healthy snack and cultural, social activities.
Students can learn the Choctaw language at school. This helps them understand their native language and to develop an understanding of Choctaw traditions and culture. Another program in the tribal schools is the Family and Child Education Program or FACE. This program is designed for children from newborn to eight years old and is either home-based or center based to help with growth and development.
Mobile Education Resource Center is a program that incorporates a bus to go to the different communities as a mobile classroom. SMART technology is taught and used in the classroom along with activities and special lessons based on the Choctaw culture.
Several well-known Native Americans have spoken to the school to inspire them to dream big and work to reach their goals. A perfect example of one of these people is Billy Mills. As the second Native American to take home a gold medal from the Olympics, he spoke to the students back in the 1990s. The first Native American NASA astronaut John Herrington, also visited in 2000.
The school is full of cultural pride and both students and staff have a tremendous amount of respect for their culture and education system.