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Conference builds stronger bond between schools and tribal nations for students

Posted: 12:12 PM, Jul 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-10 13:12:45-04

TULSA - It’s a day for collaboration and training to strengthen education for many students.

The 2019 Edge Conference was put on today by the Muskogee (Creek) Nation to give school districts and tribal nations time to build powerful relationships, so they can better connect to improve education for native students.

In 2015, No Child Left Behind was replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act or ESSA.

ESSA is the main federal law for k-12 general education.

Muskogee (Creek) Nation’s Secretary of Education said when ESSA passed into law, it was embedded with a mandate.

It says if a school receives over $40,000 in Title VI funds or has a native population of 50 percent, that school must consult with the tribal nation they are a part of.

This mandate is why the conference was put into motion, with school districts and tribal nations from across the state.

“When we consult with the local schools, the first thing I tell them is, we’re not here to tell you how to run your schools," Greg Anderson, Muskogee (Creek) Nation’s Secretary of Education, said. "We want to find out what you’re doing, and help you do it better by using tribal resources, our education department, health department, mental health services.”

The conference also hit on tough subjects like the trauma students experience such as poverty, parents who are incarcerated, mental health issues and substance abuse, and helped district leaders take the steps to include trauma-informed practices in their schools.

"We know from science and those professionals who work with children that have suffered trauma, abuse, neglect, there are things we can do to meet our children where they are and have more understanding so we can focus more on learning," said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

This is the second time the conference has been held and leaders hope it will lead to better communication and a better experience for students.

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