Ada City Schools was recently honored for taking steps to help American Indian students succeed in the classroom.

The district won the first-ever National American Indian/Alaska Native Council of School Board Members (AI/AN) Luminous Eagle Award, which recognizes school boards that promote equitable conditions, improved access to topnotch instruction and better academic results for American Indian and Alaska Native students. The award was sponsored by McGraw Hill Education.

Ada Superintendent Mike Anderson and Ada Board of Education President Russ Gurley claimed the award at the National School Boards Association’s annual conference in Philadelphia.

Anderson said he was excited about receiving the award.

“I am so pleased that the Ada Board of Education has been recognized for continued excellence in ensuring that academic and extracurricular programming is equitable and that it provides for the building of skills necessary for the success of all Native American students,” he said.

Steps to success

NSBA officials said the award honors Ada City Schools’ commitment to promoting academic success for American Indian students.

“The district was recognized for how it has fostered high achievement by students from multiple Native American tribes, including the Chickasaw Nation,” officials said on the organization’s website. “Thirty-six percent of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses are Native American, for instance.”

To be eligible for the award, school boards must complete an online application, which is judged by the AI/AN board of directors. The application includes the following questions:

• What is the percentage of American Indian and/or Alaska Native students in your district?

• Does your district have an equity policy? If yes, provide a copy of the policy.

• What strategies has your district implemented to promote and enhance academic outcomes and equitable conditions for American Indian and Alaska Native students?

• What strategies has your district implemented to promote and enhance academic outcomes and equitable conditions for American Indian and Alaska Native students?

• What specific evidence can you provide to show your effectiveness in building educational equity?

In its application, the Ada Board of Education said the board ensures that information about policies and procedures affecting American Indian students is disseminated to their parents and the appropriate tribal entities. The board also said it posts notices about all meetings for the public and parents.

“The Ada City School District Board of Education takes pride in ensuring that all policies and procedures designed for equitable programming and services are not only adhered to but that they are administered with fidelity,” the school board wrote.

Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.