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K-State Today

November 22, 2019

RedCorn receives impact grant from Kansas Health Foundation

Submitted by Patrice Scott

College of Education researcher Alex RedCorn received a $25,000 Impact and Capacity Grant from the Kansas Health Foundation for an Indian Education Study and Community Building Project for Kansas and Nebraska.

RedCorn, assistant professor of educational leadership, co-chair of the K-State Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance and citizen of the Osage Nation, said the study will collect foundational data related to demographics, geographies, enrollments and student success indicators to build a comprehensive understanding about the current status of Indian education across Kansas and Nebraska.

"This is not just a research project intended to extract data, this is a concerted effort to listen to key Indian education stakeholders, hear their perceptions and build a community of practice across these programs," he said. "There are many programs, institutions and employees across these two states that work specifically for American Indian students spanning tribal, local, state and federal governments. Currently, there is no comprehensive publication on these matters in either state."

RedCorn envisions this as Phase 1 of a multiyear project that will build capacity for stakeholders in Indian education with the long-term goal of improving understanding on topics such as college and career readiness, Title VI programming, socio-emotional learning, pre-service teacher preparation, administrator training, curriculum development, and culturally responsive teaching and learning.

Additionally, RedCorn hopes to build a community of practice that breaks down silos commonly encountered where Indian education intersects with federal, tribal, state and local bureaucracies. This community of practice will connect researchers and practitioners found across all forms of government, and can be used to develop and share best practice across Kansas and Nebraska. 

Natalie Olmsted, Kansas Health Foundation program officer, said her organization appreciates the connection between access and health.

"The Kansas Health Foundation recognizes the importance of tackling the root causes of health inequities, which includes the lack of access to high quality and culturally responsive educational opportunities," Olmsted said. "Research has shown those with less access to quality and culturally responsive educational opportunities face greater disparities in access to care and overall well-being. This capacity-building project will not only collect much needed data, but bring various stakeholders to the table with the focus on better understanding the educational attainment needs of American Indian students — an area and underserved population that has not been adequately addressed or invested."