The Pine Ridge Girls School will present a new model of schooling—an academically rigorous program guided by best practices in girls education, backed by strong social-emotional support, and grounded in Lakota culture, language, and values.
The School will combine what works best for all girls with what works best for the girls of Pine Ridge, as they begin to hear a long-silenced voice in their classrooms—their own voice, and that of their community.
Anpo Wicahpi will provide girls with an opportunity to learn in a nurturing environment that focuses on developing their unique talents, leadership skills, and intellect. Our model is particularly relevant to Lakota culture and tradition:
Historically, female members of the Lakota had notable social agency, often owning “the final say” in community decisions, even though their power was not always acknowledged publicly. During the boarding school era, young Native girls lost their traditional female role models and their self-identification as leaders began to diminish.
The all-girls education model will serve the girls of Pine Ridge by combining innovative and traditional ways of educating young women.
All teaching will be based on the most innovative research on how girls learn best, and we will apply best practices provided by the Young Women's Leadership Network schools across the country. While our pedagogical approach is shaped by the expertise of specialists in the fields of education and health and wellness, our school curriculum will remain enriched by cultural components specifically relevant to the Lakota girls of Pine Ridge – including Lakota lifeways, history, and practical applications in different fields of study.
Based on three core learning centers, the curriculum will reflect a clear purpose and cultural context that ensures student are building interest and skills in areas most important to the tribe:
Environmental Sciences – students will learn about earth and life sciences; research, observe, and apply principles of biology, chemistry and mathematics to test and prove their assumptions; and deepen their understanding of the complexities and inter-dependencies that sustain or destroy the environment.
Governance and Leadership -students will learn about governance from a historical perspective, especially as it relates to their own cultural history, federal laws and tribal sovereignty law; they will research, observe, and apply principles of both federal and sovereignty law through engaging activities like debate teams; and use these tools and skills to become informed participants and leaders of their own Tribe.
Art, Communications and Technology - students will learn different forms of creative expression through traditional tribal art forms, baskets, song and dance; and become proficient in advanced forms of technology to use video and other technologies to capture their stories and share their creations.