The Native American Community Academy is the collaborative effort and the dream of many educators, parents, professionals and leaders throughout New Mexico.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico there are approximately 5,500 Native American students in the local school system that currently serves a total of 80,000 students. This population is steadily growing, mirroring nationwide estimates that 66% of all Native American families currently live in urban areas.
With a commitment to better educating Native American children, more than 100 community members gathered in 2004 to share their concerns and ideas. Community leaders, teachers, physicians, parents, community advocates, and business owners posed a key question:
How can public education embrace the future while sustaining our identities, culture and traditions?
Their answers echoed one another describing the importance of integrating “essential values”: personal wellness, cultural identity, and academic preparation. These answers helped create the core philosophy for which the Native American Community Academy is now based on.
NACA’s core philosophy is built on the essential values of its community and grounded in the Native American perspective. It is the clear understanding that educating a child is not simply an academic process. To truly prepare a child for academic and life success, NACA believes the school experience must reach and honor the child on many levels – and the approach must be integrated.
NACA has found that by integrating culture, language, personal wellness, family support, community connectedness, leadership preparedness, and college readiness into the academic curriculum a child is much more effectively guided and nurtured toward his or her success. This principal becomes the educational journey provided by NACA.
In the implementation of our philosophy, NACA continually seeks to build a strong foundation for education through (1) unique learning approaches, (2) diverse cultural perspectives, and (3) an unprecedented network of community organizations and professionals who support its students.
NACA strives to:
- Increase the number of Native Americans who graduate from high school as well as those who earn a college degree after high school graduation;
- Prepare NACA students for personal success while promoting their overall wellness;
- Support families of NACA students;
- Build a stronger community through partnerships and student services.
NACA is excited to offer students a unique and innovative school, with classes that satisfy state-based education standards for math, science, language arts, physical education, and social studies and are enhanced through additional enriching programs.
- Art, Media Arts, Technology and Music
- Experiential learning
- College preparatory courses
- Dual Credit College Program for high school students
- Personal wellness that includes nutritional and physical education
- Native American studies and literature
- On and off-campus cultural service learning
- Lakota, Tiwa, Navajo, Zuni and Laguna Keres classes
- Community internship opportunities
After school, students can explore programs such as:
- Pow-wow Club
- Sweet Nations Girls Group
- Hiyupo Boys Group
- Yearbook Club
- Martial arts
- Radical Poets
- Comic Book Club
Students also have access to on-site free health care and dental services, emotional and behavioral health counseling and services, and families of students have access to free services and counseling.