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Daposka Ahnkodapi welcomes students back for a new school year

The school, known for its commitment to culturally inclusive education and holistic well-being, will continue to emphasize the Osage language and traditions as an integral part of the curriculum

The first day of school at Daposka Ahnkodapi, the private accredited school of the Osage Nation, kicked off with excitement and enthusiasm as students from Kindergarten through 7th grade walked through the doors, eager to dive into a new year of learning and growth.

The school’s commitment to individualized attention and personalized learning plans ensures each child receives the support they need for their academic and emotional growth.

Superintendent Patrick Martin expressed his excitement for the year ahead, “The first day of school went very, very smoothly. We have professional development for the teachers a week before the first day, so everybody was preparing, planning, just waiting to get these kids in the classrooms. They were all excited, and I think the excitement made for a very happy, very fun first day for the kids.”

Daposka Ahnkodapi, known for its commitment to culturally inclusive education and holistic well-being, will continue to emphasize the Osage language and traditions as an integral part of the curriculum. This unique approach is designed to instill a sense of pride and identity in the students, while also equipping them with a well-rounded education.

The school serves students of all ages, beginning with infants as young as six weeks old through 7th grade, with a total of 60 students, Martin said. The school plans to add an 8th grade next year but plans to stop there.

“Eighth grade is a good stopping point for us because high school takes so many resources. You must have teachers for each subject area, and you must have all these textbooks and resources, it’s a much bigger financial investment and what we have now is working,” he said. “Say, somebody comes along and says, ‘We want to build you a high school.’ We would say yes because that would be very exciting but that hasn’t happened. We’re working with what we got and we’re happy with what we got.”

Currently, the school is housed in two buildings with plans for a third. A new WELA building is currently under construction just north of the Osage Nation Welcome Center. Once the building is constructed and WELA moves to its new location, the plan is that WELA’s former building will become the middle school for Daposka Ahnkodapi and will house 6th-8th grades.

“We’re looking forward to having a new building for the middle school next year and that will be a great improvement and relieve a little bit of room issue we have here, where every inch is taken up and we’re making the best use of this space. But we can’t really have another grade here, we would be overcrowded,” he said.

The school also offers many field trips and extracurricular activities not found in surrounding public schools. Working closely with the OSU Extension office, the school offers a six-week course in the spring for horseback riding at Wolf Creek Ranch for grades 4th-7th grade. The school also takes 4th-7th grade students for lessons on riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). A very popular course for the students.

Students also participate in yoga classes and Taekwondo martial arts classes through the OSU Extension office. The students also have classes on pollinator gardens, and how to take care of chickens (they currently have eight). They take field trips to the Osage Nation’s Harvest Land and help maintain raised garden beds and last year students harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe and broccoli. Martin said what isn’t served in the cafeteria goes to the chickens.

The school is in its third year of state accreditation as a private school through the state of Oklahoma. “We are a private school and that is a great situation to be in because that means the tribe supports us. We have tribal funding for the school, and we don’t depend on the state for resources or finances because we’re not a charter school and we’re allowed to do what we want pretty much,” Martin said. “We teach an Osage-centered curriculum, especially for social studies and reading, and we can learn more about Native American history and our own history of the Osage Nation.”

For more information about Daposka Ahnkodapi, call (918) 287-9772 or email Executive Assistant Leah Jenkins at leah.jenkins@osagenation-nsn.gov.

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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Dutyhttps://osagenews.org

Title: Editor

Email: sshaw@osagenation-nsn.gov

Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.
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