College and career preparation begin in pre-school and continue throughout the K-12 grades. Native students deserve schools that are attentive to their needs and aspirations. 

Students’ progress, relative to academic standards, should proceed in step with their expanding understanding of their continuing education and career choice possibilities. Schools give students pathways to enter fields beyond those that are immediately accessible in their local environment. 

State Education Agencies (SEAs) play a major role in setting standards, providing programs, and encouraging local efforts that build each student’s academic and personal competency. They also help shepherd the transition from K-12 to college and careers, such as by facilitating resource networks for Native students transitioning to college and working with tribes to identify culturally relevant career pathways.

    • Thumbnail of cover page College and Career Readiness and Access Brief
    • Image of cover College and Career Readiness and Access: Improving Education Quick Reference
      • The American Indian KnowledgeBase

        The American Indian KnowledgeBase, developed by the South Central Comprehensive Center, is an online resource for educators to use in closing the achievement gap for indigenous students.

      • The American Indian Measurable Success Initiative

        The American Indian Measurable Success Initiative implements the Colorado Legacy Schools Model to increase the number of indigenous students enrolling and succeeding in advanced placement math, science, and English courses.

      • College Horizons

        College Horizons is a 6-day “crash course” that prepares students for the college application process.

      • Policy Analysis: State and Federal Policy, Native American Youth

        The Education Commission of the States’ Policy Analysis: State and Federal Policy, Native American Youth, describes the indigenous youth population, educational challenges, and state and federal policies to address needs.

      • Project 3C

        Project 3C, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education, provides indigenous students with experiences and skills necessary to: accomplish goals successfully; increase similarities between their interests and career choices; and broaden their college and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

      Download the complete Native Education Resource List.

    • The College and Career Readiness and Access category has six demonstrations of effective integration.

      1. The state recognizes high-achieving Native students and enables them to continue in school through college.
      2. The state identifies and addresses barriers experienced by Native students that impact their success in school. 
      3. The state helps Native students, particularly in rural and remote locations, build a connection with colleges, universities, and tribal colleges.
      4. The state creates pathways to careers for Native students beyond those immediately available in their home locations.
      5. The state encourages and supports Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to engage Native parents in the school and in the learning lives of their children.
      6. The state attends to the educational needs of Native students in urban settings, especially those not affiliated with local tribes.