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Our Partnership with

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In the Spring of 2023, the Center for Educational Improvement and its Coalition for the Future of Education collaborated with the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) in conducting three listening sessions to discuss priorities for reducing the impact of long-standing and current trauma, helping children form positive identities, and ensuring that educators understand and are prepared to help revamp educational systems serving Native students. Our thanks to Martha Staeheli from Yale University for helping to lead the research review and analysis and to the CEI staff and many CEI Research Assistants who helped with recording sessions, data analysis, and the report development.


The report (right) describes the process used, findings, and implications, focusing on outcomes in six major areas: promising practices, educational sovereignty, state and regional initiatives, compassionate healing practices, unique tribal concerns and practices, and needs for resources, research financing, and policies.

NIEA Whole Child Initiative

The Center for Educational Improvement partnered with the NIEA from March to June 2023 to co-host a virtual webinar series, aiming to create a Whole Child Framework representing the needs, preferences, and concerns of Native people. In this report, Native leaders, families, and community members representing over 500 tribal communities in the United States, share their grief, their trauma, their successes, and their visions for the future of education.

NIEA Executive Director, Diana Cournoyer opened our first session by stating,

"We must create learning systems, not education systems. We must create learning opportunities that embrace what we know, how we know it, and how we apply it. And I remind you all that this does include social, emotional, cultural, spiritual, physical, mental, and then academic."

Afterward, in a letter sent to participants, Ms. Cournoyer reiterated her support for this initiative, expressing her gratitude to participants and ending with reminder of the work to come: "We are eager for a paradigm shift to implement learning systems that truly embrace the Educational Sovereignty development of every child."

The Center for Educational Improvement's model for creating compassionate practices in education led to our collaboration with NIEA and informed us throughout this process. CEI, as an ally to NIEA, helped to structure the sessions, and supported the data collection, analysis, and report development. We are thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with the NIEA in this crucial research project and to share information about our H.E.A.R.T+ practice and 5 Cs with wider audiences.

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