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High schoolers on pathway to college
Tribal Students Attend College Awareness Workshop at United Tribes

16 April 2013

BISMARCK (UTN) – The state class ‘A’ high school basketball tournament was underway in the Capitol City but that’s not why 33 students from six high schools travelled hundreds of miles to be in Bismarck March 14-15.

Sports are popular, yes indeed!

But so is this thing called technology – especially when it lights up a good idea, like seeing that you can go to college while still in high school.

So the destination was United Tribes, where the college’s Educational Outreach staff hosted a “college awareness” event for tribal students involved in dual enrollment.

“One obvious way of creating successful native college students is to work collaboratively with them and their high schools,” says Julie Desjarlais, UTTC’s Educational Outreach Coordinator. “It’s a long-distance relationship that requires a good deal of communication, mutual trust and respect. And we’re strengthening those connections with in-person events like this.”

Over a year ago, UTTC began offering high schools students the opportunity to get the feel of college by taking online courses. Ninety students have registered and logged-on for the required introductory course. Some organize their time during school or at home to correspond via computer with online instructors and staff in Bismarck. Others work with an advocate who assists the process. Seventeen have registered for two or more additional general education college courses.

Bringing the students to the campus to meet face-to-face with the people they’re learning from online is an important step in the on-going relationship, says Desjarlais.

UTTC partners with seven native–serving schools in the Dakotas: Turtle Mountain Community High School, St. John Public and Dunseith Public, all at Turtle Mountain; Four Winds High School and Warwick High at Spirit Lake; White Shield High School at Three Affiliated; and Tiospa Zina from the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, in South Dakota.

“We’re very encouraged by the enthusiasm we see from the students and the commitment from the schools,” says Desjarlais. “Our responsibility is to deliver high quality education and support services, and to provide encouragement. This is what increases the chance of completing high school and continuing on to college.”

For the schools, the collaboration requires specific roles and responsibilities. The schools must select high-achieving, disciplined students with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must assign an advocate to work with students and act as liaison between the two institutions. And they must set up a time when the students can work in a cohort atmosphere.

“The students are so fortunate to have good advocates at their schools,” says Desjarlais. “And we are too. They really care about their kids and helping them succeed.”

The theme of the United Tribes event was “COHORTS: PATHWAY TO SUCCESS.” The agenda incorporated Native culture, including prayer and inspiring talks by college leaders about succeeding in college by maintaining Native values.

Online faculty members gave presentations and sneak previews of courses-to-come. Of course, a tour of the campus was in order. It was no surprise the students were particularly interested in courses using technology, like the Practical Nursing program that uses a simulator with a human-like patient, the Criminal Justice program and its gun training simulator and the Welding Program with its welding simulator.

Several students were interviewed about their experience with the online dual enrollment program. Their comments were recorded and will be used on the college’s Educational Outreach website to help orient future students.

The workshop wasn’t all work, mind you. The two-day event included an evening of swimming at an indoor water park, a movie and shopping. And the door prizes were to die for: gift cards of up to $50, Blu-Ray DVD players, ROKU’s, a Nintendo 3DS XL, and WII video games.

To top it off, United Tribes previewed an opportunity to return to Bismarck in the summer. The college will host a “boot camp” aimed at succeeding on the college entrance exam, the ACT, and boosting skills in math and English. Thirty students will be selected for the two-week camp that also introduces features of college life, like staying in a student dorm and eating at the cafeteria. The July 21 to August 2 camp is made possible with a $20,000 grant from the Bank of North Dakota’s College Learning Center. Full-day sessions will be the norm and tutors will be available for one-on-one. On the fun side there will be picnics, outings to the outdoor water park (summer is on the way) and movies to see. And, yes, of course, UTTC has basketball courts too.

For more information contact Julie Desjarlais 701-255-3285 x 1374, jdesjarlais@uttc.edu.


ACT/Math/English EMPOWERMENT Boot Camp
@ United Tribes Technical College

Check-in: 5-7 p.m., Sunday, July 21
Check-out: 1-3 p.m., Friday, August 2

Various ACT preparation Math and English tests will be administered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Instructors will review the test results, go over the questions thoroughly and conduct drills. Tuesday and Thursday will be dedicated to instructor drilling, student response, and one-on-one tutorial assistance. Tutors will be available for after hour appointments.

Math 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. daily
English 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. daily

Dorm Life

  • Resident Assistants (RA’s) on 24/7
  • Strict adherence to UTTC dorm regulations
  • Curfew required

  • Cafeteria

  • Meal tickets provided for the two-week stay
  • Balanced meals prepared by A’VIANDS

  • Activities

  • Students need away time
  • Raging Rivers Water Park
  • Movie Theaters
  • UTTC Summer Activities
  • Exercise; UTTC Gym & Wellness Center
  • Picnics

  • For more information or to register, contact Julie Desjarlais 701-255-3285 x 1374, jdesjarlais@uttc.edu.


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