Desktop Schools Popup

American Indian Education

A high school student dances during a powwow.
The mission of the American Indian Education program is to meet the unique cultural and academic needs of our American Indian learners. Our program explores the rich indigenous heritage, history and narratives of the many American Indian tribes, and strives to restore and promote the innovation and importance of the culture. Students across the district and at all grade levels participate in programming honoring American Indians. 
Funding for the program comes from a grant under the Federal Government’s Title VI authorization and from the Minnesota Department of Education’s World’s Best Workforce initiative.

The following FREE services are offered to District 196 students enrolled in the American Indian Education Program:

  • Cultural enrichment classes for students and their families
  • Reading enrichment for elementary students
  • Seasonal cultural events for the entire family
  • Field trips and other experiential learning opportunities
  • Academic advocacy
  • Middle School Leadership Groups
  • Tutoring for High School students (see below for more details)
  • ACT Prep Courses (see below for more details)
  • College visits
  • Information for post-secondary planning (financial aid/scholarships)

Enrolling in the program

In order for students to participate in the American Indian Education program under the Federal Government Title VI eligibility, the student’s parent must complete the Title VI Student Eligibility Certification Form (506). This form is maintained at your child’s school and will not be released without your written approval. It does not need to be completed every year. For more information, visit the National Congress of American Indians website and click on “Directory” to search for tribal information. (Title VI funding only recognizes Federal tribes.)

Contact us

14301 Diamond Path
Apple Valley, MN 55124
Phone: 651-423-7890

Native American Parent Advisory Committee

Join the Native American Parent Advisory Committee (NAPAC)! The purpose of this group is to serve in an advisory capacity for planning and implementing programs and events that will support District 196 American Indian students and their families. NAPAC membership consists of parents and/or guardians of identified American Indian students attending District 196 schools, secondary student representatives and teacher representatives. Learn more about NAPAC. 

Teacher Resources

Ojibwe and Dakota Culture Trunk Check Out:

Native American Authored – Lending Library Check Out:

Questions? Call 651-423-7890 or email Lisa Turgeon at

Cultural Family Advocates

Lifetouch headshot of Jorja Valandra, cultural family advocate

Jorja Valandra

Assigned schools:

  • Apple Valley High School
  • Area Learning Center
  • Eastview High School
  • Dakota Ridge
  • Valley Middle School of STEM
  • Echo Park Elementary School
  • Greeleaf Elementary School
  • Oak Ridge Elementary School
  • Southview Elementary School
Lifetouch headshot of Lisa Turgeon, cultural family advocate

Lisa Turgeon

Assigned schools:

  • Eagan High School
  • Black Hawk Middle School
  • Dakota Hills Middle School
  • Deerwood Elementary School
  • Glacier Hills Elementary School
  • Northview Elementary School
  • Pinewood Elementary School
  • Red Pine Elementary School
  • Woodland Elementary School
Lifetouch headshot of Francisca El-Zeenny, cultural family advocate

Francisca El-Zeenny

Assigned schools:

  • School of Environmental Studies
  • Falcon Ridge Middle School
  • Scott Highlands Middle School
  • Cedar Park Elementary School
  • East Lake Elementary School
  • Highland Elementary School
  • Parkview Elementary
  • Thomas Lake Elementary School
  • Westview Elementary School
Portrait of Fonda Smith.

Fonda Smith

Assigned schools:

  • Rosemount High School
  • Rosemount Middle School
  • Diamond Path Elementary School
  • Rosemount Elementary School
  • Shannon Park Elementary School

Educational supports

ACT Prep

District 196 American Indian students planning to take the ACT college admissions test in 2020 have the opportunity to enroll in an ACT preparation course at no cost. This course is geared toward 11th grade students who will be taking the ACT exam during the school day on April 7, 2020. The course is also available to 12th grade students who plan to take the exam in 2020 and to 10th grade students who have a GPA of at least 3.0, have successfully completed a full year of Intermediate Algebra, and plan to take the exam in 2020.

Students will take an initial ACT practice test on Saturday, January 11, 2020, to get an understanding of what it is like to take the test and to help determine areas of academic strength as well as areas that need additional study and practice. Instructional classes will be on Tuesdays beginning January 14, 2020. These classes focus on tips and practice for each subject area of the test. The classes are taught by Megan Bard-Pankow, a tutor and former high school math teacher, and Donna Gibbons, an educator who provides tutoring in math and social studies to high school students. A second full practice exam will be given on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

If you are interested in participating in the ACT preparation course with the 196 American Indian Education Program, please sign up using this link: ACT Prep sign up. This will provide us with your name and contact information. (See prep dates below in our Upcoming Events calendar.)

All participants and a parent or guardian must attend the ACT/FAFSA INFORMATION NIGHT on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the District Service Center (DSC), 14301 Diamond Path West, Apple Valley. A light meal will be served.


District 196 seniors who identify as American Indian are invited to participate in an special honoring ceremony at the end of the school year. The honoring event includes recognition of student academic achievement and graduation from high school, along with the pinning of the medicine wheel by their families.  

The honoring ceremony the 2019-20 school year is currently being planned. To volunteer on the planning committee or for information about being involved, please contact the District 196 American Indian Education Program at 651-423-7882 or 651-423-7912.

Progress Monitoring

The American Indian Education staff works closely with the school social workers at the elementary level and the school counselors at the secondary level to monitor progress for the students in the program. Also, we believe strong partnerships with our native families is an important part of students' success. If you believe your student could benefit from being on the formal progress monitoring system, please contact the American Indian Education Office.


Tutoring services are offered primarily for high school students who want to raise or maintain grades in required subject areas and some electives. Students must be recommended for tutoring through the American Indian Education student progress monitoring system. Students and/or parents can also request tutoring by completing the Request for Tutoring form or by calling the American Indian Education Office at  651-423-7882 or 651-423-7912.

Tutoring sessions can be scheduled for after school or during the school day during non-class time such as study hall or lunch. It is important for students who participate in the program come to tutoring sessions prepared and ready to work. They should maintain communication by confirming session times and notifying tutors if they will be absent.

Upcoming events