About Jones Academy
Our Mission Statement:
" Transforming the learning experience through effort and design to produce a special setting where students are provided the care, attention, resources, and success-oriented experiences that promote their development into independent, self-directed successful adults. "
A Better Future For American Indian Students
Jones Academy is five mile northeast of Hartshorne, Oklahoma nestled among 540 acres of rolling pasture and trees at the foot of the Pocahontas Mountains in southeastern Oklahoma’s Ouachita Mountain range. Since its founding in 1891, Jones has always been a residential learning center, though programs have changed over the years.
The campus features two bright, modern dormitory buildings (boys and girls) each divided into elementary and secondary wings. The academy also includes a cafeteria, counseling center, museum, air conditioned gym with full basketball court and weight room and, of course, the new elementary academic facility.
Jones students come from as many as 29 different American Indian tribes, though the two largest populations, due to proximity, are Choctaw and Muscogee (Creek). A great number of Jones students come from lower socioeconomic areas, single parent families, and a highly challenged environment.
Proud History of Education
The Choctaw - a quiet, kind people - lived in present day Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Their rural, agrarian life changed in the late 1700s due to the impact of white settlement. To co-exist, the Choctaw tried to understand and adopt the new ways.
Beginning as early as 1821, the Choctaw were one of the first tribes to build schools and provide education for their people.
Desire for Indian lands grew. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act and the Choctaw were the first moved to present-day Oklahoma in 1830 by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Over 20,000 Choctaw began the journey. Thousands died in what would later be called by Choctaw leaders as a “Trail of Tears and Death.”
Missionaries sent to Oklahoma assisted the Indians. The Choctaw accepted an alien religion, constitution and legal system. Almost immediately they began building schools.
One school, established in 1891, was named after a Choctaw Chief born in Mississippi, who traveled with his family to Oklahoma over the Trail of Tears. Chief Wilson N. Jones had little formal education, but believed strongly that education would help his tribe.
In 1952, the Bureau of Indian Affairs ceased funding academic and vocational activities at most Indian boarding schools. Jones Academy students began attending the Hartshorne Public Schools. Wheelock Academy, a non-reservation girls’ boarding school near Millerton in McCurtain County, was closed in 1955 after having been in operation since 1839. Approximately fifty-five girls transferred to Jones Academy. For the first time since its beginning in 1891, Jones Academy became a co-educational boarding dormitory.
With the Indian Self Determination and Education Act (1972) and further legislation, the Choctaw Nation became the first American Indian tribe to operate a tribally controlled grant school. Known as a peripheral dormitory school, Jones Academy students are still part of the Hartshorne School District.
Jones Academy has the central task of creating an ideal or prototype learning community within the larger geographical and social community for Choctaw and other Native American youth.
The emphasis is on transforming the learning experience through effort and design to produce a special setting where students are provided the care, attention, resources, and success-oriented experiences that promote their development into independent, self-directed successful adults.
Jones Academy’s campus features two bright, modern dormitory buildings (boys and girls) each divided into elementary and secondary wings. The academy also includes a cafeteria, counseling center, museum, air conditioned gym with full basketball court and weight room and, of course, the new elementary academic facility.
The dormitory program is designed to aid the student in developing habits and routines necessary for successful living. Students are required to exemplify appropriate social standards, be able to relate with other students and staff, and willingly share in the task of keeping the dormitory clean and orderly. Students are also expected to assist in keeping their campus home in top running order.
Jones Academy also houses an alternative school for students whose needs are not met in the traditional classroom or who are behind in grade level. Teachers in this school are able to provide every student with individualized attention with a self-paced curriculum and small class size.
The Choctaw Nation takes great pride in Jones Academy, from its beautiful rural setting to the success stories of so many young American Indians that were educated here. We foresee many future local, tribal, and national leaders produced by this school. We hope that you will join us in paving a way for them.
Reviving the Jones Academy Academic Program
$10 Million State-of-the-Art Elementary Academic Facility
On September 4, 2008, after many years, and the generosity of numerous donors and friends, Jones Academy dedicated its new Elementary Academic Building – a state-of-the-art facility for students in grades 1-6. The cost of providing such a facility is significant. In addition to its $10 million initial investment in the building, the Choctaw Nation provides $250,000 per year toward its operating expenses.
A State-Of-The-Art Education Facility
Much thought and planning went into the 40,273 sq. ft. facility’s design.
To conserve energy, the building is heated and cooled by a highly efficient geothermal HVAC system which takes maximum advantage of the earth’s stable ground temperature.
To protect occupants against Oklahoma’s severe weather, the building includes strategically located safe rooms capable of accommodating the entire building population.
Cultural esthetics were included. The building’s curved corridor represents the circle of education. The location of grades within the building wings is symbolic of the sun. The youngest grades are in the east wing, closest to the rising sun. Older grades are located progressively to the west representing movement of the sun as it grows older in the sky during the day.
Impressive Classroom and Facility Design Features