Back to school

By Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr.
August 1, 2021

It’s that time of year again. Summer is winding down, and back-to-school shopping for clothes and school supplies is in full swing. In fact, if you live in Oklahoma, Texas, or Arkansas, you can take advantage of the tax-free days, August 6-8, 2021.

But what I love the most about this time of the year is the Choctaw Nation’s commitment to education. The Nation offers a variety of programs to assist tribal members, regardless of where they are on their educational journey.

The Partnership of Summer School Education (POSSE) program is geared towards students in pre-K through second grade. Its main goal is to close the gap by reteaching content that students have previously failed in a culturally enriched, safe and positive atmosphere. I’m proud to share that the POSSE program had 6,100 students across 70 schools this summer.

Our high school students from grades 9-12 can participate in the High School Student Services (HSSS) Program. The HSSS goal is to assist students with academic information to promote education and/or a career path beyond high school. For the 2020-2021 school year, the HSS had a 98 percent graduation rate of in-area, participating high school seniors, and added 246 new high school tribal members to the program!

The Nation’s Higher Education Program (HEP), which began in 1984, is a scholarship and grant program designed to provide tuition assistance to enrolled Choctaw tribal members attending an accredited college, technical school or university. The program has seen an increase in enrollment since the onset of the pandemic. I’m proud to say that HEP has served more than 1,500 tribal members for this funding period.

The Career Development Program, which was established in 2007, assists more than 3,500 students each year. Its goal is to enhance the lives of Choctaw tribal members by providing education and training opportunities, that lead to industry-recognized certifications or licenses and self-sustaining employment.

The Choctaw Nation values our youth and their education. As the back-to-school season begins, I pray that all of our students have a fun, safe, and rewarding school year. If you have any questions about any of our services related to education, please contact (800) 522-6170. God bless.