Jones Academy Photo Courtesy of Jones Academy

Jones Academy is a residential school for grades 1-12, tribally controlled by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Jones Academy students scored among the highest in recent testing by the Bureau of Indian Education and the Northwest Evaluation Association, ranking 4th in math and 6th in reading out of 147 schools across the nation.

Jones Academy a positive influence for Native youth after 130 years of operation

By Shelia Kirven
August 1, 2021

Jones Academy was founded in 1891 by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, one of the first tribes to build its own school. The facility was named after Mississippi-born Choctaw Chief Wilson N. Jones. Jones had traveled with his own family over the Trail of Tears and was a strong advocate for his tribe’s people to become educated.

Situated on 540 acres near Hartshorne, in southeastern Oklahoma’s Ouachita Mountain range, Jones Academy began as a school for boys. However, in 1955 when the Wheelock Academy, a Native American girls’ school near Millerton closed, it received approximately 55 girls who were transferred in. Jones Academy then became a co-educational boarding facility.

Students who lived at Jones Academy attended Hartshorne Public Schools as early as 1952 when the Bureau of Indian Affairs ceased funding of academic and vocational activities at most Indian boarding schools.

In 1972, the Choctaw Nation became the first Native American tribe to operate a tribally controlled grant school. The Tribe then later contracted the school in 1985 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

A $10 Million state-of-the-art elementary academic facility was constructed on the campus in 2008, and in 2012 it became a BIE (Bureau of Indian Education) elementary school under the authority of the Tribe. The elementary school educates students in grades 1-6, while older students attend school at Hartshorne public school.

All students are members of a federally recognized Indian tribe. Approximately 200 students attend Jones Academy each year without cost.

Jones Academy’s mission is to create an ideal or prototype learning community within the larger geographics 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. Not only do students at Jones Academy receive outstanding academic educations, but they are also immersed in cultural and recreational activities.

If you would like more information on Jones Academy, please visit or call (888) 767-2518.

For enrollment information, visit or email [email protected]

To donate to the Jones Academy Fund, visit


Jones Academy
Photo Courtesy of Jones Academy

Jones Academy, was established and 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.