Scientific Knowledge for Indian Learning and Leadership (SKILL) Program; Now known as South Dakota GEAR UP Honors Program

The Scientific Knowledge for Indian Learning and Leadership (SKILL) Program at Oglala Lakota College was established in 1989. This precollege program addresses academic support and career guidance for a large number of students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The program indicates an excellent record of influencing transition into post-secondary institutions. The high school graduation rate among participants is 100 percent. Complementing this record is an ACT performance average which exceeds the national average. SKILL's participants have also received several local and national awards. There is evidence that the SKILL's model for academic reinforcement and support has attracted the attention of other academic institutions. SKILL has reached a relatively large number of American Indian students (3,000), fostering their interest in math and science. The program shows good success in student retention and transition to college from high school. Twenty of the 24 original first year students graduated from the SKILL program in 1996 and all applied for admission to a university and identified a major in science or engineering. The strengths of the nominee include: . Continuity of focus on Native Americans is clear and very distinctive. . Early and sustained intervention. . Demonstrated staff dedication and leadership. . Holistic approach to supplemental learning that covers elementary through high school students. . Large number of experiments flown on space shuttle missions. . Promotion of dual course enrollment. . Summer residential activity for eligible high school students. In summary, this is a holistic approach to supplemental learning. The program intervenes at key grade levels at which precollege students encounter difficulty in science and mathematics. This latter activity has the potential of influencing systemic change.