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WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 26, 2013, 09:54 PM

MinnCAN: Detroit Lakes accomplishment

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - For years, Native American students in our region have experienced every kind of challenge when it comes to school.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - For years, Native American students in our region have experienced every kind of challenge when it comes to school.

From mandatory boarding schools years ago to troubled reservation schools and today; fitting in with predominantly white schools.

Great gains have been made, but more work is left to be done.

Eighth-grader AJ St. Clair is one of those model students: A family involved in his education, a kid with good grades and a love of history, especially Native American History around Detroit Lakes.

AJ St. Clair- Detroit Lakes Middle School: “That is what my grandpa specialized in was Native history and the White Earth tribe. My favorite is Social Studies.”

Today, AJ and other native students here at the Detroit Lakes middle school are the talk of the town. An education policy “think tank” curious as to what works here: High test scores for young Native Americans, and popular successful cultural programs; Ojibwe language, drum and dance lessons.

Tara Mason- Parent of Student: “To see these test scores come in so high; I am so proud and excited.”

We talked to some of the middle school students here and they understand why their middle school is number one: Their fair treatment of all students.

Mason: “There is no bias. It is all equal.”

The nonprofit group hopes to learn what works so well here in Detroit Lakes and share it with other schools in the state.

The non-profit is keeping a daily blog about its visits to other Minnesota schools. We have made a link to that at wday.com.

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