All Girls Prep School Coming to Pine Ridge
By September of this year the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota may have a new all-girls college preparatory school. The school will combine college level classes, traditional culture and language in a safe, stable environment. This proven model is currently in the planning stages.
In California, the Archer School For Girls was founded in 1995 with 30 students and has grown to almost 500 students. One of the founders, Victoria Shorr-Perkins said she had heard so much about people founding schools for girls overseas. “It occurred to me after reading about Pine Ridge, maybe we could found a girls school there,” she said.
Shorr-Perkins attended a girl’s school and is a firm believer in single sex education. “When you put girls in an all-girl environment, they become capable of taking flight. If the girls from Pine Ridge could find their voice, they could reformat the justice system, they could be president, they could do anything, but they need the education,” she said.
Ethleen Iron Cloud-Two Dogs, Oglala, who served on the Bureau of Indian Affairs Advisory Board for Exceptional Children, and Deborah Bordeaux, Oglala, long-time educator and education advocate, are bringing this vision to Pine Ridge, Shorr- Perkins said. “It has to be education through empowerment. Most people who go to college and do well have been empowered since kindergarten. In many reservation schools, children have been disempowered since kindergarten.”
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