PSU awarded $1.2 million* for Native American education

aitpThe Graduate School of Education (GSE) has just been awarded a grant in the amount of $1.2 million from the US Department of Education Office of Indian Education (OIE) to recruit and prepare Native American students for teaching licensure and master’s degrees over the next four years.

This is the third OIE professional development grant received by Portland State University (PSU) in six years. The first award, received in 2010, established the American Indian Teacher Preparation program (AITP).

“I am elated,” said Project Director Maria Tenorio. “I think this grant will help us sustain a lot of the work we want to continue with Oregon tribes—in fact, some of our first teachers are now ready to accept student teachers!”

Micki Caskey, associate dean and principal investigator on the grant, praised the AITP’s success. “The Graduate School of Education is honored to receive our third award from the Office of Indian Education. This American Indian Teacher Program award allows us to build on our proud and long-standing relationships with Oregon’s tribal nations. Our partnerships with the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz and the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians will continue to benefit the tribal and non-Native communities alike.”

PSU is the largest school of education in the state, and the Portland metro area has the largest Native American population in Oregon, yet very few Native Americans are represented among the ranks of Oregon’s 33,000 teachers. Since 2011, a total of 17 Native American educators from many tribes and nations have graduated from the AITP program. While the number 17 seems relatively small, it represents a significant increase in the number of Native American teachers in Oregon’s workforce, which is currently fewer than 1%.

Tenorio is assisted by Quang Phan and Cornel Pewewardy, director of Indigenous Nation Studies at PSU, who continues to serve as the program liaison. More information on AITP can be found on the website The AITP office is located in 290A of the Graduate School of Education, in the Fourth Avenue Building.

For more information about the AITP program, contact Maria Tenorio, or Quang Phan,

*A previous version of this story reported an amount of $873,113 thousand dollars.

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