School of Education Receives Gift to Fund Indigenous Teacher Preparation Scholarships

An anonymous benefactor has given $150,000 to the Syracuse University School of Education to provide scholarships for Native American students preparing to become inclusive education teachers. The School of Education Indigenous Teacher Preparation Fund will provide scholarships to at least seven undergraduate students in its first cohort, which will matriculate by the 2026-2027 academic year.

The scholarship will pay for a maximum of 30% of an individual student’s tuition. A portion of the fund will provide support for special programming and academic opportunities for Native American teacher preparation students, such as undergraduate research, conference attendance, or study away opportunities within the US.

“There is a critical need for Indigenous teachers in schools serving predominantly Indigenous communities, especially for those trained in inclusive education at the elementary level,” says Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy, Assistant Director, Partnership Programs and Indigenous Recruitment, Syracuse University. “Due to the lack of consistency and persistence in current teacher preparation programs, Indigenous students are left without adequate supports so vital to their educational journey.”

“Beyond impacting individual student-teachers, there will be a ripple effect impacting their home communities and Nations. The possibilities this gift opens for Indigenous teachers is very powerful.”
Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy

Bluewolf-Kennedy explains that young Indigenous students seeing themselves represented in their teachers—knowing they understand their cultures, histories, and ways of life—is a crucial element for academic success.

“This financial aid will fill this gap in Indigenous education and create future leaders to strengthen communities,” Bluewolf-Kennedy adds. “Beyond impacting individual student-teachers, there will be a ripple effect impacting their home communities and Nations. The possibilities this gift opens for Indigenous teachers is very powerful.”

Indigenous Teacher Preparation Fund scholarships are reserved for qualified, admitted, first-year and transfer students enrolled in any Native American nation in the US and Canada, with a preference for students from the Haudenosaunee nations. Students eligible for the Haudenosaunee Honor Scholarship and Indigenous Pathways Grant programs may apply.

Thanks to its new, streamlined undergraduate teacher preparation curriculum, Indigenous students have two inclusive education options when applying to the School of Education.

The first option is the Inclusive Childhood Education bachelor’s degree program, which leads to New York State certification in General Childhood Education (grades 1-6) and Students With Disabilities (all grades). Students may also apply for Inclusive Adolescent Education, which leads to NYS certification in Students With Disabilities (all grades) and a chosen content area (English, mathematics, science, or social studies).

“Thanks to our donor’s generosity, the Indigenous Teacher Preparation Fund is being created at an exciting time for the School of Education,” says Dean Kelly Chandler-Olcott. “Our newly designed undergraduate curriculum has the opportunity to provide unique opportunities for Indigenous students, such as the Minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Plus, the emphasis in Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan on experiential learning and study away creates new space to explore partnerships with tribal colleges and universities.”

At Syracuse University, Indigenous student teachers will find a welcoming campus community and rich academic programs with faculty, staff, and alumni who are invested in helping Native American students succeed.

Among opportunities open to all Indigenous students are the Native Student Program, which supports students in their transition to college life and throughout their undergraduate experience; Indigenous Students at Syracuse, a student-run organization; and the Indigenous Living Learning Community.

To learn more about the Indigenous Teacher Preparation Fund and other Native student supports, contact Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy, Assistant Director, Partnership Programs and Indigenous Recruitment, Syracuse University, at tbluewol@syr.edu. To learn more about the School of Education’s teacher preparation programs, contact Heather Macknik, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment, School of Education, at hmmackni@syr.edu or 315.443.4269.