The Comanche Nation has been awarded almost $1 million to assist with its charter school program.

On May 4, the Comanche Academy School Board received official notification from the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC) that it was awarded a Charter School Program (CSP) grant in the amount of $900,000 to assist with the planning and implementation stages of school development, according to Jolene Schonchin, tribe information officer.

The general purpose of the CSP grant program is to provide financial assistance to those interested in “expanding/replicating existing high-quality charter schools and/or creating new charter schools based on models that have been proven to successfully increase student achievement, especially for educationally disadvantaged students.”

The Comanche Academy, a public charter school authorized by the Comanche Nation, is a place-based elementary school where the Comanche culture, language, and history are planned to be the foundation of an experiential curriculum, Schonchin said “Through a dual-language format, the charter school will nurture strong, compassionate, bilingual young people who are committed to their personal and community health, wellness, relationships and progress.”

Michael R. Figueroa was hired on April 30 during the regular school board meeting, to serve as the school’s founding principal.

A member of the Comanche Nation, Figueroa possesses a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from the University of Oklahoma and is certified through the State of Oklahoma as both a Principal and Superintendent. In 2005, he became the Founding Principal of Santa Fe South Charter Middle School in Oklahoma City and has worked there for the past 18 years.

Beginning in August 2021, the Comanche Academy will provide educational services to students in the pre-kindergarten thru first grades, Schonchin said. Every year, a higher grade level will be added to the school, so by the end of the fifth year, the school will be serving students through sixth grade. The charter school will strive to provide a culturally-sustaining and academically-rigorous education for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender or disability.

The Lawton Public School Board also recently notified Comanche Academy they have accepted Comanche Academy’s bid for the former Taft Elementary School, 1701 NW Taft.

If you are interested in enrolling your student in the Comanche Academy for August of 2021, contact: Phyllis Narcomey, Comanche Academy Facilitator via email, panarcomey@gmail.com; or call 580-919-3543

Written by Scott Rains: scott.rains@swoknews.com.

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