Growing Ute Futures
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council has envisioned an education initiative that creates a science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics curriculum that is also embedded with Ute arts, language, culture, and traditions. Since 2020, Keystone Policy Center has been working with Ute Mountain Ute leaders to make that vision a reality. This long-term initiative, known as Growing Ute Futures, creates a comprehensive educational master plan that integrates Ute arts, language, and culture into all levels of the education curriculum; provides a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, (Native) arts, and math; and offers wrap-around services to support youth and families on and off the reservation.
“Keystone Policy Center has been a valuable partner assisting the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in developing and implementing this cultural, life-long educational approach for our community,” said Manuel Heart, chairman of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council. “We are grateful for the expertise and experience they have brought to this initiative.”
In January 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Governor Polis announced that the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe would receive a grant from the Response, Innovation, and Student Equity (RISE) Fund to support the Growing Ute Futures initiative.
“This pandemic has forced us to face unimaginable challenges. What we do with our schools not only impacts our students today but shapes the future of our state for future generations. We also know the pandemic doesn’t affect students equally,” said Polis during the announcement.
Kwiyagat Community Academy
RISE grant funding for Growing Ute Futures expired in 2023 but the program has built in further development and expansion of the initiative. KCA aims to add one grade each year of approximately 15-20 students per grade over the next five years until the school enrolls 90-120 students in grades K-5. Tutoring, secondary school transitions, and language preservation programs are set to continue as additional partners and funding become available.