The American Indian Academy of Denver—a first-of-its-kind charter school in Colorado that taught an Indigenous-focused curriculum—closed on June 2. The school’s final weeks were captured in a thoughtful video created by Denver’s Office of Storytelling.
For several years, the American Indian Academy of Denver was a valuable and needed learning environment for students, particularly Indigenous students, in the Denver metro area.
It was an innovative autonomous school that welcomed and affirmed its students and provided a culturally responsive curriculum. It sparked for students an interest in learning, an understanding of their culture, and a strong bond in their community.
“We’ve ignited that flame in (our students),” said Terri Bissonette, the school’s founder. “Whether we’re open or closed, they’ll be able to take that anywhere.”
We’re grateful to the educators who served at the American Indian Academy of Denver. They created something truly special for students in Denver. We’re hopeful that Denver Public Schools will identify areas it can partner with the educators who founded and sustained the school, replicate the academy’s curriculum, and provide a more inclusive, welcoming environment for Indigenous students in schools throughout the district.