We face some very unique challenges. Our students live in an environment of poverty and often times despair. Approximately 50% of the tribe faces unemployment. Lumber is the number one industry on this reservation and devastating forest fires over the last two summers have destroyed over 50% of their crop. There are very few opportunities for employment on this reservation. In addition, our families struggle with a generational cycle of substance abuse. Native Americans have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the United States.
During the 1999-2000 school year, 16 students committed suicide at the public high school with an enrollment of fewer than 800 students. We have the answer for the hopelessness and despair these young Apache kids are facing…Jesus Christ!
Our No Excuses Curriculum
Even though East Fork is located 6,000 feet up in the mountains, the culture here is very similar to an inner city environment. To help combat this we have adopted a curriculum that has been very successful in inner city areas, called a “No excuses curriculum”. The premise for this curriculum is that our students are very capable of learning, but they need to be taught the skills for success, held to a high standard and then given the nurture and support to accomplish their goals.
We do this through:
All of the above revolve around a Christ-centered curriculum which prepares our students for this life and the next.
We now have have six Apache called workers at East Fork. The Holy Spirit is preparing His Apache people for lives of service to Him and to others.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
We are seeing some very exciting results from our new educational approach as well. Our 9th graders scored in the top 80% of the students in Arizona on their last standardized test. The Apache kids are very capable, but they do need to be taught the skills in order to be successful.
There are approximately 500 reservations in the United States. Typically, about 5% of Native Americans profess to be Christian. On our Whiteriver reservation about 50% of the Apache profess to be Christian. However, we still have plenty of work to do. Who better to reach out to the Native American on those other reservations than fellow Native Americans? The great commission was given to our Apache people as well. We are seeing their heart for service, but they must continue to have opportunities to train their families in God’s Word on a daily basis. East Fork Lutheran School exists to teach our Apache students about their Savior’s plan for salvation and how they can help share that good news with the world!