Curriculum Pillars

Nations collaborates with high school and university administrators, as well as community leaders (such as tribal liaisons), to create student programming that is relevant to the community’s need for future professionals. Through this collaboration, the following central themes or “pillars” were created and inform all curriculum development and programming:

Strengthening The Scholar’s Spirit

  • Appreciation for scholarship and lifelong learning
  • Respect for diversity and other ways of knowing
  • Self-discovery and expression
  • Appreciation for the arts
  • Community activism and advocacy
  • Time management and personal organization
  • Leadership

Scholars are provided the tools, knowledge and experience needed to move from a “fixed-mindset” to a “growth-mindset” and to envision themselves as lifelong learners and the future stewards, guardians, members and scholars of their community.  This pillar was designed based upon the research and publications of the Native American Advisory Board, WSU (“Visionary Leadership for Nation Building,” 2012) and “Growth Mindset” (Carol Dweck, Stanford University).

Healthy, Active Living

  • Nutrition and Physical Fitness
  • Recreation
  • Social engagement
  • Connection with the natural world
  • Mindfulness and balance

Scholars are provided with instruction and practical experience in leading healthy, active lifestyles designed for wellness, vigor and longevity. Emphasis is placed on eating wholesome, real food on a student budget and incorporating movement and recreation into everyday life. This pillar draws from the conceptual framework of the University of Idaho’s College of Education.

Resource Management

  • Preservation of tribal sovereignty
  • Community based economic development
  • Agriculture and agribusiness
  • Forest and wildlife resources
  • Fire ecology and management
  • Water, renewable materials and energy

Scholars are provided with academic and career knowledge and skills associated with managing resources in their home communities. This pillar was designed in collaboration with our community partners as a community-driven STEM and economic development component of the curriculum.

Communication Studies

  • Broadcasting & digital Media
  • Interpersonal and Intercultural communications
  • Statistics and bias

Scholars are provided with knowledge, strategies and practical experience using a variety of modes of communication, including oral, written and visual. Due to the dynamic nature of our interconnected, global economy, information technology and intercultural competence are the primary focus of this pillar.

Skills For College and Career Success

  • College and career selection
  • Financial literacy
  • Study skills (testing, research, time management)
  • Time management
  • Self-advocacy

Scholars are provided with knowledge, skills and goal setting associated with preparing for and determining the best career and college path.  Scholars are encouraged to choose a college or university that fits their personal goals, academic strengths and financial needs.  The ultimate goal is to prepare scholars for successful completion of college.


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