A Commitment to Education
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Academy was founded in 1997 and first opened its doors to students in the fall of 1998. Initially named Yocha-De-He Preparatory School, the Academy was created to fill the need for an alternative academic experience that would provide quality preparation for higher education while incorporating the Tribe’s culture, traditions and history into the curriculum.
Originally offering preschool through elementary grades, the Academy added an Independent Studies program for 7th through 12th grades in 2021 and was fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ Accrediting Commision for Schools in February 2022. This accreditation supports the Tribe’s commitment to excellence in education and the development of its youth as future leaders (see Yocha Dehe Wintun Academy’s Graduate Profile).
Guided by the Tribe’s Strategic Plan for Education, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Academy School Board is charged with creating and maintaining a rigorous and unique academic program that instills values necessary for success in today’s world while still holding to the Tribe’s core human values by preserving its language, critically examining its history, and engaging students in its cultural traditions. The Academy’s mission holds as its goals:
- Define our general academic goals and delineate specific curricular foci
- Establish a culture that instills respect and love for life-long learning
- Involve parents actively, expecting and honoring that they must advocate for their children who will become tomorrow’s Tribal leaders
- Weave the Tribe’s culture and language in both regular academic programs and extra-curricular activities
- Adopt “best practices” gleaned from discovering what succeeds in other non-traditional educational programs, especially those in other Native American K-12 schools
- Engage the Capay Community in the environmental restoration of Tribal land via culturally relevant education programs about the local ecology
- Build synergistic partnerships with area colleges and universities to enhance educational opportunities for both parties
- Require Yocha Dehe Program Directors to give students a rich understanding of all Tribal enterprises, thus exposing them to their future civic roles and professional opportunities in these matters
- Carry out rigorous and objective program evaluations and be guided by their results
- Report on the Academy’s experiences to other educators and to the lay public via presentations and writings in various forums, local and national