Kerrie Troseth from Saint Paul Public Schools has a passion for helping American Indian youth gain valuable skillsets which help sustain and build Indigenous families and communities. She has worked closely with this group for a decade and identified summer break as a significant obstacle that diverts many students from pursuing an education. In partnership with
Right Track, a youth employment program with the City of Saint Paul, the
American Indian Family Center,
Migizi Communications, and Saint Paul College, Kerrie established the program
Four Directions. She added an ambitious goal of empowering first-generation students with life-changing support tools which would help them gain a meaningful education and build their communities.
The Four Directions Summer Pathway to Saint Paul College is a culturally responsive program for American Indian students interested in enrolling in college. The Four Directions program uses the American Indian Medicine Wheel model of mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically preparing for college. The program has numerous essential objectives for enhancing student success, for example:
- Introducing students to study skill strategies that lead to college academic success;
- Examining how identity, personal, and cultural influencers connect to life purpose;
- Establishing a safe, trusted & supportive cohort of peers to earn a comfortable sense of belonging; and
- Evaluating financial aid packages and establishing a student budget during college.
The Pathway Program is an eight-week paid internship that provides a supportive structure to pursue a college education. Students enthusiastically embraced the program and especially the navigators:
“All the navigators at the college are welcoming, engaged in our lives, and so caring. I have learned a lot about myself and feel comfortable and so supported in this special education setting!"
James Brown, (Leech Lake), 1st Generation Student
The partnership between Saint Paul Public Schools, the City of Saint Paul, and host Saint Paul College resulted in a win-win for this transformative program and the local American Indian community:
“Saint Paul College has been an amazing organization for taking my ideas for making college a more comfortable and supportive environment for our students and turning this goal into a reality in ways which bring so much hope for many first-generation students! We are excited about our ongoing partnership with Saint Paul College!"
Kerrie Troseth, Saint Paul Public School Counselor - Indian Education