NCEF Resource List: School Design for Indigenous Cultures
NCEF - National Clearinghouse for Education 

MY PAGE   |  
Filter Results
Show from to present
Show from to present
Show all citations
Show Abstracts
Hide Abstracts

Information on the condition, design, and funding of school facilities for Native American, First Nations, Aborigine, and other indigenous cultures worldwide, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

References to Books and Other Media

Sustainability Initiatives at the Tribal Colleges
Kuslikis, Al; Mitchell, Beau
(Second Nature, Feb 07, 2012)
Describes the efforts of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and its Tribal College and University membership to actively engage in promoting sustainability both on their campuses and within the communities they serve.

Replacement and Repair of Indian Schools.
(Department of Health and Human Services, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Item 15.062, Washington, DC, 2011)
The objective of this program is to provide safe, functional, code-compliant, economical, and energy-efficient education facilities for American Indian students attending Bureau of Indian Affairs owned or funded primary and secondary schools and/or residing in Bureau owned or funded dormitories. This document includes elegibility requirements, financial and administrative information, contacts, assistance considerations, and post assistance requirements. 5p

The Green School: Not a Dream Anymore.
Profiles The Green School in Bali, Indonesia. The idea behind the conceptualized school is that the students would learn in the open air surrounded by nature that they feed and care for. They learn to build with bamboo while studying for the British school exams. The center of the school, called the Heart of School, ranks as Asia’s largest bamboo building. This high school was built by the same people who made the local jail and the insane asylum, with the same materials. The school has attracted "green" housing, industry, and community growth.

Preparation of Low Cost Solutions for the School Construction Programme in Mozambique. Adobe PDF
Graf, Gerhard; Marrufo, Antonio; Braehmig, Jochen
(Comportements and Authors, Lausanne, Switzerland , 2010)
Describes Mozambique's Plan for Education and Culture (PEEC), undertaken in 2006. One of the objectives of PEEC is to promote access to primary education through expansion of the school network. Therefore, it is envisaged that approximately 6000 classrooms be built including teacher houses and related infrastructure per year until 2015. The challenge is to find designs for nationwide application in Mozambique that allow low cost solutions and at the same time consider other methods to conventional construction. A flexible standard design concept with a basic durable and simple structure, which allows design variations for different local requirements is proposed. A crucial element for the design, applicable for all variations, is to clearly state the minimum standards for its function as a school building. The basic design of a classroom building, can be adapted by adding proposed design variations, for example glass windows, mosquito netting and electrical illumination for evening classes. The buildings can be upgraded to a rural secondary school. The flexible design options cover the various climatic conditions within Mozambique. The design also includes the option of rain water collection for locations with difficult geological conditions for boreholes. The architectural concept considers the use of locally available, low cost materials and offers solutions for sites with difficult access and environmental conditions. 10p.

Architectural Quality in Planning and Design of Schools: Current Issues with Focus on Developing Countries. Adobe PDF
Knapp, Eberhard; Noschis, Kaj, eds.
(Comportements and Authors, Lausanne, Switzerland , 2010)
This volume contains the proceedings of the 13th Architecture & Behavior Colloquium, bringing. It brought together researchers, designers, consultants and decision makers on educational facilities. Representatives from countries in Africa, the Middle-East, Europe, and the United States took part. The eleven presentations included in the proceedings cover the following topics: 1) Research on the interrelation between the quality of educational facilities and students' learning performance; 2) Educational architecture that enhances learning and social processes: examples of successful design projects, and 3) Educational architecture in developing countries: standard designs vs. site-specific, individual designs. 108p.

Basic Education (Girls) Project (BEGP) in Laos People's Democratic Republic. Adobe PDF
Schwitter, Daniel
(Comportements and Authors, Lausanne, Switzerland , 2010)
Profiles this project by which 504 schools and 52 district education offices have been built in remote areas of Laos considered to be below the poverty line. The overall objective is general primary education by 2015 for children in Laos, providing access to at least five years of education for all children in the country. The project is enabling access to modern primary education for 75, 000 children. The communities were required to make some contributions to the construction of their schools. They were typically required to provide land for the site, fencing to surround the site, and to ensure the maintenance of the building. Involving the community in this way not only saves on costs, but also provides an important indicator of the commitment of the community to run and maintain the school, and it strengthens the sense of ownership. Also discussed is the simple module that serves as architectural basis for the school projects. The module's characteristics make it site-specifically adaptable in terms of number of modules and construction materials. 6p.

Indian Affairs Funded Schools in Poor Condition As Indicated by Facility Condition Index (FCI). Adobe PDF
(U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, DC , Dec 31, 2009)
Lists 64 Bureau of Indian Affairs that are in poor condition, their facility condition index, and the estimated project cost to bring them to acceptable condition. 2p.

School Facilities: Physical Conditions in School Districts Receiving Impact Aid for Students Residing on Indian Lands. Adobe PDF
Ashby, Cornelia M.; Dorn, Terrell G.
(US Government Accountability Office. Report to the Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs, U.S. Senate. GAO-10-32 , Oct 2009)
The Department of Education's (Education) Impact Aid Program provides funding to school districts that are adversely impacted by a lack of local revenue because of the presence of federal land, which is exempt from local property taxes. Impact Aid can be used for school expenses, such as facilities and teacher salaries. In response to concern about school facility conditions and concern that these conditions can affect student outcomes, GAO was asked to describe (1) the physical condition of schools in districts receiving Impact Aid because of students residing on Indian lands and (2) what is known about how school facilities affect student outcomes. GAO interviewed federal, state, and local officials; analyzed available independent school facility assessment data for three states; visited eight school districts that receive Impact Aid; and analyzed studies examining the relationship between school facilities and student outcomes. 46p

$59.4 Million In Recovery Act Funding Available For Elementary And Secondary School Construction Projects At Federal Impact Aid Communities.
Rissetto, Christopher L.;Helland, Robert; Mehfoud, Kathleen: and Lacy, D. Patrick
(Reed Smith, Sep 09, 2009)
The Department of Education announced the availability of $59.4 million in grants under the Impact Aid Discretionary Construction Program funding for public elementary and secondary school facilities that enroll federally connected children, including children living on Indian lands. These projects fall in two areas: 1) emergency repair projects that address threats to the health and/or safety of students and staff, such as the need for upgraded fire alarm systems; 2) modernization projects that either help address enrollment concerns, such as the construction of new classrooms, or support educational programs, such as the construction of a science laboratory.

Preserving the Rich History of the Blackfeet Nation.
Poor, Sharon
(, Orange, CA , Sep 08, 2009)
Profiles Montana's new Browning High School. The facility integrates Blackfeet Indian native culture into every aspect of the design, including the orientation of the main entrance facing the east, and a canopy resembling the shape of a tipi. The Sun, Moon, Big Dipper, Pleiades, and Morning Star are all honored in the buildings orientation and interior design. A circular seating pattern in the classrooms continue the Tribe s tradition of storytelling and creates a more meaningful learning environment, improving curriculum, and teaching methods that support Blackfeet cultural ways in a modern society. 1p.

2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom.
(Architecture for Humanity, Open Architecture Network, San Francisco, CA, 2009)
Presents over 300 school designs from teams made up of architects, students, and teachers, along with detail on the award winnders. The economical designs are intended developing and under-funded areas, with an emphasis on affordability, sustainability, and portable or modular construction.

Druk White Lotus School,
(DesignShare, Minneapolis, MN , 2009)
Profiles the award-winning Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, India. The primary and secondary school is a model for green design, using local materials assembled by local craftsmen, and taking advantage of natural ventilation and abundant solar radiation. 3p.

School Construction Strategies for Universal Primary Education in Africa: Should Communities Be Empowered to Build Their Schools?
(World Bank Publications, Washington, DC , 2009)
Examines the scope of the infrastructure challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa and the constraints to scaling up at an affordable cost. It assesses the experiences of African countries with school planning, school facility designs, and construction techniques, procurement and implementation arrangements over the past thirty years. It reviews the roles of the various actors in the implementation process : central and deconcentrated administrations, local governments, agencies, social funds, NGOs, and local communities. The book draws lessons on promising approaches to enable African countries to scale up the facilities required to achieve the goal of complete quality primary education for all children at the lowest marginal cost. 288p.

Final Convening Report: Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Bureau of Indian Affairs-Funded School Facilities Construction. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington , Mar 05, 2008)
Based on interviews with tribal and school representatives in all 21 Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) offices, this report details findings on the condition, cataloging, funding for repair and renovation, funding for new construction, contracting and project management, and the negotiated rulemaking concerning schools on tribal lands. Also detailed are recommendations for improving the system, especially concerning fair representation of tribes and improved communication. 77p.

Druk White Lotus School.
Nov 29, 2007
Profiles the award-winning Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, India. The primary and secondary school is a model for green design, using local materials assembled by local craftsmen, and taking advantage of natural ventilation and abundant solar radiation.

METI School of Rudrapur, Bangladesh.
Kriscenski, Ali
(, Sep 06, 2007)
Profiles this award-winning hand-built school that showcases sustainable design practices and locally sensitive architecture. The school fuses local knowledge, readily available renewable materials, and new construction techniques to maintain a traditional identity while embracing modernity in both its form and purpose.

Detailed Information on the Bureau of Indian Affairs K-12 School Construction Assessment.
(U.S. Office of Management and Budget,, Washington, DC , 2007)
Reports on progress and remaining challenges in the Bureau of Indian Affairs K-12 School Construction program. Improvements include the Secretary of the Interior's authority to assume control of problematic projects, development of a Space Criteria Handbook to clarify consistent space requirements for new construction, and implementation of a standardized design format to speed up construction. The program still lacks the ability to quickly move funds from stalled projects to projects that could start immediately, and cost estimates fell short for projects funded from fiscal years 2001 through 2007. Steps being taken to improve the program include seeking Congressional approval to either rescind the current Replacement School Priority List or to grant BIA the ability to reprioritize the list or offer alternative projects, developing a long-term master plan for the BIA school system in consultation with the tribes. 15p.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time.
Mortenson, Greg; Relin, David Oliver
(Penguin Books, 2007)
Describes Greg Mortenson's dangerous and difficult mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, in the wildest parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. 349p.

Navajo Architect Collaborates on Modular School Honoring Native American Culture.
Walley, Catherine
(Modular Building Institute, Charlotteville, VA , 2007)
Briefly describes Arizona's Shonto Preparatory School, a small modular high school that serves Navajo students in the north central part of the state. The design process included guidance from a Navajo Architect practicing neo-traditional native American architecture to create culturally significant design elements throughout the building interior and exterior. 2p.

Tribal Child Care Facilities: A Guide to Construction and Renovation. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC , 2006)
Provides technical assistance to address major areas of the process of creating or renovating a child care facility on tribal lands, including conducting a child care community needs assessment, site selection, financing, developing a business plan for the facility, conducting an environmental assessment, planning and design, hiring a contractor, and overseeing the project. A glossary, list of additional resources, and directory of federal contacts is included. 87p.

Building Culture, Druk White Lotus School: A Sustainable Model for Education and Design.
Carter, Brian
(State University of New York, University at Buffalo, School of Architecture and Planning , 2006)
Profiles this school in the remote Himalayan village of Shey, the product of an international consortium of planners and designers. Careful consideration was given to sustainability and accommodation of an educational program that incorporates necessary modern literacy and skills with traditional Tibetan Buddhist principles. 72p.

Baca/Dlo'ay azhi Community School [Prewitt, NM]
(U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program, Sep 2005)
The Baca Dlo'ay azhi Community School, located on the Navajo Nation reservation in Prewitt, New Mexico, serves students in kindergarten through grade six. The building incorporates Native American cultural concepts including an orientation that reflects the meanings associated with the four cardinal directions. The name means "little prairie dog" in Navajo. This case study describes environmental aspects of the school, the building program, process, and team.

Design Guidelines for Developing Countries. Adobe PDF
Holycross, Amanda
(Council of Educational Facility Planners International, Scottsdale, AZ , Jun 2005)
Describes lessons learned by the Schools for the Children of the World while developing schools in Honduras. These lessons apply to the development of schools in typically poor and rural settings. Advice is offered on selecting sites, building materials, classroom size, support spaces, and building layouts. 4p.

1,000 Schools in Afghanistan: How Education Can Reshape a Country.
Hallet, Stanley; Fulgham, Alonzo; Kearley, Gregory
(American Institute of Architects, Commmittee on Architecture for Education, Washington, DC , Spring 2005)
Describes efforts to stabilize Afghanistan through rebuilding schools with federal grants and improving the status of women's education. Architecture professor Stanley Hallett discusses the relationship of architecture and culture, based on his experience in Afghanistan in 1972. Alonzo Fulgham, U.S. Agency for International Development, reports on AID's efforts to construct schools in Afghanistan. Architect Greg Kearley explains the process for designing an Afghan women's development center. 3p.

America's Schools Use Wind Energy to Further Their Goals. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Dept. of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Washington, DC , Aug 2004)
Summarizes the work of seven school districts in seven states, as well as efforts in three native American community colleges, to harness wind energy. 2p.

Baca Dlo' Ay Azhi Consolidated Replacement School.
(Dyron Murphy Architects, Albuquerque, NM , 2004)
Describes this New Mexico school oriented to face one of four mountains sacred to the Navajo Dine people, and also possessing four wings that address the culture's four sacred directions. 2p.

First Mesa Elementary School and Housing.
(Dyron Murphy Architects, Albuquerque, NM , 2004)
Describes this Hopi Tribe school that was designed by a Native American-owned firm. The facility reflects Hopi culture and has received LEED certification. 2p.

Mariano Lake Community School.
(Dyron Murphy Architects, Albuquerque, NM , 2004)
Describes renovations to this Navajo Nation school, designed by a Native American-owned firm, and including a new library and gymnasium. 2p.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools: Expenditures in Selected Schools Are Comparable to Similar Public Schools, but Data Are Insufficient to Judge Adequacy of Funding and Formulas. Adobe PDF
(U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington, DC , Sep 2003)
Reports that the Dept. of Interior, which administers Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Schools, does not collect and therefore has little data on which to base its school budgets. The researchers learned that BIA schools spent less on instruction and more on facilities than comparable public schools, and their transportation budgets did not cover actual costs. However, the goal of determining adequacy of these funding formulas was not achieved due to lack of data. 57p.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools: New Facilities Management Information System Promising, but Improved Data Accuracy Needed. Adobe PDF
(General Accounting Office, Washington, D.C. , Jul 2003)
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for providing over 48,000 children with a safe place to learn. In response to concerns that data in its old information system did not accurately reflect the condition of facilities, BIA acquired a new system, called the Facilities Management Information System (FMIS). GAO was asked to determine whether FMIS addresses the old system's weaknesses and meets BIA's management needs, whether BIA has finished validating the accuracy of data entered into FMIS from the old system, and how well the quality control measures are working for ensuring the accuracy of new data being entered into the system from individual schools. 39p.

Title 25--Indians,Chapter 22--Bureau of Indian Affairs Programs Sec. 2005. Facilities Construction
(U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC , 2003)
This section of 2002 federal legislation calls for assessment of tribal school facility conditions, estimates of repair costs, funding formulas to meet the need, a long-term construction and replacement plans, regular maintenance programs, and closures and consolidation at sites deemed hazardous enough to warrant immediate action. 7p.

BIA and DOD Schools: Student Achievement and Other Characteristics Often Differ from Public Schools. Report to Congressional Requesters. Adobe PDF
(General Accounting Office, Washington, DC, Sep 2001)
The federal government has direct responsibility for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) school systems. This report provides information on student academic performance, teacher staffing, access to educational technology, condition of facilities, and expenditure levels in BIA and DOD schools. In addition to examining low student achievement, this GAO study gives considerable attention to deficiencies in the quality and safety of some BIA school buildings. This report estimates that the backlog of deferred maintenance and repair work on BIA school facilities would cost nearly $1 billion to address. 79p

Native American Education Improvement Act. Adobe PDF
(Hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs on S. 211 To Amend the Education Amendments of 1978 and the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988 To Improve Education for Indians, Native Hawaiians, and Alaskan Natives. United States Senate, One Hundred Seventh Congress, First Session. , Mar 14, 2001)
A U.S. Senate committee hearing received testimony on proposed amendments to the Education Amendments of 1978 and the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988. The amendments deal with accreditation and academic standards for Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools, facilities standards for BIA school dormitories, geographical attendance area boundaries for BIA schools, instructions to the General Accounting Office to conduct a national survey of the physical condition of all BIA-funded school facilities, facilities construction priorities and funding, federal funding formulas for BIA schools, administrative cost grants, establishment of a Division of Budget Analysis within the BIA's Office of Indian Education Programs (OIEP), the system of uniform direct funding and support for BIA schools, policy for Indian control of Indian education, school board training, hiring and qualifications of Indian education personnel, discharge and conditions of employment of educators, compensation or salaries for teachers and counselors, early childhood development programs, tribal departments of education, grants to tribally controlled schools, and eligibility for such grants. Statements and testimony were received from U.S. senators, the director of OIEP, and representatives of national and tribal organizations concerned with Indian education. Additional materials include details of educational facilities needs, estimated construction costs, and photographs of facilities on the Tohono O'odham Nation. 283p.

Building Indigenous Learning Communities.
Schwab, R.G. and Sutherland, D.
(Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University. , 2001)
This paper proposes the building of Indigenous learning communities as an avenue to address the limited engagement of Indigenous Australians with education. It explores educational policy and program options for linking families, schools and communities (including business and government) to identify and address local needs through drawing upon local resources. It provides a range of examples that have as their fundamental ideology the reinstatement of the school as the hub of the community, as an institution able to be more responsive to community needs and, as such, more able to effectively support the lives of children and families. 34p.

Options for a Federal Role in Infrastructure Development at Tribal Colleges & Universities. Adobe PDF
(Institute for Higher Education Policy, Washington, DC , Feb 2000)
Due to rapidly increasing enrollments and inadequate existing facilities, the federal government must play a stronger role in supporting infrastructure development at tribal colleges. The federal government's role stems from its trust relationship with American Indian tribes and from the fact that the tribal colleges missed the height of federal support for infrastructure development programs. This report details selected federal programs that might be used by tribal colleges to meet some of their facilities' needs. For each program, information is provided on type of assistance, legal authority, administering office, purpose, eligible beneficiaries, funding obligations, and average awards. In some cases, supplementary information from agency and department Web sites, the Federal Register, and relevant legislation is provided. Federal programs are divided into three categories: programs available to tribal colleges, general community development programs, and innovative approaches. In addition, the potential of state and private resources to supplement federal programs is assessed. It is concluded that Tribal Colleges can expect very little state funding in the future, and most tribal colleges do not have the resources necessary for comprehensive fundraising efforts. Recommendations include appropriating funds to currently authorized programs, exploring the possibility of using funds through the Department of Agriculture's rural development community facilities grants, and encouraging tribal colleges to fully utilize currently available supplemental sources of funding, such as funding for research facilities and historic preservation. (Contains 52 references.) 52p.

American Indian Education Foundation. Hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs on S. 1290 To Amend Title 36 of the United States Code To Establish the American Indian Education Foundation. Adobe PDF
(United States Senate, One Hundred Sixth Congress, First Session., Jul 1999)
A Senate committee hearing received testimony on the creation of an American Indian Education Foundation. The foundation will be a charitable, nonprofit corporation authorized to accept and administer private gifts in support of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) Office of Education and to conduct activities that further educational opportunities for American Indians and Alaska Natives in BIA schools. The foundation is modeled on the federally-chartered National Park Foundation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and would provide a formal mechanism to channel private contributions to BIA schools. U.S. Congressmen and representatives of the BIA, tribal colleges, and various Indian education associations offered testimony and written statements concerning the deplorable condition of many Native American schools, the huge backlog of unfunded school construction needs in Indian country, the lack of funding for new technologies in schools and related teacher training, the involvement of tribal colleges in K-12 systemic change, and the structure of the proposed foundation. The appendix includes "Tribal Colleges: An Introduction," prepared by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium; specific recommendations about the purposes, structure, and operation of the foundation; and a detailed report on unfunded construction backlog items, by category and individual BIA school. 142p.

Tribal Child Care Facilities: A Guide to Construction and Renovation.
(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Child Care Bureau , 1999)
This document provides technical assistance in addressing major areas of the child care facility construction and renovation process, including conducting a child care community needs assessment, identifying a site, financing costs, developing a business plan, conducting an environmental assessment, building and designing a facility, and hiring contractors. A glossary of terms and resources are provided. Appendices contain a sample notice of federal interest, a list of construction and renovation documents and deadlines, and an application of Title III (Public Accommodations) of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the Tribes. 74p.

Tribal Consultation, May 1999 Adobe PDF
(U.S. Dept. of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Indian Education Programs, Washington, DC , 1999)
This consultation booklet provides background information on four items discussed at regional meetings in May 1999. Item 1 concerns tribal application for construction of replacement educational facilities. The BIA developed a streamlined application and instructions and specific criteria for ranking applications on the basis of need. An alternative funding scheme for facilities construction is also described, involving long-term financial partnerships with the federal government. BIA sources of technical assistance are listed. 88p.

Tribal Control of American Indian Education: Observations since the 1960s with Implications for the Future. Adobe PDF
Tippeconnic, John W.
(Chapter 2 in "Next Steps: Research and Practice to Advance American Indian Education.", 1999)
This discusses the history and nature of Indian control of Indian education since the 1960s and its implications for the future. Local or tribal control of education is a basic principle inherent in the sovereignty status of American Indian tribes, and is also essential to reclaim and strengthen Native languages and cultures that were long targeted for destruction by assimilative educational policies. Major steps in the development of contemporary Indian control included Great Society programs of the 1960s that focused on community development and action; establishment of Rough Rock Demonstration School and Navajo Community College--the first tribally controlled college; federal legislation of the 1970s-80s that supported tribal sovereignty and tribal control of education; and the growth and success of tribal schools and colleges in the 1990s. Several observations explain the meaning and significance of tribal control, differences between tribal control and Indian community control, the link between tribal control and self-determination, the recent nature of true tribal control, and developments across tribes. It is also important to understand that most Indian students attend public schools, and the federal government has major financial responsibility for Indian education, but Indian education is often not a priority at any level of the school system. Indian-controlled schools are successful, but challenges remain in the areas of funding, student performance, Indian cultures and languages in the curriculum, parental and tribal involvement, school facilities, Indian leadership and staffing, and accreditation. 21p.

BIA School Construction. Hearing Before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, 105th Congress, Second Session on The Current Condition of BIA Schools.
(United States Senate, Committee on Indian Affairs, Washington, DC , Jun 10, 1998)
The Committee on Indian Affairs of the United States Senate sought testimony regarding the current condition of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools; reviewed the BIA selection process for building and repairing these schools; and discussed innovative measures for financing BIA schools. Among the information presented is the presence of a tremendous $1.5 billion backlog of needed repairs, renovations, and replacement for all federally owned and operated BIA schools. Half of BIA schools are over 30 years old, and one quarter of the schools are over 50 years old all of which fail to meet current codes and standards. Overall, BIA schools are generally in poorer physical condition than even central city schools, have less technology than the average American school, and have funding that is equally at crisis levels. Numerous statements and attachments illustrating these observations conclude the report. 446p.
Report NO: Senate-Hrg-105-717

Statement of the National Indian Education Association Before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Bureau of Indian Affairs School Construction. Adobe PDF
Edmo, Lorraine
(United States Senate, Committee on Indian Affairs, Washington, DC , Jun 10, 1998)
Comments on the condition of BIA schools, the backlog of construction needs at these facilities, proposed funding cuts to the BIA school program, and complicated levels of federal bureaucracy that BIA schools must endure for funding, construction, and management. Includes seven references. 9p.

The Log School: A Case for Appropriate Design Adobe PDF
Barnhardt, Ray; Dubbs, Patrick J.
(University of Alaska, Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, Fairbanks , 1998)
For many remote northern communities, especially Native American communities, the renovation or design construction and heating of the school would be more culturally and technologically appropriate if local materials and expertise were utilized. In addition there would be widespread beneficial outcomes for the quality of life in the local community. This paper focuses on the de-localization of northern rural communities. The second part of the paper explores how the design, construction and maintenance of the log school could reduce de-localization and contribute significantly to the cultural, economic and technical well-being of the community particularly its educational system. 22p.

School Facilities. Reported Condition and Costs To Repair Schools Funded by Bureau of Indian Affairs Adobe PDF
(General Accounting Office, Health, Education, and Human Services Division, Washington, DC , Dec 1997)
This report presents information on the funding required to repair Native American educational facilities, the condition the school buildings, adequacy of the school environment for instruction, and the extent to which schools can meet future technology and communication requirements. Compared to schools nationally, it reports that BIA schools are generally in poorer physical condition, often lack key facilities requirements for education reform, have unsatisfactory environmental factors, and are less able to support computer and communications technology. 22p.
Report NO: GAO-HEHS-98-47

Primary School Physical Environment and Health. Adobe PDF
(World Health Organization, Washington, DC , 1997)
Identifies key objectives for achieving healthier school environments, particularly in developing countries. Successive chapters describe the current situation, review the main correlations between school environments and student health, and identify eight key objectives to significantly advance school environmental health. The document de-emphasizes buildings, stressing sanitation, total school environments, operations and maintenance, and local rather than centralized control. Includes 98 references. 93p.

National Tribal School Bonding Bill Position Paper. Adobe PDF
(Dakota Area Consortium of Tribal Schools, Inc., Oglala, SD., Aug 02, 1995)
As of August 1995, there exists a backlog of $800 million in needed facility improvements, repairs, and construction in schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The cost and number of projects has risen to a level that exceeds current program funds. With the school buildings deteriorating and the student population increasing, there is an immediate need to fund these projects. This position paper proposes a Congressional bill to create a National Indian Bonding Authority that would issue bonds to finance these projects. Existing education program money and reserve funds would be the repayment source and security for the bonds. These existing funds would be leveraged through the bonds to fund substantially more projects. BIA and tribal grant schools would establish the projects, which would be approved by existing federal agencies. A bonding underwriter would underwrite and sell the bonds, the proceeds of which would be deposited with a bond trustee acting as a disbursement agent. The issue of timely payment of principal and interest by the Indian Nations is removed by having the debt service moneys come directly from the U.S. Treasury. Included are a memo from the Acting Inspector General reflecting difficulties in the BIA audit, data on some of the unobligated and unattached construction funds that could be used to leverage and secure construction bonds, and a cover letter soliciting support for the initiative. 12p.

Impact Aid: Most School Construction Requests Are Unfunded and Outdated. Report to Congressional Requesters Adobe PDF
(General Accounting Office, Washington, DC , 1990)
The Hawkins-Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Amendments of 1988 (Public Law 81-815) provides federal funds for constructing and renovating schools in districts that educate "federally connected" children, such as those whose parents live and/or work on military installations and Indian reservations. A study was done to review the program for school districts affected by federal activities. It is recommended that: (1) Congress amend Public Law 81-815 to require that school construction payments to eligible districts be based on average state per pupil construction costs; and (2) that the Secretary of Education require school districts to apply annually for school construction aid to ensure that project requests reflect current data. It is further suggested that Congress might want to consider authorizing the Secretary of Education to distribute appropriations among a greater number of projects. 47p.
Report NO: GAO/HRD-90-90

Navajo Educational Values and Facility Design. Adobe PDF
Dore, Christopher D.
(Human Factors Consultants , 1989)
This document addresses the issue of designing educational facilities that contribute positively to a bicultural educational curriculum of the contemporary Navajo. The study examined traditional Navajo education as seen through the perspective of contemporary Navajo elders. Small group interviews in a loose, open-ended format were used to obtain data on the educational values of the Navajo elders. Navajo elders were concerned with the Navajo language, considering that a knowledge of Navajo was a prerequisite for understanding Navajo values and traditions; at the same time, they felt that English should also be taught. Elders believed that Navajo cultural practices should be taught and practiced and that students should have vocational and professional training, including traditional Navajo craft skills. In traditional education, life-style and education are inseparable, and elders wanted this holistic approach for their children. The final sections of the report are concerned with relating these values to school site location and organization, facility design and scale, space organization, interior decoration, and the use of special rooms, possibly resembling hogans, for Navajo language teaching. The document contains 30 references. 49p.

Public School Survey of Construction Aid Needs Related to the Education of Reservation Indian Children. Research and Evaluation Report Series No. 31.
(Bureau of Indian Affairs (Dept. of Interior), Albuquerque, NM.; National Indian Training and Research Center, Tempe, AZ., 1973)
Resulting from a House Appropriation Subcommittee's interest in the need for adequate school facilities for reservation American Indian children in public school districts, a survey of the construction aid needs of all eligible districts was conducted. Objectives were to: analyze and interpret data from school districts in the 23 States participating in the Johnson-O'Malley Act program; evaluate closely related and concomitant information pertaining to enrollment growth, Indian impacts, resources ability factors, with a priority basis to follow; and develop general policy and guidelines for use by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in funding construction in areas of high Indian enrollment and for meeting backlogs which along with the regularized program will provide a total Federal policy to improve Federal interaction with Indian impacted public school districts. Questionnaires were sent to some 458 public school districts; 162 districts in 21 states responded. Some findings were: immunity of Indian reservation lands from taxation is an important factor in the school district's ability to finance needed facilities; based on the widely accepted ability measure, the amount of taxable evaluation behind each child, Indian related school districts are much "poorer" in comparison with similar type districts in their States; and unused bonding capacity is a vital factor in most school districts' ability to share the cost of constructing facilities for the education of reservation based Indian children. 70p.

References to Journal Articles

Building Blocks: Humanitarian Design and Schools.
McKnight, Jenna
Architectural Record; v199 n1 , p116-120,122 ; Jan 2011
Profiles simple schools constructed in developing, disaster-stricken, or otherwise challenged areas. These include a prototype two-room school facility built in many Haitian locations where the 2010 earthquake had destroyed existing schools, a secondary school in Burkina Faso, and Florida child care centers that serve migrant populations. Use of readily-obtainable materials, natural light and ventilation, and economy figure significantly in every facility.

Alternative Education Space in Mexico.
Gray, Chola
CELE Exchange; 2010/11 ; Nov 2010
Explores the architecture of Mexico's Red de Innovacion y Aprendizaje (RIA). This network of 42 (as of the end of 2010) education centers serves underprivileged communities. The buildings feature sustainable, modular, and minimal design, with many of the room dividers being made of translucent material, which enhances natural lighting.

Architype Review; v4 n3 ; Jul 2010
Profiles this South African early learning facility that consists of 2 classrooms, a kitchen, sanitary facilities, and an outdoor playground. The school is embedded in a "colorful landscape," in which adventure and curiosity are encouraged and serve as an experimental play-room for children to discover and conquer. A list of project participants, photographs, and plans accompany the text.

Dano Secondary School.
Dumiak, Michael
GreenSource; v5 n3 , p64-67 ; May-Jun 2010
Draws on traditional construction techniques in Burkina Faso, West Africa, to create natural ventilation in 100+ degree temperatures. Materials from the local environment provide many solutions.

Dashboard Displays
School Construction News; Jan 28, 2010
QA Graphics installed its Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard at Chemawa Indian School, the oldest continuously operating boarding school in the United States. Displayed on a 19-inch monitor located in the boiler room, as well as online through a graphical user interface, the dashboard shows water flow, electricity and gas use in real-time with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly statistics, allowing students and staff to closely monitor consumption.

Tribal Schools Expand Role Preserving Native Cultures.
Reifert, Butch
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce; Aug 28, 2008
Describes various tribal communities' focus on symbolism, tradition, and sustainability in their school designs, with an emphasis on examples from the Pacific Northwest. Design consultation with tribal elders is a unique feature of the planning process.

Predock Brings Accessibility to Milwaukee School.
Gordon, Douglas
AIArchitect; Aug 15, 2008
Highlights accessibility features of the Milwaukee Indian Community School, designed by renowned architect Antoine Predock.

Cultural Connections.
Kollie, Ellen
Schooldesigner Newsletter; n19 ; Mar 2008
Discusses culturally sensitive design of schools, citing details of facilities tailored to Native American, Latino, and Asian cultures.

Project Data: Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, Wisconsin.; 2008
Traditional Ojibwa imagery and sacred symbols adorn the new library at the Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwa Community College campus in Hayward, Wisconsin. In addition to traditional library functions, the building offers up a space for the tribal community to gather, grow and learn.

North Dakota High School Champions Education, Environment Over Aesthetics.
Perry, Amy
School Construction News; v10 n7 , p18-20 ; Nov-Dec 2007
Profiles Turtle Mountain Community High School, a Chippewa Indian reservation facility that maintains a very low profile, "blank" design into which the occupants intend to incorporate the tribe's iconic program. Challenges of meeting the LEED Silver standard in a remote area near Canada are also discussed, and a list of suppliers is included.

Honoring Ancestry, Landscape.
Gould, Whitney
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; Sep 02, 2007
Profiles this inter-tribal pre-K through 8th grade school and community center, located outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Visits to the site and various tribal lands informed an understanding of the physical and mythical place the building would occupy. The building form was carefully woven along a high ridge on the site in order to avoid removing ancient trees. The school was also recognized by the Paralyzed Veterans of America for its barrier-free design.

Much-Needed High School Built on Navajo Reservation in Eight Months.
Walley, Catherine
School Planning and Management; v46 n4 , p30,32 ; Apr 2007
Reviews the creation of this Arizona reservation school, featuring culturally significant design elements derived from trips through the surrounding landscape, and then incorporated into a cost-saving modular construction.

Alaskan Engineering.
Libby, Brian
Architecture Week; Mar 07, 2007
Description of the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program Building, by RIM Architects, on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage. The architectural team sought values shared by the many Alaskan cultures in an effort to find common ground for the building's design, and a traditional Alaskan canoe was the building's inspiration.

Druk White Lotus School. Ladakh, Northern India
(ARUP, 2007)
Located high in the Himalayan mountains, this describes a set of eco-friendly, non-denominational school buildings, combining modern education with local Buddhist culture, being constructed over a phased, ten-year seasonal program by ARUP. The project aims to eventually provide education facilities for up to 800 pupils, aged 3 to 18, from poor and remote areas. On completion, facilities will include a health clinic, library, open-air temple, computer and science lab, vocational workshops, dining hall and residential accommodation for pupils and staff.

Finding Alternatives for Facility Planning and Design in Latin America.
Izquierdo, Nelson
Educational Facility Planner; v42 n2/3 , p30-37 ; 2007
Examines schemes developed by architects as an alternative to the traditional "cells and bells" model that is widespread in Latin America. These designs illustrate the need to create fewer spaces that were more efficiently used, to building in a simpler manner more suited to the local environment, and to achieve quality through spatial variety. Includes nine references.

Educational Facilities for Young Children. Adobe PDF
Meade, Anne
PEB Exchange; , p1-5 ; Nov 2006
Examines Maori cultural influences on indoor/outdoor spaces a learning in a New Zealand school, along with a multi-faith, multi-needs campus in Scotland that emphasizes shared facilities.

New School Buildings Coming to Pine Ridge.
Melmer, David
Indian Country; Oct 04, 2006
Description of two new school buildings on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota: Procupine Day School and Red Shirt School. The Porcupine Day School brings together a culturally historic foundation into a modern world. The school design will use the family, or tiospaye, approach to learning, with four pods or family houses that will be used as classrooms and gathering locations. The family houses will include flex-classrooms that may resemble a living room. The lighting of the media center will resemble a dream catcher, the floor of the dining room will be painted with the image of a star quilt, and murals and hallways will display cultural objects and images.

Managing a Nationwide School District.
Hopwood, Mark
School Planning and Management; v45 n2 , p52-55 ; Feb 2006
Explains how the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs manages operations and maintenance of its 7,465 buildings nationwide with a client-server system. Future alignment of the system with other federal systems is discussed, as well as plans for its use in building asset and deferred maintenance management.

Cultural Connection.
Leisner, Hava
School Construction News; v8 n7 , p16-18 ; Nov-Dec 2005
Describes the Paschal Sherman Indian School, which serves the 12 tribes of Washington's Colville Reservation. The K-12 boarding school features locally obtained natural materials, abundant tribal motifs, ample daylighting through both floors, and an ingenious heating system that recycles heat between the dormitory and classroom building.

Master Plan. Adobe PDF
Johnston, Robert
Education Week; v25 n2 , p36-40 ; Sep 07, 2005
Describes the successes of school planner William DeJong and his Schools for Children of the World program in bringing decent school buildings to remote Honduran villages. The project evolved from a single school into a country-wide school facilities assessment, with many new schools built, used, and maintained by their communities.

Designing Education Facilities with and for Indigenous People in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Bibra, Glennis
Educational Facility Planner; v39 n4 , p18-20 ; 2005
Relates the history of the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, and its efforts to create culturally appropriate educational spaces in over 900 teaching locations. Reversing previous colonial practices involved exploring Aboriginal use of space. One example is described, and seven references are included.

Djidi Djidi Aboriginal Primary School: Celebrating a Noongar Heritage.
Idle, Philip
Educational Facility Planner; v39 n4 , p14-17 ; 2005
Describes the design process for this school, which involved extensive exploration of the indigenous culture through meetings with teachers, tribal elders, and parents. The informal, open design reflects indigenous parent/staff attitudes and borrows detailing from the native flora and fauna.

Oak Valley Aboriginal School: A Journey.
Kerkhoven, Ingrid
Educational Facility Planner; v39 n4 , p10-13 ; 2005
Describes this extremely remote Australian K-10 school, whose design and construction addressed the extreme heat, winds, lack of water, and abundant sun. The classroom design addressed hearing deficiencies among the aboriginal students. The centrally located and highly observable structure addressed the community's suspicions of a cloistered or distant facility, reminiscent of colonial values.

Design for First Nations Schools: Learning in Four Directions.
Manasc, Vivian
Educational Facility Planner; v39 n4 , p6-9 ; 2005
Explores the importance of storytelling in First Nations communities and describes three lessons learned by an architectural firm that has designed over 20 First Nations schools: engaging the community, building with local labor and businesses, and building a vision. Five exemplary First Nations schools are described.

A New Library and Technology Center for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Peters, Ronald
Educational Facility Planner; v39 n4 , p3-5 ; 2005
Describes planning concepts used in the creation of this high-tech, environmentally sensitive facility higher education facility. Views to surrounding topography, consideration of the natural terrain, and indigenous symbols were accommodated in the siting and architecture. The building also features passive solar design, water harvesting, recycled carpet tiles, and low-VOC paints.

Bill Allows Construction Bonds for Indian Schools
Zehr, Mary Ann
Education Week ; , p20, 22 ; Sep 29, 2004
A bill that would authorize Indian tribes to issue school construction bonds has a good chance of passing in 2004. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.
Canadian Architect; v49 n5 , p34,35 ; May 2004
Describes this Canadian cold-climate "green" building that was designed in consultation with Native elders. Wood is used extensively, recalling aboriginal architecture.

La Mesa Elementary School.
Architectural Record; Mar 2004
Describes an Albuquerque elementary school situated in an immigrant and Native American neighborhood. The school's plaza serves as a community gathering place. Includes building statistics and architect information.

School Buildings in Developing Countries. Adobe PDF
(The Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development, Practical Action, Rubgy, United Kingdom, 2004)
Details British recommendations for schools in developing countries, particularly in rural settings. Space requirements, siting, costs, community participation, lighting, services and infrastructure, building materials, walls, roofs, maintenance, construction process, site preparation, foundation, floors, and roofs are addressed, all in the context of minimal budgets, and limited materials and building technology. 16 references are included. 17p.

Wide Open Spaces? Space Guidelines for Schools on Indian Reservations.
Educational Facility Planner; v38 n1 , p10-12 ; 2004
Describes inequities in construction funding for Bureau of Indian Affairs schools and the efforts underway to resolve them. Peculiarities of location, isolation, administration, and culture of these federally-funded schools versus nearby state-funded schools create highly individualized situations.

T'siya Elementary and Middle School Pueblo of Zia, New Mexico.
Architectural Record; v191 n3 ; Mar 2003
Describes the title school building by Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, including the educational context and design goals. Includes information on the architects, manufacturers/suppliers, and construction team; a general building description; and a commentary on the design. Also includes the floor plan and photographs. The heart of the design is a circular plaza that can be used for traditional ceremonial dances, gatherings, weddings, and outdoor classes. Countless visual allusions to the decor of Pueblo buildings and Zia pottery motifs indicate that this is reverential and meaningful place, designed to embrace the Zia people. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Australia's Oak Valley Aboriginal School. Adobe PDF
Allen, Graeme; Kerkhoven, Ingrid; Cox, Noelene
PEB Exchange; v2003/1 n48 , p21-23 ; Feb 2003
Describes the planning and design of a new school for an Aboriginal community in Australia which replaced their previously transient school services.

Blending Cultural Sensitivity in Native American Educational Design: Opening your Soul and Spirit to a Learning Space.
Powers, Jodi; Begay, Richard K.
Educational Facility Planner; v38 n3 , p11-15 ; 2003
Presents case studies of two schools for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community where Native American design elements were incorporated into environmentally sensitive buildings.

If I Had a Hammer (and Several Million Dollars): The Saga of the AIHEC Cultural Learning Centers.
Edinger, Anne; Ambler, Marjane
Tribal College Journal; v14 n2 , p28-31 ; Fall 2002
Presents an interview with Gail Bruce and Anne Ediger, who, in the early 1990s, conceived the idea of building cultural centers on 30 tribal college campuses. States that they imagined the centers would simply serve as repositories for Indian artifacts; however, after years of fund-raising efforts and program obstacles, the buildings transformed into much-used, multi-purpose facilities.

Modern Vernacular.
Taggart, Jim
Canadian Architect; v47 n8 , p16-19 ; Aug 2002
Describes the design of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in British Columbia, including the educational context and design goals. Includes information on architects, consultants, and cost, as well as floor plans and photographs. Discusses how the design for this First Nations school blends aboriginal constructs and environmentally-friendly principles.

Building a School in India.
Barker, Don
Architecture Week; Jul 24, 2002
The new Druk White Lotus School in the Indian State of Ladakh, at the foot of the Himalayas, is being built to help maintain the rich cultural traditions based on Tibetan Buddhism, while equipping the children for life in the 21st century. When completed in 2009 it will include a nursery and infant classrooms, and will accommodate 800 local children aged 3 to 18 with a health clinic, library, open-air temple, computer and science lab, vocational workshops, dining hall, and housing for both pupils and staff. Since 1997, engineers and architects from Arup and Arup Associates in London have been working with the Ladakhi Buddhist community and the United Kingdom-based charity, the Drupka Trust, to design and build a self-sustaining community using a combination of traditional and modern building methods and materials.

Patterns of Physical Activity among American Indian Children: An Assessment of Barriers and Support.
Thompson, Janice L. et al
Journal of Community Health; v26 n6 , p423-45 ; Dec 2001
Evaluated barriers to participation in physical activity by American Indian elementary school students. Data from interviews, observations, and surveys indicated that barriers at school included lack of facilities, equipment, and trained staff people for physical education. Weather conditions, safety concerns, and homework/chores were also barriers.

American School & University Architectural Portfolio 2000 Awards: Main Winners.
American School and University; v73 n3 , p14-21 ; Nov 2000
Presents photographs and basic information on architectural design, costs, and principle designers of the three main winners of the American School & University Architectural Portfolio 2000 competition. One high school, a community college, and an Indian community early childhood center are featured.

Historic Grants To Benefit America's Indian College Students.
Native Peoples; v13 n1 , p62-63 ; Fall 1999
Describes infusion of new grant money from the Lilly Endowment and Microsoft's Bill Gates that will benefit American Indian college students. Lilly gave $30 million to the American Indian College Fund to help build better classrooms and infrastructure at the 30 tribal colleges in the United States. Gates gave $1 billion for college scholarships for minority students.

Tattered Promise.
Schnaiberg, Lynn
Education Week; v18 n25 , p40-47 ; Mar 1999
Examines why tribal leaders are saying that deteriorating Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools are a symbol of the Federal government's unfulfilled pledge to the education of Native American children. The Santa Fe Indian School is discussed to illustrate the numerous safety and deterioration concerns faced by the BIA and the BIA's difficulties in fulfilling Native American educational needs.

Making the Grade: Can BIA Schools Educate Today's Kids in Yesterday's Classrooms?
American Indian Report; v14 n11 , p12-15 ; Nov 1998
Ninety percent of the 185 Bureau of Indian Affairs' schools have at least one serious environmental problem. Two-thirds of schools lack infrastructure to connect to the Internet. Tribes and states need to lobby the Senate Appropriations Committee for funding. Sidebar tells of successes, despite the problems, at Santa Fe Indian School (New Mexico) and Tiospa Zina (South Dakota).

Tolchii Kooh Schools: Results Through Innovation
Grones, Freda
Roundup: Journal of the Monolithic Dome Institute; v11 n3 , p20 21 ; Summer 1998
Provides reasons for using dome architecture in building educational facilities and describes the development of two such dome facilities in Arizona: a pre-kindergarten through Grade 8 multipurpose facility for Native American students, and a school library and parent center. The facilities interior design features and some cost benefits are highlighted.

Circle of Life.
Kudalis, Eric
Architecture Minnesota; v22 n5 , p.26-29 ; Sep-Oct 1996
A school addition and renovation finds inspiration in traditional American Indian imagery. Features the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School near Hayward, Wisconsin.

Ground-Breaking Ceremony Celebrates Tribal Education.
Sabella, John
School Business Affairs; v62 n1 , p46-47 ; Jan 1996
The Chief Leschi School in Tacoma, Washington, is slated to open in fall 1996. Tribal elders and students, representing the 55 tribes whose children will attend the school, participated in a May 26, 1995, ground-blessing ceremony. The concentric site plan employs the sacred circle as its dominant architectural motif.

Classroom Learning Environment in North American Schools
Schulz, William E. and Bravi, Gerry
Journal of American Indian Education; v26 n1 , p23-31 ; Oct 1986
Little research has been directed at examining the learning environment of North American Indians living in remote communities. To determine the degree to which individual classrooms accommodate exceptionality, the Assessment of Classroom Learning Environment (ACLE) instrument was completed by 167 teachers working in federally funded Native Indian schools in the Province of Manitoba, Canada. Overall, teachers rated their classrooms as having limited ability to accommodate the exceptional student.



Due to lack of funding, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities is currently available only as an archived site. As of September 1, 2012 no new content will be added or updates made. We regret the need to take such steps, but should funding become available, we look forward to reinvigorating NCEF and providing this valuable resource to the educational facilities community.

If you have questions or are an organization or company wishing to support the continued operation of this industry recognized resource please contact Institute President Henry Green (, 202-289-7800).