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Native American Teaching Initiative (NATI)

What is the Native American Teaching Initiative?

The Native American Teaching Initiative (NATI) was created to alleviate the shortage of Native American teachers in New York State.

SUNY Potsdam was awarded this grant to work with Native American students who are interest in becoming certified teachers.

NATI's goal is to increase the number of qualified Native American teachers who will then gain employment in a NY school system that has a 5% Native American student population or has a Title VII program.

This grant allows participants to receive services that will alleviate any financial burdens.

Am I eligible to Apply for the Native American Teaching Initiative?

  • Yes, if you are an enrolled member of a federally recognized Tribe/Nation
  • Yes, if you are a student entering your junior year in college and you have the desire and commitment to become a teacher. Transfer students are welcome to apply.
  • Yes, as long as you maintain a full-time academic status (12 credits per year) and meet the satisfactory academic progress standard of SUNY Potsdam
  • Yes, if you are in pursuit of your college degree within the School of Education.

What are the Services That are Provided by the NATI Grant?

  • Financial Assistance
    • This could include paying for tuition, transportation and child care, for example
  • Academic support Services
    • We will provide tutoring and study skills workshops
  • Field Experience in Region School Districts
    • You will be student teaching in school that have Native American student population
  • Certification Exams and Job Interview Skills
    • You will get help to prepare you for your certification exam.You will receive advice/guidance to help prepare you for a job interview
  • Job Placement
    • We will help you find a job
  • Mentoring services
    • You will be mentored by a current certified Native American Teacher



Becky Smoke
Coordinator of Native American Affairs
Project Director, NATI