Native American Multi-cultural Education School, Inc.

Native American Multi-cultural Education School, Denver
"This outlook, this method, this growth environment--has a track record
recognized by local and national experts.... It produces results
." - Lynda Nuttall
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About Us

The Native American Multi-Cultural Education School (NAMES) was founded more than five years ago to address a need within the Native American and Southwest Denver community, for a school for adults seeking an education.

In March 1996, the Denver Indian Center's Adult Education Program was forced to close its doors due to loss of major federal funding. However, the community still had an unmet need for targeted education. NAMES opened in April 1996 with 25 students, $2000 in seed capital, a 100% volunteer staff, and donated computers and furniture. In the first five years, the school has served over 500 students at learning levels ranging from first grade to college preparatory. Since its origin, the school has moved to larger quarters, established a computer lab and is developing a multi-cultural approach to education.

Native Americans currently have the lowest graduation rate (58.4%) from public schools of any ethnic minority group. Hispanics have the second lowest graduation rate (64%). In Denver County in 1999, only 52.5% of Native Americans and 54.5% of Hispanics graduated from Denver schools. Here at NAMES, about 34% of our students are Native American and 53% are Hispanic. NAMES is the only adult education program in metro Denver, which targets Native Americans. Additionally, the need for Adult Basic Education services is high in the southwest Denver community of Westwood, the NAMES immediate service area. About 45% of the adult residents in this area do not have a high school diploma (compared to the citywide rate of 21%).

The majority of students who attend NAMES are enrolled in either Adult Basic Education (which provides reading, writing, and math studies for people who enter at second to eighth grade level) or G.E.D. preparation (for people who enter at ninth grade or above). Additionally, we offer other types of workshops and classes that help develop or strengthen specific skill sets students need. These include Basic Computer classes, as well as Art, Consumer Health, Workplace Literacy and various guest workshops.

NAMES has been recognized nationally as an Exemplary Indian Education Program by the Catching the Dream Foundation, a national organization promoting education for Native Americans. The City of Denver also awarded our director one of its "Good Neighbor" awards last year, recognizing the role the school plays within Denverís Westwood neighborhood. At the top of the list of honors we have received--is the honor to share in the realization of student achievements and dreams, again and again.

We continue on . . .
Observantly walking with open eyes (wo nagiksabya)


The Native American Multi-Cultural Education School, Inc. serves all cultures by teaching Adult Basic Education (ABE), General Education Diploma (GED), Computer Competencies, Internet, Workplace and Family Literacy. We serve all who have a need to improve their education, effectively increase career opportunities and build their leadership potential on their "walk" in this world of many cultures.


The heart of our approach to education and leadership is the Morning Star Medicine Wheel of Learning, a values-based concept. This concept blends the principles of traditional Native American philosophy with adult learning theory to help students learn how to address the complex needs of contemporary society. .

A striking Lakota star quilt that was made by a studentís mother inspired the Morning Star Medicine Wheel of Learning. At the center of this quilt is the Medicine Wheel with its Four Directions of east, south, west, and north, representing the four races (black, yellow, red, and white) as well as the four stages of an individualís life journey (illumination, innocence, introspection, and empowerment). Emanating from the Medicine Wheel is the eight-pointed Morning Star whose eight points represent eight values common to cultural traditions around the world: respect, truth, honesty, humility, humor, compassion, wisdom, and love. From these principles, we are developing a values-based, multi-cultural curriculum to help our students gain a perspective on how academic subjects can be used in making everyday professional and personal decisions.

For example, stories from the circle of life, which is the Medicine Wheel, teach strategies for personal growth, cooperation, teamwork, and leadership. Stories from the eight points of the Morning Star provide creative, practical, and humorous applications of knowledge gained from many cultures around the world. The Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel provide a framework for problem-solving and leadership development.

NAMES expects to serve 150 people each fiscal year. Not only do we help the students learn the fundamental reading, writing, and arithmetic skills necessary to achieve the GED diploma, we help them achieve other personal and professional goals, such as getting into college or vocational school or improving their current work situations in order to gain financial independence. Our contribution goes beyond the impact on students. As our students begin to read to their children, improve their professional lives, and seek out other education, there is a positive ripple effect for their families and community. As we continue to develop the Morning Star Medicine Wheel curriculum, family and friends of our students as well as community members will be sought out to bring their traditional knowledge into the school.

NAMES is committed to accountability to our students, our funders, and our community. We work closely with our students to assess their academic levels and to monitor the success with their individual academic programs. NAMES follows the Colorado Department of Education protocols for monitoring and measuring student progress. This includes use of standardized pre-tests at entry and post-tests at regular intervals, as well as student surveys regarding their accomplishments after leaving the school.

We continue on . . .
Observantly walking with open eyes (wo nagiksabya)



List of Services

    Adult Basic Education
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Mathematics

    GED General Education Diploma

    • GED Test Preparation

    Computer Competencies

    • Microsoft Office
    • Microsoft Word
    • Microsoft Excel
    • Typing Tutorials
    • Internet

    Workshops and Events

    • Consumer Health
    • Banking
    • Voter Registration
    • Medicine Wheel Philosophy
    • Plants and Herbs
    • Workplace skills
    • Art Projects
    • Cultural workshops


CONTACTS: Director, Lynda Nuttall 303-934-8086, or call 303-934-0028.
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