- Center of History and Culture
- Health Services
- Housing & Community Development
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Natural Resources
- Social Services
- Tribal Police
The mission of the Pokagon Band Department of Education is to provide opportunities to promote lifelong learning among all tribal citizens. The Education Department also provides educational services to other Native Americans in the ten-county service area who are attending public schools.
Easy Access Forms:
- Educational Records Release
- Special Request
- Educational Excellence Initiative Pre-App (EEI)
- Educational Excellence Initiative Application (EEI)
- Higher Education Assistance Program Application (HEAP)
- HEAP Policy
- Tutoring Request Form
- Students and Parents, we want to know your thoughts. Click here to fill out our After School Program Survey.
Marisela Goodrich - Administrative Assistant & Higher Education Contact - (269) 782-0887
Kristie Bussler - Educational Resource Specialist - (269) 462-4222
Susan Doyle - Educational Associate - (269) 462-4229
Skye DePaul - Record & Information Coordinator - (269) 462-4202
Department of Education - Phone: (269) 782-0887 | Fax: (269) 782-0985
Zagbegon Early Learning and Development Academy - Phone: (269) 783-2469
General Education - Email: Edu@PokagonBand-nsn.gov
Higher Education - Email: DoE.HEAP@PokagonBand-nsn.gov
Pokagon Band Administration Building
58620 Sink Road
Simon Pokagon Research Library <back to top
To log into the digital library, you will use your tribal ID number (Card Number) and your date of birth (Birthdate), with the letters “PB” before your tribal ID number. The login also requires at four (4) numbers, therefore those members with only two (2) or three (3) numbers in their enrollment number will need to include zeros after the letters PB to be granted access.
Card Number: PB0001
Birthdate (MMDDYY): 010101
The Pokagon Band Department of Education went to a digital library to give all citizens access to the library. This development is funded by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, so citizens can expect to see more digital books and resources available in the future. The library is named for Simon Pokagon, one of our earliest patriarchs and authors. He wrote Queen of the Woods and spoke at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, starting a rich tradition of learning and striking a good balance between culture and education. The library no longer carries physical books unless they are research volumes, which can only be used in the library.
Birth-12th Grade Programs and Services <back to top
The overall mission of the Pokagon Birth through 12th Grade Programs and Services is to provide resources and opportunities to enrich the academic development of all Pokagon youth. Certain services and programs are also available for other non-Pokagon Native Americans.
The Ed. Release is the application required for Pokagon citizens from Birth to 12th grade to become eligible for programs and services provided by the Department of Education. The purpose of this form is to provide the department with pertinent data and gives permission for staff to access necessary educational information and determines whether permission is granted for students to be photographed.
- Pokagon Citizen
- Those attending a public school in the Ten-County Service Area are required to complete the Title VI (506 Form) this includes those who are not Pokagon but are a tribal citizen, child or grandchild of a tribal citizen from a Federally Recognized Tribe, State Recognized Tribe, Terminated Tribe, Alaska Native, or member of an organized Indian group that received a grant under the Indian Education Act of 1988 as it was in effect October 19, 1994.
Time Frame: August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022
- A current form must be submitted to the Department of Education each academic year for the citizen to be eligible to apply for any programs or services offered by the Department.
School Stipend: $150*
*Students who are enrolled in PreK (must be 4 years old by September 1 of the current year) through 12th grade will receive the school stipend once the Ed. Release is processed. This stipend is for purchases which will aid the student academically.
Kë Nadmadmen: Tutoring Program (PreK-12th Grade & GED students) - Tutoring Request Form
- Pokagon citizens PreK-12th Grade
- Title VI PreK-12th Grade (non-Pokagon tribal members)
- Pokagon citizens pursuing a G.E.D.
Program Funds: $2,500 *This program is direct-pay to tutors and centers only, no reimbursements available
Time Frame: August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022
- Accredited Learning Center (online or in-person): Facilities which employ certified teachers or certified tutors to work with students on core academic areas, study skills, or test preparation
- Auxiliary Tutor (online or in-person): Certified Teacher (individual with a current Teaching Certificate) or individual with an academic area focused bachelor’s degree or a college student currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program and has successfully completed 60 or more credits (Contact Kristie Bussler for information in becoming an Auxiliary Tutor for the Band)
To Become an Auxiliary Tutor: Click Here for the Auxiliary Tutor Application
The Enrichment Program is designed to provide the opportunities for Pokagon youth to participate in enrichment camps, such as activity camps, career camps, etc., life skills programs, such as drivers training, music lessons, musical instruments, etc., or school/activity sponsored field trips, such as registration, hotel fees (does not cover cost of fuel, souvenir/gift, or food).
Eligibility: Pokagon citizen Birth through 12th grade
Program Funds: $500
Time Frame:August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022
* Enrichment Form required for each new request for payment/reimbursement
The purpose of the Special Request is to provide extra services for students with special academic needs. This program will cover Dual Enrollment cost not covered by the school district. Also, assistance for the G.E.D./Alternative Education Programs is offered through this program this includes the cost of study materials, GED Ready pre-test, and GED testing at any facility in the United States (see ged.com for possible online options).
**GED completion incentive/stipend is no longer available**
Eligibility: Pokagon citizen
Program Funds: $500
Time Frame: August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022
The Educational Excellence Initiative (EEI) is designed to encourage Pokagon Band students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade to strive for educational excellence, to attend school regularly, and to improve their academic performance. This “Invest in You” program allows citizens to increase funding for educational programs they frequently use, thereby increasing their knowledge, skills and ability to flourish in post-secondary educational institution.
Eligibility: Pokagon citizen K-12th grade
Time Frame: Grade Submission Deadline - October 1, 2021* (EEI Pre-Application Form)
Fund Usage – August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022
Funding & Resources Offered:
Funding amounts are available according to the following:
These supplemental funds will be added to another educational program such as: Enrichment Program, Special Requests, and Tutoring.
- Educational Excellence Initiative Pre-Application Form
- Educational Excellence Initiative Application Form
- Educational Records Release and Authorization to Photograph Form
- At the end of the school year, a student/parent must submit a copy of the students’ report card (with all marking periods, or semesters). If the report card does not show attendance, student/parent must also submit an attendance record. If the student does not receive a “letter” grade, student must also submit a grading scale.
- High School Diploma (for seniors)
- SAT or ACT test scores (one per year)
- Those homeschooled will need to complete a service learning project which must be completed by the October 1st deadline.
- Consideration of IEP, 504 Plans, Professional Documentation will be considered if submitted
* If a child was absent due to having COVID or being quarantined those won’t be counted against them. If the school put those absences on the report card, we will need documentation to show that those absences were due to COVID. Some schools may have automatically put the absences under excused absences.
Youth Transportation IDA - Youth Transportation IDA Form – Tribal youth between the ages of 13 and 17 are able to take advantage of a 1:1 match rate from Chi Ishobak for monthly savings contributions up to $25 for the purchase of an automobile. This program has a potential 60-month savings period which could result in $3,000 ($1,500 participant savings & $1,500 match funds) total savings for a new car. Teen Financial Wellness education is the second requirement to receive matching funds. This program helps our youth to create pathways to financial well-being, establish banking relationships, and empower the accomplishment of goals. Must setup an account with Chi Ishobak prior to funds being transferred over.
The Student Advocacy program is designed to work alongside parents and students that have had actions or meetings initiated for the student as a result of poor academic performance, behavioral challenges, or special educational requirements. Relevant DoE staff will attend meetings to support and advise parents as they work with the school to ensure the best environment for the student’s academic progress.
Student Advocacy applies to all Pokagon Band and Title VI students who are eligible to receive additional support services from the Pokagon Band Department of Education. Current Ed. Release on file is required to receive advocacy support.
Contact: Kristie Bussler - Educational Resource Specialist - (269) 462-4222 or Susan Doyle - Educational Associate - (269) 462-4229
Higher Education <back to top
The overall mission of the Higher Education Assistance is to provide the supportive services necessary to encourage Pokagon tribal citizens to attain a certificate, vocational, undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate degree.
- Special Request Assistance up to $500/year reimbursement
- Academic Testing
- Application fees, graduate school entrance fees, & exams
- Specialized equipment or uniforms (such as nursing shoes & scrubs)
- Mandatory Parking fees for college students
*All other Special Requests will be reviewed with supporting documentation
Student Housing Assistance <back to top
$1,250/Per Semester for full-time students or
$833/Per Trimester for full-time students,
$625/ Summer Semester for full-time students
*Other housing eligibility requirements can be found in the Higher Education Assistance Program Policy.
HEAP Application and all other forms needed:
Questions? Contact us: DOE.HEAP@PokagonBand-nsn.gov
College Internship Program <back to top
There will not be a summer 2021 college internship program. Those interested in participating next year are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 Vaccinations, see the COVID-19 Citizen Vaccination Information page for more details.
Higher Education Assistance Program (HEAP) <Higher Education top <back to top
Purpose: The Department of Education shall provide additional financial aid to eligible Pokagon Band citizens that are enrolled in higher education at an accredited institution. To apply for the Higher Education Assistance Program, please submit the completed Higher Education Assistance Application (below) and all forms as attachment to DOE.HEAP@PokagonBand-nsn.gov.
Starting Fall 2021 (2021-2022) all students will be eligible for 100% maximum eligibility for the following: tuition / fees, book stipend, and housing.
Any person who seeks to participate in the program, including current students, shall complete and submit to the Department an application within 3-6 weeks before payment is due with your Education Institution.
In addition to the completed application students must submit:
- "Education Reimbursement" selected on Direct Deposit Form with proof of account (voided check);
- proof applied for FAFSA (submit once per Academic Year (ex: 2019-2020)
- copy of current unofficial transcript (within two weeks of application submission), high school diploma, or General Equivalency Diploma;
- copy of official class schedule from Educational Institution;
- copy of current lease, mortgage statement or other acceptable supporting documentation (if seeking housing assistance).
The student should submit their official billing statement from their Educational Institution to the Department as soon as it is available.
Tuition and Fee Assistance
Vocational degree: up to $3000/year
Associate degree: $200 per credit/hour (Up to 18 credits)
Bachelor’s degree: $400 per credit/hour (Up to 18 credits)
Graduate degree: $600 per credit / hour (Up to 15 credits)
Post-Graduate degree: $800 per credit / hour (Up to 15 credits)
Student’s assistance amount will be based on their unmet needs from their school bill. The maximum amount allotted is noted above.
Book Stipend Assistance
- Vocational degree - up to $3000/year
- Associate or Bachelor’s degree - $150 per class (up to 6 classes)
- Grad. or Post-Grad. degree - $300 per class (up to 4 classes)
- be a Band Citizen;
- enrolled in an Educational Institution;
- apply with the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
- submit proof applied for FAFSA;
- apply for the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver if the person:
- is a Michigan resident;
- has a blood quantum of ¼ or more from a Michigan tribe; and
- is attending a public Educational Institution in Michigan;
- apply for all eligible campus-based financial aid;
- have and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale (undergraduate students);
- have and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (graduate students);
- if on probation, must follow and adhere to any Academic Improvement Plan;
- apply for direct deposit; and
- appoint the Band to be an authorized payment request user.
Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver
The Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver (MITW) is available through the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MCDR), which waives tuition for Michigan residence, attending a Michigan public college/university who have a Native American Blood Quantum of ¼ or more as certified by your Tribal Enrollment Department.
First time applicants of the MITW, will submit their completed forms to Pokagon Band Enrollment Staff with a photocopy of your Michigan Driver's License or state-issued Michigan Identification Card and a photocopy of your Tribal ID.
The MITW will stay in affect and will not need to be resubmitted unless, you are transferring schools and/or returning to school after a gap in pursuing your higher education. These changes will be submitted directly to Melissa Kiesewetter MDCR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may visit MDCR https://www.michigan.gov/mdcr/0,4613,7-138--240889--,00.html for more information. Below is the application along with MITW FAQs.
Free Application for Federal Financial Aid
You can file the FAFSA for the upcoming school year after October 1, though you can apply for your PIN# anytime. You must apply every year you are in school. There is no cost to apply for the FAFSA.
For more information, contact your high school’s guidance office, your college financial aid office, Marisela Goodrich, at the Pokagon Band Department of Education (888) 330-1234.
Marisela Goodrich Higher Education Contact
Department of Education
(269) 782-0887 or (888) 330-1234 Fax (269) 782-0985
Nation Building <back to top
The Elders Program is designed to provide quarterly workshops that will improve the quality of life of the Pokagon Band elder population. This program allows Pokagon Band elders access to a variety of services that will fulfill their needs as respected elder members of the community and as keepers of Pokagon Band traditions. Currently in person activities are not available however, free online learning videos can be found on GCF Global, https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/, this website guides you to YouTube tutorials on many different items from technology, math, and reading, etc.
The Department of Education graduation wall is designed to give recognition to students who demonstrate the characteristics which further the mission and goals of Pokagon Band Department of Education by completing programs that represent standards of achievement and excellence.
Student Eligibility Requirements:
- Pokagon Band citizen
- graduated with an High School, High School Equivalent, Associate, Bachelor, Master or Doctorate degree
- copy of diploma or transcript
We are honored to gift you with the Four Direction Honor Cord. These Honor Cords can be worn by the graduate at the time of graduation and be kept as a memento of your connection to the Pokagon Band and the Four Directions. The traditions of the Potawatomi honor the Four Directions of East, South, North and West during prayer, during ceremony and throughout the day.
Each direction has unique significance.
- The Eastern direction is represented by the color of “Yellow”
- The Southern direction is represented by the color of “Red”
- The Western direction is represented by the color of “Black”
- The Northern direction is represented by the color of “White”
Honor cords are available for High School, College, University, and Vocational graduates please apply: Here (click this link)
We are in the developmental stages of the Tribal College Partnership Program and look forward to the many opportunities Tribal Colleges have to offer our Tribal students. The opportunity to blend higher education and honored traditions in our tribal communities are indeed unique and provide a bright future for the next generations.
Early Childhood Development <back to top
Zagbëgon: An Early Learning & Development Academy <back to top
Zagbëgon means sprouts in Potawatomi. Our Zagbëgon have grown from seeds and now have their own roots. Zagbëgon are peeking out from gokmeskinan (our grandmother earth) so they can look about their world and begin to form their identities and grow stronger with all of creation.
Please take note:
Our Philosophy of Early Childhood Education
We believe that every child is a unique creation of the Creator, and that the body, mind and spirit of each child should be nurtured. As such, we seek to meet each child where he or she is emotionally, developmentally, spiritually, educationally and socially, and we apply these principles to each facet of our planning, instruction and activities. Children will experience fun and friendships under the guidance of teachers and staff who embrace and model the culture and heritage of the Potawatomi people.
Culture infusion is a major focus for any tribal community and needs to be deeply secured within our following generations. Providing cultural pride within our future generations must be one of our most sincere obligations as stewards of the next seven generations.
Zagbëgon will integrate cultural teachings whenever possible when providing educational opportunities for student learning. The need to work across all borders are important but preserving Pokagon Band Potawatomi unique identity is a responsibility that garners serious attention.
The initiative to assist in the building of a culturally appropriate curriculum is a strong focus of Zagbëgon and reaches out to the many valuable and treasured opportunities to create a community with social commitment.
The value realized from thoughtful and caring instruction is the prime focus for curriculum development. With assistance and guidance from Language and Culture lessons will be developed that instill a cultural identity and purpose and encourages future growth.
All children and their families will have a healthy sense of identity and belonging.
To serve children, families and community by creating a safe and nurturing environment that provides social, emotional, spiritual, physical, and academic support.
Zibé (River Room)
Lead: Miss Tammy
Lead: Miss Kellie
Assistant: Miss Carrie
Mtegwagké (Woodlands Room)
Lead: Miss Dani
Assistant: Miss Liz
Hours of Operation
8:30 A.M. -2:30 P.M.
- Must be at least 3 years old by Sept 1
- Must be potty-trained
- Applicants will be selected on a first come first serve basis, pending tier status
- Tier 1: Pokagon Band citizens, siblings, and/or residents in a Pokagon household;
- Tier 2: Other Native Americans;
- Tier 3: All Other; Special consideration will be given to PBOPI employees for Tier 3 status
- Three Social Services referrals per classroom will be reserved for emergency placement status