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Cherokee Immersion announces second campus

Cherokee Immersion announces second campus

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With the Cherokee Nation’s plan to open a second immersion school in the former Greasy School building in southern Adair County, where several traditional Cherokee communities are located, “a child can spend all day in our immersion school and go home to a Cherokee-speaking home,” an official said.

The state’s first tribally operated charter school is getting a second campus.

On Tuesday, officials with the Cherokee Nation announced the tribe’s $4 million purchase of Greasy School in southern Adair County. Located about 10 miles south of Stilwell, the property will house an expansion of the tribe’s immersion school starting with the 2022-23 school year.

“I’m proud of the Cherokee Nation for taking advantage of an opportunity where we could put a Cherokee language immersion school in the middle of the largest hotspot of Cherokee speakers in the world,” Cherokee Nation Language Department Executive Director Howard Paden said.

“Greasy is a small, traditional community surrounded by traditional communities such as Bell, Cherry Tree, Dahlonegah, Rock Fence and Candy Mink Springs. This area is one of the few places left in the world where a child can spend all day in our immersion school and go home to a Cherokee-speaking home.”

First announced as part of Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s State of the Nation address during the Cherokee National Holiday in September, the immersion school’s new Greasy facility will start with a 2- and 3-year-old program and add one grade per year through eighth grade.

Currently, about 10 students from Adair County attend the Cherokee Nation’s immersion school, Tsalagi Tsunadeloquasdi, in Tahlequah.

The Greasy School building is approximately 25,000 square feet, which includes a gymnasium and kitchen located on 13 acres. The purchase includes all of the campus’ furniture, fixtures and equipment.

The facility is less than a decade old and was built after the original Greasy School was destroyed by a fire in 2009. Facing slumping enrollment, the dependent district’s voters approved an annexation with nearby Dahlonegah Public School in June 2020.

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My primary beat is public education. I am a third-generation graduate of Oklahoma State University, a board member for Oklahoma SPJ and an active member of the Native American Journalists Association.

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