Academic Program


Indigenous people have been ingenious creators, scientists, and artists since time immemorial. AIAD capitalizes on these cultural strengths to provide our students with rigorous and meaningful learning opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). STEAM allows our students to engage in critical thinking while developing creative solutions to real world problems.

Our rigorous STEAM curriculum is aligned with the Colorado State Academic Standards. Our students engage in fearless critical thinking and creative problem solving through the use of technology, inquiry, and collaboration with others. AIAD teachers incorporate drama, dance, music, and visual arts throughout all core subjects to ensure that our students have every opportunity to engage in creative expression and innovative thinking.


  • Rigorous academic content from an Indigenous and social justice perspective;

  • Hands-on, meaningful, and relevant learning;

  • Multiple opportunities for artistic expression;

  • Problem-solving real life issues around air, land, and water;

  • Learning from community elders;

  • Support for physical, emotional, and mental wellness;

  • Extracurricular activities that include traditional games and sports;

  • Lakota, Diné, and Spanish language instruction;

  • Leadership opportunities;

  • Community service learning;

  • Tribal history and culture;

  • School as part of extended family.


AIAD Indigenized STEAM Workshops:

Four Elements pilot program

AIAD conducted four Indigenized STEAM workshops in the fall of 2018 and winter of 2019, with close to 100 students, parents, and community members participating.

AIAD’s Four Elements Pilot Project consisted of implementing four co-learning events, each of which focused on a different element: Water, Fire, Sky, and Earth. The teaching and learning of these events showcased how AIAD takes standards-based academic content and “indigenizes” it with explicit connections to Indigenous thought, philosophy, and/or history AND presents material in ways that align to traditional Indigenous ways of teaching and learning.

The overall objective of the project was to provide students with the learning experience of Indigenized STEAM in order for students to see themselves as natural lifelong scientists and mathematicians through Indigenous culture and Native ways of teaching and learning. Specific objectives are as follows:  

  • to facilitate a process where instructional planning and delivery begins with Indigenous cultural essential understandings and then layers rigorous academic content

  • to improve student perceptions of self-efficacy toward science and math

  • to develop an understanding amongst parents, students, and community members of what Indigenized STEAM is and how it differs from traditional science and math instruction

The workshops were a success! Thank you to all who participated. It was invaluable to have our cultural Knowledge Keepers be a part of the process from beginning to end to ensure that our cultural essential understandings serve as the bedrock upon which everything else is built.

We look forward to developing and offering Indigenized STEAM curriculum to all students at AIAD.