About Jones Academy
Empowering Native Youth with the Warrior Spirit
Founded in 1891 by the Choctaw Nation, Jones Academy is a no-cost American Indian boarding school located four miles north of Hartshorne in Eastern Oklahoma. The school is nestled among 540 acres of rolling pastures and trees at the foot of the Pocahontas Mountains in Oklahoma’s Ouachita Mountain range. Approximately 200 students attend grades 1-12 each year, from tribal nations across the US, in particular, our neighboring communities in Oklahoma. There is no fee for students to attend Jones Academy. That includes travel, housing, and meals.
Together, we’re transforming learning experiences for Native youth by helping them discover life pathways and cultivate a sense of cultural identity. Education at our American Indian boarding school isn’t only about book knowledge. It’s also about the life lessons that create mature, balanced, responsible and compassionate adults.
The Warrior Values
Our mission is to empower Native American youth by providing individualized care and development through educational, cultural, and spiritual opportunities.
Chief Wilson N. Jones was a Choctaw Chief born in Mississippi, who traveled with his family to Oklahoma over the “Trail of Tears” due to the forced relocation of Native people. He had little formal schooling but believed strongly that education would help his tribe. The Choctaw placed a high priority on education, prioritizing business and English language skills. Another initial purpose of schooling was to teach boys agriculture and mechanical arts, while girls learned household skills like sewing.
While the academy initially was established by the Choctaw Nation in 1891 as a school for Choctaw boys, the closure of a Native American girls’ school (Wheelock Academy) allowed Jones Academy to become co-ed in 1955. With the Indian Self Determination and Education Act (1972) and further legislation, the Choctaw Nation became the first Native American tribe to operate a tribally controlled grant school. Known as a peripheral dormitory school, Jones Academy students are part of the Hartshorne School District. In 2008, the new elementary building was completed for the first through sixth grades, improving the experience for all students at our Native American boarding school.
Providing for Students
All of the opportunities at Jones Academy are provided without cost.
Seize opportunity here and blaze a trail into the future.
Respect. Character. Community.
It’s what being a Jones Academy Warrior is all about.
Heard in our Halls
“Being at Jones Academy gives me an opportunity to help promote healing and make our community a better place for future generations.”
Project Pehlichi Creates Leaders
Funded through a grant provided by the Department of Education, Project Pehlichi creates culturally aware, competent, and confident students prepared to pursue college and career opportunities. Pehlichi means “leader” in Choctaw and this initiative fosters leaders in every field. Our partners in this effort include the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), UNITY Native Leadership, American Indian Institute (Aii) at the University of Oklahoma, and NASA. These partnerships have brought invaluable opportunities to countless Jones Academy students in their scholastic careers.
Project Director Joy Tribbey and her staff implement several innovative programs for Warriors:
Elementary and secondary students on the Jones Academy campus attend STEAM Camps to explore and learn. STEAM Saturdays help students learn more about college and career readiness with a focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Our robotics team competes and wins at events like the International Botball® Tournament.
Student Success Center
To ensure every student at Jones Academy can succeed, the center provides structure and support. 7th – 12th grade students have access to quality tutoring and the necessary equipment to succeed such as laptop and desktop computers. The Student Success Center is a hub for students striving to advance and better themselves.
Warriors have a life-long love of reading. Our Reading Plus program focuses on two key domains of reading motivation (interest and confidence) and how they relate to reading comprehension, efficiency, and overall reading proficiency. To help all students excel, our Voyager reading programs assist special education students, English language learners or simply those who need extra help.