St. Joseph’s has undergone many changes and transformations in the past 90 years. However, from the Dust Bowl to 2017, the essence of St. Joseph’s mission has always remained the same … partnering with Native American children and families to educate for life — mind, body, heart and spirit.

We understand that with growth, there needs to be change, so we are excitedly taking the first steps and embarking on our new strategic plan — Vision 2025 — More than Possible.

"The phrase More than Possible is a challenge to look beyond the present realities of the Native American youth and families we serve. It seeks a mindset that, with the right opportunities, our students can attain their hopes and dreams. It also invites staff and supporters to be part of this growth and accomplishment through their contributions to our mission."

— Mike, St. Joseph’s President

More than Possible lays out long and mid-range outcomes that serve as our measuring stick to gauge success in four distinct categories we have identified as focal points for the next nine years: High School and Beyond, Wellness, Family and Organizational Integration and Future Planning.

High School and Beyond

Simply stated, this focal point works to prepare our students for the future. We want St. Joseph’s students to take ownership of their futures and plan for their own successes. Students often have bright dreams for themselves when they leave St. Joseph’s Indian School, but can experience difficulty turning those dreams into reality. We will focus on teaching students how to break down the process of setting and reaching a goal in order to instill the skills of internal motivation and perseverance. We will also strive to offer broader career exposure and work with each student to identify their personal talents.

St. Joseph’s Indian School’s eighth-grade class poses for a photo in the Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel at St. Joseph’s in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Eighth grade graduation is the first of many important steps for Native American youth as they look toward a future full of promise.


With the knowledge that health risk factors for Native American youth are higher than the general population in South Dakota, "wellness" is the idea of teaching our students good eating habits and encouraging regular exercise. Our education efforts will focus on healthy eating, healthy food preparation and the merits of physical activity.

Family and Organizational Integration

Student success in St. Joseph’s residential setting includes supporting stronger relationships with families. Our efforts to strengthen family integration will include going out and listening to the families we work with, while taking a fresh family-focused look at everything we do. Our staff will take special care to engage families through yearly visits, effective listening, needs identification and strategizing ways to meet needs by connecting families to available resources at St. Joseph’s and in their local communities.

Mike poses outside with a male student at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Mike poses outside with a student at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Future Planning

There are a number of initiatives already in place that will need further attention in this new strategic planning cycle. These initiatives, regarded as important in serving the Mission, are laid out in specific goals. Some of the focal areas in this section are updating and enhancing the school library, refining the plan for pet therapy across campus and assessing our cultural and spiritual efforts throughout St. Joseph’s.

We have grown tremendously the past 90 years and we look forward to 90 more. Thank you for your support of St. Joseph’s Indian School. Without you — our tiyospayeextended family — none of this would be possible!