In 2007, the Montana State Legislature passed Montana Code Annotated 20‐9‐330, appropriating $200 per American Indian child to provide funding to school districts for the purpose of closing the educational achievement gap that exists between American Indian students and non‐Indian students. According to MCA 20‐ 9‐330 (2) (a), funds were to be determined by “…using the number of American Indian students enrolled in the district based on the count of regularly enrolled students on the first Monday in October of the prior school year as reported to the Office of Public Instruction” and deposited into the district’s general fund. This site is to meant to build resources for educators to continue to support Indian Student Achievement through academics and well-being.

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The American Indian Student Achievement Data report is published annually to track the American Indian student population. The 2016 report includes information about: population, Smarter Balanced, Science CRT, National Assessment of Educational Progress, English Learners, Dropout, Graduation, College Data, student surveys, AP and ACT assessments, Special Education, Attendance and Suspension/ Expulsion Data.You can view the report by clicking the picture or this link.

 

Successfully closing the achievement gap in Montana will require concerted and focused efforts in our schools that serve American Indian students. It is an effort that will require the cooperation of school leadership, school boards, staff, students and their parents/guardians, community, and other area organizations and entities, including tribal governments. We know too well the negative impacts of the achievement gap – dropouts, unemployment, even incarceration – and we must all accept responsibility for bringing about its end for the success and future of all Montana.

We must provide ALL students with the equality of educational opportunity which is guaranteed to them in Montana’s Constitution. Above all, it is paramount to develop a district wide, systematic plan to address all areas that contribute to the achievement gap in your district. School leadership and staff should attend professional development opportunities related to achievement gap issues and should be aware of current research and promising practices that have proven effective and keep students actively engaged in school. Another important step is to make classroom learning relevant through the use of culturally appropriate materials and instruction. It also means providing teachers with quality professional development that will help them effectively teach students who are culturally and/or economically different from themselves. 

In addition, gather accurate resources and materials about American Indians. Stock your library. Buy classroom sets of novels relating to American Indian issues. Set up a professional development library with books or education journals about Indian education. Find suggested resources on the OPI Web site. Fill your halls with historical and contemporary portraits of life and citizens of various Indian tribes. Bring in American Indian speakers or cultural leaders with whom American Indian students can identify and make connections. Those schools that receive funding for ANB Indian student count (per MCA 20-9-330) to close the achievement gap between Indian and non-Indian students should consider the following recommendations:

If your school receives $100 - $1,500

  • Survey staff to find out immediate needs for materials, professional development, and culturally relevant and/or differentiated instruction.
  • Update your library with OPI suggested resources: American Indian fiction, non-fiction, poetry, anthologies, reference materials, tribally specific materials, DVDs, CDs, teacher guides, instructional aids, research, reference materials, etc. 
  • Offer student-achievement related professional development in the form of online or in-person presentations, workshops, or training.
  • Arrange student field trips to American Indian cultural or historical areas. 
  • Develop/refine local student assessments to determine proficiency with Montana Content and Performance Standards specific to American Indian content.

If your school receives $1,500 - $5,000

  • Invite paid guest speakers to offer presentations or workshops for students or staff that corresponds to student achievement.
  • Develop a comprehensive professional development library for staff.
  • Send staff to regional and statewide professional development focused on student achievement 
  •  Pay costs for substitutes and travel so that teachers can visit schools and classrooms that are utilizing effective programs or promising practices in closing the achievement gap.
  • Set up groups or committees to focus on strategies to decrease gaps and increase achievement.

If your school receives $5,000 - $10,000

  •  Provide professional development on-site or at other locations that corresponds to the achievement gap or atrisk youth.
  • Provide tutoring, credit recovery programs, and summer school for Indian or at-risk students.
  • Develop an in-service process for new teachers to the district to assist them with community and school culture. Create teacher handbooks that include information about incorporating Indian topics into the classroom.

 

If your school receives $10,000 and up

  •  Pay your teachers to research programs and curriculum to find appropriate material they can use to assist in closing the achievement gap.
  •  Because current research demonstrates that having one caring adult in the school community can make a difference in a student's life, provide stipends to teachers who serve as mentors and advisors to students throughout the year. Teachers can monitor student progress in classes, follow their attendance, build relationships with the student's family, and provide support and guidance.
  •  Create a teacher exchange with another school and provide paid time to travel and learn from colleagues in other settings.
  •  Create student exchanges, both online and in-person, with neighboring districts. • Hire staff to assist your efforts through research, assistance to teachers, and professional development.
  •  Include Indian content in the hallways and classrooms, including treaties and other historical and cultural documents, portraits of Indian leaders, and Indian artwork.