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Guidance on Facilitating Local Education Agency (LEA) Requests for Effective Tribal Communication 

The Tribal Relations and Resiliency Unit (TRRU) was developed to build relationships and understandings within the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) and Montana school districts to incorporate Tribal voice, share resources and build connections through consultation on matters affecting American Indian students.  Consultation, defined within ESSA requirements, will work to create these opportunities for school districts and tribal leaders to work collaboratively for the benefit of our youth.  This is an historic time and the new ESSA gives us an excellent opportunity to re-envision our educational systems in Indian country.

With our team providing holistic supports through the work of the Caring Schools Coordinator and Team, they address the social and emotional needs and tiered support of a student's educational journey along with our school board support provided through the School Board Specialist, where we will incorporate the local resources of our communities into our work.  Through such consultation and partnership, we will lift the resiliency, wisdom and beauty of our indigenous people at every level within OPI and local educational agencies (LEA's).

This is a requirement under section 8538 of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, for affected LEA's to consult with Indian tribes and tribal organizations on issues affecting American Indian (AI) Students.  An affected LEA is defined within the ESSA requirements, as a school district or system that have either 50% or more of its student enrollment made up of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students; or received an Indian education formula grant under Title VI of the ESSA, as amended by the ESSA, in the previous fiscal year that exceeded $40,000, and which also educate AI/AN students.  Affected LEA's who meet these criteria are required to consult with local Indian tribes or tribal organizations prior to submitting a plan or application under covered ESEA (ESSA) formula grant programs

Tribal Consultation Guidance document 

 

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Which Covered Programs Require Consultation:

The following is a list of current programs which require an affected LEA to consult with Indian tribes or tribal organizations prior to submitting either a plan or application for covered programs:

  • Title I, Part A (Improving Basic Programs Operated by State and Local Educational Agencies)
  • Title I, Part C (Education and Migratory Children)
  • Title I, Part D (Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk)
  • Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction)
  • Title III, Part A (English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act)
  • Title IV, Part A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants)
  • Title IV, Part B (21st Century Community Learning Centers)
  • Title V, Part B, subpart 2 (Rural and Low-Income School Program)
  • Title VI, Part A, subpart 1 (Indian Education Formula Grants to Local Educational Agencies)

Consultation will create opportunities for LEA's and tribal leaders to work together on behalf of American Indian and Alaska Native students, ensuring that this process drives positive outcomes for administrators, Indian tribes and tribal representatives, and most importantly, Native students.