P.O. Box 202501 • Helena, MT 59620-2501

Indian Student Achievement

The American Indian Student Achievement (AISA) Unit is fully committed to closing the opportunity gap that exists between American Indian students and their peers. AISA works closely with districts to ensure Indigenous cultural values and history are honored and truthfully represented as required by the Montana Constitution (MCA 20-1-501 through 503). The AISA unit recognizes the historical factors that contributed to this opportunity gap and will continue to seek out and remove any policies, procedures, or practices that perpetuate institutional inequity. This includes improvement strategies that are culturally responsive approaches based on holistic connections to tribal knowledge systems and Indigenous paradigms and identity. 

The American Indian Student Achievement Unit provides supports for programs in K-12 education related to Indian education in Montana which is aligned with applicable policies, procedures, laws, and rules of the State of Montana. Other unit activities and areas of support include culture and native languages supports, school improvement/school reform, whole child supports (including mental/social/emotional health and development), and resource and material development. AISA’s goal is to assist all school agencies within Montana to recognize and value cultural diversity within these systems to erase systemic racism and institutional bias in their work with American Indian students, families, and communities.



Connecting Indigenous Paradigms to Pedagogy - Lona Running Wolf Concurrent Session at IEFA Best Practices Conference 2021

In 2007, the Montana State Legislature passed Montana Code Annotated 20‐9‐330, appropriating per American Indian child funding to school districts for the purpose of closing the educational achievement gap that exists between American Indian students and non‐Indian students. Below is information and resources for spending that achievement gap funding.

Self Actualized



  • More information will be added in the coming weeks. Check back frequently.


  • More information will be added in the coming weeks. Check back frequently.


School-Wide Actualized

Culture and Self Identity

Health & Wellbeing


Teaching & Learning

  • More information will be added in the coming weeks. Check back frequently.

Community Actualized

Building Relationships and Trust

  • More information will be added in the coming weeks. Check back frequently.


AISA Research and Data


The American Indian Student Achievement Unit and the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Research Team are collaborating to explore local community and education stakeholder perceptions about the achievement gap. The project includes exploratory focus groups, a statewide survey, and interviews with indigenous scholars.

The first part of the research project, the focus groups, has been conducted.

Culture and Schools: American Indian Stakeholder Perspectives on the American Indian Student Achievement Gap - 

Research Project documents

Summary Brief

Full Technical Report


Achievement Gap Data Reports






Youth Risk Behavior Survey Reports

2021 High School

2021 - Grades 7-8

External Research and Data


The Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT Policy Report: 2017 Race for Results

Discipline and Policing in Montana's Public Schools - Indigenous Students Disproportionately Pushed Out - ACLU Montana

National Indian Education Study 2019 - This report presents results from the 2019 National Indian Education Study (NIES), which surveyed students, teachers, and school principals about the experiences of American Indian and Alaska Native students at Grades 4 and 8.

Montana Advisory Council for Indian Education (MACIE)


The Montana Advisory Council on Indian Education was established by the Board of Public Education and the Office of Public Instruction to function in an advisory capacity for the education of American Indian students in Montana.

The Montana Advisory Council on Indian Education shall be a strong voice for collaborative efforts among tribal, state, and federal organizations, institutions, groups, and agencies for the express purpose of promoting high quality and equitable educational opportunities for all American Indian students in Montana. This includes, but is not limited to, culture, language, and Indian Education for All.

BPE and OPI will jointly make appointments to MACIE based on nominations from Indian tribes, Indian organizations, major education organizations in which Indians participate, and schools where American Indian students and adults attend.

Recognition Award

MACIE would like to recognize the good work happening around the State of Montana on behalf of the American Indian students. We are asking for nominations for individuals, districts, and organizations, both off and on reservations, to honor those people. ​Fill out the nomination form. MACIE will recognize ones selected at the board meetings. 

Nomination form


Presentation Request Form

Next MACIE Meetings - All start at 9:00 a.m. and end at approximately 1:00 p.m.

February 1, 2023 - Working Session 

These meetings will be conducted by Zoom unless otherwise indicated. Please email Joan Franke for the Zoom link if you wish to attend.
April 5, 2023 - Informational Session (in person)
May 3, 2023 - Working Session
June 7, 2023 - Informational Session
August 2, 2023 - Working Session
October 4, 2023 - Informational Session (in person)
November 1, 2023 - Working Session


Previous MACIE Meetings


State Resources


American Indian/ Minority Achievement Program

American Indian Tuition Waiver

Directory of Indian Education Programs in Montana

Montana Governor's Office of Indian Affairs

Shared Strategies to Support American Indian Students Through ESSER III Funding

Tribal Nations in Montana: A Handbook for Legislators


Tribal Colleges

Our state has the wonderful opportunity to have tribal colleges located on most of our reservation areas.  Tribal colleges offer small class sizes and high quality instructors.  Each offers programs and degrees in a variety of subjects, majors and degrees.  Tribal colleges are open to all students interested in pursing additional education opportunities, while also offering tribal resources and connections to those interested in understanding more about our unique Tribal Nations in Montana.

Aaniiih Nakoda College   - Ft. Belknap Reservation

Blackfeet Community College- Blackfeet Reservation

Chief Dull Knife College- Northern Cheyenne Reservation

Fort Peck Community College- Ft. Peck Reservation

Little Big Horn College- Crow Reservation

Salish Kootenai College-  Flathead Reservation

Stone Child College- Rocky Boy Reservation


National Resources


Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)

The majority of Montana's Native American students are enrolled in public schools located outside of reservation boundaries. Students in public schools, either within or near reservations are also served by the Montana Office of Public Instruction. The Bureau of Indian Education is responsible for the educational guidance for a small percentage of American Indian students throughout the United States.   Montana does have two BIE schools: Northern Cheyenne Tribal School located in Busby, MT and Two Eagle River School in Pablo, MT.

National and International Days of Recognition

Student Support

American Indian College Fund - Financial Aid Basics

American Indian Graduate Center

American Indian Student Centers

Financial Aid Guide for Minority Students

Indian Health Service Scholarship Program

Indigenous Scholars of Promise

Native American College Student Support Guide

Scholarships & Resources for Native American and Alaska Native Students

Science Programs Comprehensive Guide - This guide features information on accredited science programs for Montana. it includes interviews with professionals, core competencies for careers, and detailed write-ups on all programs within the state.

Teaching Degrees Montana Guidebook - this guidebook features in-depth analysis and comparisons on all accredited educational instruction programs in the state along with salary information, tuition costs, and student-to faculty ratios.


School Climate Resources

Optimizing Education Data Systems

Attendance Works

Chronic Absence and Native American Students: Unique Challenges

Directory of Indian Education Programs in Montana

15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention

Rural Dropout Prevention Resources

Montana GEAR UP

MSU TRiO Student Support Services 

U of M TRIO Student Support Services

American Indian College Fund

American Indian Higher Education Consortium