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

Indian Student Achievement

The American Indian Student Achievement unit provides supports for programs in K-12 education related to Indian education in Montana. AISA operates within 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 create positive learning environments that serve the whole child and  foster a positive identity. AISA is committed to working with American Indian students, families, schools, and communities. 

AISA Mission Statement

Mission statement: The AISA team strives to create the conditions necessary to close the American Indian student achievement gap by supporting the implementation of evidence-based and distinct Indigenous, whole child strategies within the K-12 public education system to create pathways for Indigenous youth to meet their educational and lifelong goals.

Common Agreements to Support Indian Student Achievement

AISA Specialists believe every student and individual:

  • Is inherently worthy and valuable 

  • Always exists in a matrix of relationships

  • Has their own story and shared stories

  • Has the capacity to learn 

  • Has the capacity to change their behaviors 

  • Impacts their school and community 

Guiding Principles in Approaching All AISA Activities

Guiding principles in approaching all AISA activities: 

  • Always be a good relative 

  • Involve youth & Elders/Knowledge Keepers at every level

  • Utilize strength-based approaches 

  • Respect sovereignty: Ask for approval from tribal councils and keep them involved in the process and ensure data sovereignty 

  • Honor the lived experiences of all involved in supporting American Indian student success

  • Be explicit in explaining all partners roles and responsibilities




AISA Research and Data


The American Indian Student Achievement Unit and the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Research Team collaborated to explore local community and education stakeholder perceptions about the achievement gap. The project included exploratory focus groups.

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 on 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.

See the MACIE Constitution


Visit the MACIE Webpage for more information

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

Office of Public Instruction 

GEMS and Early Warning System Professional Development and Information


Other Entities