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

Indian Student Achievement

The American Indian Student Achievement (AISA) Unit joined with the Tribal Relations and Resiliency Unit to create the Tribal Student Achievement and Relations Unit (TSAR). With a expansive team that is fully committed to closing the opportunity gap that exists between American Indian students and their peers, we embark on a mission of cultural inclusion and relationship. We are moving in a new direction by including our tribal voices, our elders, and our youth. Identifying the strengths and direction they want to proceed to live successfully.

The 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.

Graduate Profile Development: Engaging Montana Tribes and American Indians


Culture & Self Identity: •Integration of culture, teachings, & knowledge •School-wide language use. •Integration of Cultural Practices & Language •Youth Identity & Voice •Community & Tribal Outreach and Collaboration •Oral Traditions & Guidance; Instruction: •Decolonizing Data-Driven Instruction. •Indigenous Pedagogy •Engagement •Relevant Learning •Multi-Tiered Systems of Support •Professional Development for educators. •Community Involvement •Attendance Efforts •Relevant Learning •Land- and Place-Based Learning Strategies; Safety: •School Violence Prevention •Positive School Climate •Safe & Healthy Relationships Resources & Curriculum •Consistent Routines •Attendance •Family Involvement •Community Collaboration Efforts; Holistic wellness: ● Cultural Values •Indigenous Resilience •Indigenized Tiered Systems of Support •Relational & Restorative Practices •Self-Care •Family & Community Engagement •Elder Wellness Teachings & Support

Culturally Holistic School Framework PDF

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, guidance and resources for spending that achievement gap funding.

Talking Circles Quick Start Guidance

Culture and Self-Identity



Holistic Wellness



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 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.

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