For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Survey To Help ND Indian Students
BISMARCK, N.D., Sept. 21, 2017 – The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction distributed a Native American Needs Assessment on Thursday to school leaders and teachers in the 29 schools that serve the state’s Native American students and communities.
The assessment asks educators what they believe they need to accomplish their educational objectives. The NDDPI worked closely with tribal educators to improve this year’s assessment, using their comments to give more depth to its questions and put more emphasis on stakeholder opinions.
“The tools that we use to help our schools and students need to continually improve,” said Lucy Fredericks, the department’s director of American Indian and multicultural education. “By working directly with educators in our Native American schools, we were able to hone the assessment to better support our Native American students and school educators.”
NDDPI and its stakeholders decided to increase the number and types of questions in the short survey and distribute it to more educators. To do this, NDDPI enlisted the support of the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Central to encourage discussions, make better use of survey data, and help develop a plan to put the survey information to use.
“REL Central was proud to partner with NDDPI and Native American community stakeholders and offer our support to enhance their innovative assessment survey,” said consultant Kerry Englert, who is working on the project. “We hope this work will function as a tool toward improved student outcomes in North Dakota and other Native American communities across the country.”
NDDPI conducts the North Dakota Native American Education Needs Assessment at the beginning of each school year. The information is used to write a plan for helping schools to address the challenges identified by the assessment. A follow-up assessment will be done later in the school year.
A focus group of educators from the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation offered suggestions that strengthened and shaped the content of the assessment.