The Native American Needs Assessment Action Plan is designed to assist educators and administrators in addressing the needs and areas of possible opportunity that have been identified through the annual Native American Needs Assessment Survey conducted by the ND Department of Public Instruction.


What does this Action Plan contain?

The Action Plan is organized around areas of need identified by the Native American Needs Assessment Survey. Each need has a set of evidence-based strategies and resources associated with it. The Action Plan is designed as a living document. After each administration of the Needs Assessment Survey, the Action Plan will be updated, and additional needs and associated strategies and resources will be added.


picture of a tepee on the ND Capitol grounds


Using the Action Plan

The use of specific strategies outlined in the action plan has the potential to impact Native American student achievement outcomes and help to close educational gaps. Thus, this plan is particularly useful for schools or districts that have been identified for targeted or comprehensive support. These schools can align the strategies in the Action Plan with their improvement efforts to help close achievement gaps. In addition, this plan can be used by educators in a variety of other circumstances, at all levels of the K–12 education system.

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Who Should Use the Action Plan
  • Teachers (acting individually or as a team) might use the Action Plan to supplement existing strategies or to select strategies for their classes if their schools are not implementing strategies schoolwide or at the teachers’ grade levels.
  • Principals might use the Action Plan to assist their staff in understanding the range of strategies available to address identified needs and in selecting new strategies to implement schoolwide or at specific grade levels.
  • Superintendents might use the Action Plan to guide discussions about, and selection of, strategies for addressing the needs of their Native American students with their school boards, families and communities, and principals.
  • Researchers might use the Action Plan to identify areas that require additional research or to learn more about topics of interest to schools with large populations of Native American students.
  • Policymakers might use the Action Plan to identify areas in which policy could support educators’ efforts to improve Native American student achievement, to better understand the education issues facing Native American students, or to develop their own understanding of Native American culture and experiences and the ways they influence Native American students’ education.
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How to Use the Action Plan
  • Navigate to the area of need you are interested in addressing.
  • Navigate to the strategy that you have determined you would like to use.
  • Select whether you would benefit most from a resource or professional development opportunity.
  • Select which of the professional development opportunities or resources match your needs or the needs of the intended users.
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How to Determine the Need
  • Collect any relevant data you have about your school or classroom (e.g., attendance, achievement, surveys). If possible, review the data with several of your colleagues or as a school faculty.
    • Think about any trends in these data. For example, is student attendance improving or declining? Is teacher retention improving?
    • Discuss any strengths in the data that can be leveraged. For example, if you have a positive relationship with your tribal community, are there ways to expand that engagement to support improvement efforts?
    • Is there a particular area that stands out as a weakness?
  • Discuss areas of weakness with your colleagues and possible reasons why they are weaknesses (e.g., there is a lack of understanding about culturally responsive teaching).
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How to Select a Strategy to Address an Identified Need
  • Using the Action Plan, identify a small number of strategies associated with the need and the possible reasons for the weaknesses revealed by the data you analyzed.
  • To select strategies, consider the following questions:
    • Which strategies that address the need are currently being implemented?
    • Which strategies seem to be working well, and how do you know?
    • Which strategies have not been tried in your school or district?
    • What resources will the strategies you are considering require, and which of those resources do you have or can you acquire?

If you need help selecting a strategy, consider the example here

  • Review the action plan for resources and professional development opportunities associated with the strategies you selected. To support the success of your improvement efforts, limit the number of strategies you are implementing at any one time.
  • Over time, monitor the implementation and success of the strategies you selected by gathering and analyzing relevant data. For example, if you are focusing on improving attendance, do these data change over the course of 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year?
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How to Use Professional Development to Support Strategy Implementation

The strategy you selected most likely will require teachers to learn new skills. That is why it is important to consider the following characteristics of effective professional development as you plan how teachers will learn and apply these skills so that student outcomes improve.

  • Effective professional development:
    • Focuses on specific curriculum content.
    • Engages teachers in designing and trying out teaching strategies.
    • Supports collaboration among teachers, often in job-embedded contexts.
    • Uses models of effective practice.
    • Provides coaching and expert support.
    • Offers feedback and reflection.
    • Is of sustained duration, with time to learn, practice, implement, and reflect. (Darling-Hammond, Hyler, & Gardner, 2017)
  • Effective professional development begins with systematic planning (Guskey, 2014). Ask yourself the following questions, based on Guskey (2014), as you plan professional development:
    • What are our goals for student learning outcomes?
    • Given our goals for student learning outcomes, what are the purpose and goals for teacher learning?
    • What organizational supports do we have, or can we acquire, to support this teacher learning? (Organizational support includes active participation and encouragement from school leaders; adequate time, funding, instructional materials, and technology; and opportunities for feedback to teachers about how well the new practices are working.)
    • What specific knowledge and skills do teachers need to implement the strategy well?
    • What set of learning experiences will help teachers acquire this knowledge and skills? (Learning experiences include seminars, workshops, collaborative planning, opportunities for practice with feedback, study groups, action research projects, coaching, professional learning communities, and online courses.)
  • Remember, one-shot professional development sessions will not help you achieve your goals for student or teacher learning. Consider a range of activities covering many hours (e.g., 50) over 6–12 months (Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss, & Shapley, 2007). Equally important, evaluate your professional development to ensure that it is accomplishing its intended purposes and achieving its intended outcomes.
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Types of Tools Available

There are a variety of tools in the Action Plan, including research articles and briefs, practitioner articles, guides, videos, toolkits, websites, reports, and infographics. Most of the resources are available at no cost. These tools are grouped under four categories, and each category is identified by a bold letter code in parenthesis.

  • Article/report/guide (ARG)
  • Website/webinar/online resource (WOLR)
  • Lesson plan/curriculum//tool/toolkit (LCT)
  • Professional development (PD)