Each year the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) seeks to better understand the strengths and specific needs of the schools serving Native American students. The Native American Needs Assessment is conducted every Fall by NDDPI. In 2023 teachers and administrators in 35 schools across 25 local education agencies that serve a substantial proportion of Native American students were recruited to participate. 

The assessment helps the state discover areas of strength and celebration, establish commonalities across districts or schools, and determine needs and priorities for school support. The resulting ND Native American Needs Assessment Action Plan is developed annually based on survey results and provided school and district staff with tools and resources. During the fall 2023 survey process, responses were received from 19 administrators in schools serving large proportions of Native American students. It is important to note this sample size might not be representative of all administrators in schools serving Native American students and the survey results should be interpreted with that in mind.

School Climate and Culture

Administrators report at least some school focus on student attendance. Of the administrators surveyed:

  • 100% of schools monitor student attendance
  • 100% state schools use data to identify attendance patterns
  • 100% report schools engage with families to support student attendance
  • 100% believe schools identify causes to support student attendance
  • 100% say schools implement programs to support student attendance

A sizable majority of respondents report at least some school efforts to address bullying. Overall, respondents saw more opportunity to partner with parents to reduce bullying. Administrators responded:

  • 100% believe schools' bullying policies are effective
  • 94% say schools use evidence-based methods to reduce bullying
  • 72% state schools partner with parents to reduce bullying
  • 100% feel schools understand the prevalence of bullying
  • 94% believe students feel safe reporting bullying
  • 67%say students engage in cyberbullying

Administrators believe schools exert effort to serve students equitably, but indicate room to grow when it comes to schools providing instructional materials to students. In environments where some students and their families lack resources, schools can generate more equity by consistently providing instructional materials. Of the administrators surveyed:

  • 100% believe schools provide a safe and positive learning environment
  • 100% state teachers use instructional practices to promote equity
  • 78% say schools provide instructional materials
  • 89% believe all students have access to technology to complete homework
  • 100% report staff treat all students respectfully
  • 100% feel students are treated equally regardless of race or ethnicity

Administrator respondents reported seeing their school climate as positive, but also indicate a need for more professional development to foster the right school climate for Native American students. Administrators said:

  • 100% feel teachers establish caring and trusting relationships with students
  • 100% say teachers hold high expectations for all students
  • 94% report teachers seek to engage families to support student learning
  • 100% believe teachers feel valued and respected by students, parents, and administrators
  • 83% feel schools offer professional development so teachers can better support Native American students
  • 100% state schools constructively use assessment data to support students
  • 100% believe school promote collaborative leadership between teachers and administrators

Culturally Responsive Instruction

Fall 2023 respondents generally see teachers as culturally responsive to the needs of students and agree that Native American language instruction is commonly incorporated into daily/weekly activities, though see opportunity for more daily/weekly culturally responsive instruction. Administrators surveyed responded:

  • 94% believe teachers are culturally responsive to the needs of students
  • 95% participate in local tribal events
  • 84% say schools engage with community to connect youth to Native American culture and tradition

Student Well-Being

Respondents note room for improvement in terms of addressing student well-being, specifically in the areas of noncognitive, social-emotional skills. Administrator respondents said:

  • 94% feel schools offer mental health services that support students' needs
  • 83% say schools engage community to connect youth to culturally responsive health care services
  • 78% report schools have programs to support students' noncognitive, social-emotional skills
  • 83% believe schools partner with parents to understand causes of students' stress and trauma

Administrators feel effective interventions and school counselors are in place and report:

  • 94% state schools use culturally responsive interventions such as trauma-informed practices & restorative justice
  • 100% believe counselors effectively provide mental health support 

North Dakota Senate Bill 2304

In 2023, most administrators were aware of Senate Bill (SB) 2304 which passed in 2021 prioritizing teaching Native American history. Fewer were aware of the NDDPI-developed resources available to them. Administrator respondents reported:

  • 89% are aware of SB 2304
  • 67% are aware of the resources provided by NDDPI to support SB 2304
  • 78% say their schools use the resources to support SB 2304

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Administrators are consistently concerned about teacher recruitment and retention in their schools and districts. Of the respondents:

  • 100% are concerned about recruitment of high-quality teachers
  • 100% are concerned about retention of high-quality teachers
  • 67% have a specific program for recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers

"It was no surprise that our great North Dakota teachers hold high standards and care about their students, and we were encouraged by how many teachers serving Native American students are interested in receiving further resources to better integrate Native culture into their classes"

- Lucy Fredericks, Director, Office of Indian/Multicultural Education

Administrator Survey Results from 2018 - 2023*

(*the survey was not conducted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

North Dakota Native American Essential Understandings (NDNAEUs)

Administrators reported an increased awareness of the NDNAEUs and noted their teachers need support to integrate the NDNAEUs content. The administrators surveyed reported:

61%65%72%50%72%awareness of the NDNAEUs+22%
0%7%17%41%56%teachers integrating NDNAEUs in their curriculum and instruction+15%
6%7%28%36%61%teachers prioritizing NDNAEUs content in their classrooms+25%
0%7%17%32%44%teachers are confident in implementing the NDNAEUs in their classroom+12%
28%22%22%23%28%teachers participate in NDNAEUs professional development provided by NDDPI+5%













Professional Development

Administrators and teachers have mostly favorable views of available professional development (PD). Administrators said:

63%81%84%100%100%receiving PD that is aligned with the needs of their school+0%
25%60%50%64%89%PD is culturally appropriate for the needs of Native American students+25%
25%60%61%73%94%schools offer PD opportunities for teachers to effectively support Native American students+21%
31%72%61%68%100%administrators receiving PD that is inclusive of a variety of stakeholders including educators, families, & tribal leaders+32%
28%22%22%23%28%teachers participate in NDNAEUs PD offered by NDDPI+5%
-50%50%50%94%teachers provided sufficient PD to use culturally competent teaching strategies+44%

















Culturally Responsive Instruction

Fall 2023 respondents generally see teachers as culturally responsive to the needs of students and agree that Native American language instruction is commonly incorporated into daily/weekly activities, though see opportunity for more daily/weekly culturally responsive instruction. Administrators surveyed responded the following occur daily or weekly:

22%44%28%41%32%teachers integrate culturally appropriate Native American culture and tradition into instruction-9%
6%41%34%23%5%teachers integrate current issues affecting Native American communities into content -18%


71%61%64%68%schools provide instruction in Native American languages+4%


20%12%18%26%schools engage in productive dialogue with Native American communities+8%


40%23%36%16%teachers provide opportunities for student engagement with Native American culture and community-20%



















"We have put our best foot forward in finding ways to best support our Native American students."     

- Survey Respondent

The North Dakota Needs Assessment Action Plan helps address areas of opportunity. For support, contact the Office of Indian/Multicultural Education.