Native American Needs Assessment Survey Results - Administrators


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 and asks questions of teachers and administrators in 29 schools that predominantly serve Native American students. The assessment helps the state discover areas of strength and celebration, establish commonalities across districts or schools, and determine priorities for school support. 18 administrators in schools serving
large proportions of Native American students responded to the 2021 survey. It is important to note this small 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 Attendance

Administrators believe teachers provide an inclusive learning environment.
Considering teachers in their district or school, administrators reported that:

  • 100% treat all students respectfully
  • 100% treat all students equally
  • 95% use instructional practices to promote equity
  • 89% provide a safe and positive learning environment

Administrators report that they provide support focused on student attendance. Of the administrators surveyed:

  • 89% work with families to address student attendance
  • 83% implement programs to support student attendance

Stress and Trauma Support

Social-emotional support and health have become increasingly important issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Administrators report that while they could use more professional development, their staff successfully work to provide mental health services and resources. Of the administrators surveyed:

  • 78% would like more professional development in trauma informed training and supporting student’s mental health
  • 72% believe staff effectively provide mental health support
  • 50% use culturally based behavioral interventions at their schools or districts
  • 45% work with parents to support stress and trauma at their schools or districts

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Administrators are almost unanimous in their concern for teacher recruitment and retention in their schools and districts. However, most do not have programs to address these needs. Of the administrators surveyed:

  • 100% are concerned about recruitment of high-quality teachers
  • 89% are concerned about retention of high-quality teachers
  • 28% 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, 2019, and 2021*

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

Behavior, Mental, and Social Emotional Health

Schools are providing more support. Administrators report increases in schools:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
50% 65% 83% offering mental health services +33%
53% 77% 72% providing effective mental health support +19%
38% 50% 50% using culturally responsive behavioral interventions +12%
44% 46% 56% engaging community or local tribes to connect youth to culturally responsive mental and physical health care services +12%


North Dakota Native American Essential Understandings (NDNAEUs)

Administrators reported awareness of the NDNAEUs, but noted their teachers need more support to integrate the NDNAEUs content. Of the administrators surveyed, they:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
61% 65% 72% have increasingly high levels of awareness of the NDNAUEs +11%
6% 7% 28% report teachers prioritizing NDNAEUs content in their classrooms +22%
0% 7% 17% report teachers integrating NDNAEUs in their curriculum and instruction +17%
60% 37% 78% report the biggest challenge to implementation is uncertainty about how to integrate with teachers' content areas +18%


Professional Development

Administrators and teachers are receiving more PD to support the unique needs of Native American students. Administrators report increases in schools:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
25% 60% 61% offering teachers PD opportunities to support Native American students +36%
31% 72% 61% providing administrators PD that is inclusive of a variety of stakeholders (e.g., teachers, administrators, parents, tribal members/leaders) +30%


Culturally Responsive Instruction

Teachers had increases in integrating culture into instruction in 2019, but saw declines in 2021, possibly related to the impacts of COVID-19.
Administrators reported the following changes in teachers providing culturally responsive instruction daily or weekly:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
6% 41% 34% integrating current issues affecting Native American people and communities into content +28%
22% 44% 28% integrating culturally appropriate Native American culture and tradition into instruction +6%


Schools improved in cultural responsiveness, but also saw slight declines from 2019 to 2021. Administrators reported the following changes in schools
using culturally responsive strategies daily or weekly:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
56% 71% 61% providing instruction in Native American languages +5%
28% 40% 23% providing opportunities for student engagement and/or connections to Native American culture and community -5%

"I wish there was more opportunities for teachers to get the professional development they need to be successful with 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.