Native American Needs Assessment Survey Results - Student Pilot

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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. In 2021, student voices were included
in the needs assessment process for the first time using a pilot student conducted with students in grades 3 through 12. Because a pilot survey
was used, results should be interpreted with caution.

Who Took the Survey?

A total of 88 students took the survey. 51% of those were in grades 3 through 8, while 49% were in grades 9 through 12.

98% of students described themselves as Native American or multi-racial
(that included Native American). These students mostly identified as:

  • 44% Sioux (Lakota, Dakota)
  • 20% Multiple Tribal Affiliations
  • 15% Three Affiliated Tribes MHA
  • 12% Chippewa
  • 2% Shoshone
  • 2% Tsalagiyi Nvdagi (Texas Cherokee)
  • 1% Blackfeet Nation
  • 2% Unspecified
  •  

"...teaching isn't just a job, it's being passionate about helping students grow and succeed."     - Survey Respondent


"There is a lot of disrespect with Natives, we often get put aside and we shouldn't be treated like that, we are people too and not savages."      - Survey Respondent


Inclusion of Native American Perspectives in Classroom Content

Students noted the importance of learning about issues affecting Native Americans. Of the students surveyed, an average of:

  • 53% reported that it was very or extremely important that schools provide a Native American language class or club
    • 40% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 67% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 50% reported that it was extremely or very important that all students learn about current issues affecting Native Americans
    • 44% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 56% of respondents in grades 9-12

Students reported Native American perspectives are not frequently found in educational content. Of the students surveyed, only an average of:

  • 33% reported they could frequently find books in their library written by Native American authors
    • 31% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 35% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 17% reported they frequently felt Native Americans were fairly
    and correctly represented in textbooks
    • 20% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 14% of respondents in grades 9-12

“Everyone should be taught about Native American history. The true history.”     - Survey Respondent


“I think we need a club or something specifically for Native and       Non-native students to learn more about culture and representation.”     - Survey Respondent


Bullying

Students did not report getting bullied often, but they reported seeing other students get bullied. Of the students surveyed, an average of:

  • 8% of students reported that they almost always or always get bullied at school
    • 9% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 5% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 24% reported that kids in their school almost always or always get bullied
    • 17% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 30% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • Students get bullied mostly
    • 51% in the halls
    • 44% at lunch
    • 5% other
  • Students were most likely getting bullied for
    • 55% identifying as LGBTQ+
    • 52% their physical features

“I want the teachers and principal to know
when an Indigenous student is harassed we
want you to listen to us.”
     - Survey Respondent


What Students Want Teachers and Administrators to Know

When students were asked “What else do you want your teachers and administrators to know,” about 38% replied with feedback such as reducing bullying and racism, listening to students, and offering additional or different courses. Some key quotes are:

  • “Nothing at the moment. Things have been fine so far. When  there was an issue, it was fixed right away.”  - Survey Respondent
  • “A lot of things are harder to access for POC (people of color), and so pushing so much onto students in general and expecting
    them to finish it all up…is close to impossible to maintain.”  - Survey Respondent

 

Attendance and Expectations

Students felt it is important for them to go to school every day and felt they received encouragement from adults in their schools. Of the students surveyed, an average of:

  • 71% reported that they always or almost always feel like it is important to go to school every day
    • 82% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 60% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 69% reported that adults in their school encouraged them to do their best
    • 68% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 70% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 46% reported that teachers encouraged them to plan for their future
    • 45% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 47% of respondents in grades 9-12

Students indicated a need for additional support from their school to prepare them for the future. Of the students surveyed, an average of:

  • 75% suggested a class on life skills
    • 76% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 74% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 64% suggested a class on budgeting and paying bills
    • 56% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 72% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 63% suggested a need for help to apply for college
    • 60% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 65% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 61% suggested a need for help to prepare for college life
    • 60% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 63% of respondents in grades 9-12

Students had a variety of reasons for missing school. Students mostly said they missed school because:

  • 70% they were sick
    • 76% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 65% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 64% they had a doctor’s appointment
    • 69% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 58% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 34% they were attending a family event
    • 36% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 33% of respondents in grades 9-12
  • 18% they missed the bus
    • 7% of respondents in grades 3-8
    • 30% of respondents in grades 9-12

 

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