Native American Needs Assessment Survey Results - Teachers


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 educators in 29 schools that serve predominantly 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.

School Climate

Teachers feel they provide a positive environment. In 2021, the Native American Needs Assessment was administered for the third time. 80 teachers in schools serving large proportions of Native American students responded. The results showed that of teachers surveyed:

  • 86% use instructional practices grounded in equity
  • 78% proactively work with parents to address absenteeism 
  • 76% constructively use assessment data to support students
  • 71% provide a safe and positive learning environment

Stress and Trauma Support

Teachers noted that students need more support. Social-emotional support and health have become increasingly important issues during the pandemic.
Of the teachers surveyed:

  • 53% need additional professional development in trauma-informed practices 
  • 53% school staff effectively support students’ mental health
  • 43% work with parents to support stress or trauma
  • 41% implement culturally based behavioral interventions

North Dakota Native American Essential Understandings (NDNAEUs)

Teachers need professional development for implementation of the NDNAEUs. The results of the surveys showed that the majority (62%) of teachers felt more professional development was needed to help them provide culturally responsive instruction and implement the NDNAEUs.
Of the teachers surveyed:

  • 38% receive professional development to use culturally-based strategies for teaching Native American students
  • 25% have awareness of the Understandings (NDNAEUs)
  • 16% integrate the NDNAEUs content in their classroom

North Dakota Senate Bill 2304

In 2021, most teachers were unaware of Senate Bill 2304. The new SB 2304 prioritizes teaching Native American history, but only a minority of teachers (44%) reported having “some extent” or “a great extent” of knowledge about SB 2304.

  • Are you aware of SB 2304?
    • 39% little to no extent
    • 18% in the middle
    • 44% some extent/a great extent
  • Is your school using the resources to support SB 2304?
    • 39% little to no extent
    • 33% in the middle
    • 29% some extent/a great extent
  • Are you aware of the resources provided on the NDDPI website to support SB 2304?
    • 51% little to no extent
    • 25% in the middle
    • 24% some extent/a great extent

Teacher Survey Results from 2018, 2018, 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 in this area. Teachers report increases in schools:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
33% 39% 53% offering mental health services that support students' needs +20%
37% 38% 46% providing programs to support students' non-cognitive skills +9%
32% 37% 40% engaging community/local tribe to connect youth to culturally responsive mental and physical health care services +8%
36% 38% 43% partnering with parents to understand causes of students' stress or trauma +7%

"We need a mental health professional on site. There should also be some sort of professional development offered, for those of us who are interested especially, to be extra resources when counselors are not available"     - Survey Respondent

North Dakota Native American Essential Understandings (NDNAEUs)

Teachers have low levels of implementation of NDNAEUs. Teachers report low levels of awareness and implementation of the NDNAEUs and decreased participation in PD.

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
15% 13% 16% implementation of NDNAEUs +1%
26% 21% 25% awareness of NDNAEUs -1%
22% 18% 18% participation in state professional development on NDNAEUs -4%


Professional Development

More teachers receive culturally relevant PD, but feel there is still a need for more. Teachers report they:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
37% 38% 46% are offered PD to support the unique needs of Native American students +9%
42% 42% 46% receive culturally appropriate PD to support the unique needs of Native American students +4%
59% 35% 38% are individually provided with sufficient PD to use culturally competent strategies for teaching Native American students -21%


Culturally Responsive Instruction

Teachers improved in integrating culture into instruction. Around 30% of teachers consistently report providing culturally responsive instruction daily or weekly. Teachers report they:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
34% 36% 37% integrate culturally appropriate Native American culture and tradition into instruction +3%
30% 35% 31% integrate current issues affecting Native American people and communities into content +1%


Schools improved in cultural responsiveness. Teachers report daily or weekly increases in schools:

'18 '19 '21 Description +/-
39% 71% 56% providing instruction in Native American languages +17%
28% 32% 39% providing opportunities for student engagement and/or connections to Native American culture and community +11%
26% 21% 34% engaging in a productive dialogue with Native American communities +8%

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