Native Language Immersion Programs and Native Student Identification Resources

July 18, 2017

Our parent organization, Education Northwest, recently spotlighted two areas related to one of the Northwest Comprehensive Center’s highest priorities: improving the educational experience and outcomes of American Indian/Alaska Native students in the Northwest.

Offering Native Language Immersion Programs In Public Schools

In 2015, Montana passed a bill to fund the development of Native language immersion programs with the goal of “raising student achievement, strengthening families, and preserving and perpetuating Indian language and culture throughout Indian Country and Montana.” Schools on the Blackfeet and Crow reservations used the funding to develop immersion programs, and the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI)—with technical assistance from the Northwest Comprehensive Center—supported the schools’ efforts. OPI’s Indian Education Director Mandy Smoker Broaddus shares some “Lessons from a Public Investment in Native Language Immersion Classrooms” on the Northwest Matters blog.

More Accurately Identifying Native Students

In a recent Northwest Matters blog post, Jason T. Younker, Ph.D., discusses some challenges colleges have faced in accurately identifying Native students, as well as the University of Oregon’s journey to better serve its American Indian/Alaska Native students through an improved identification process. According to Younker, “This process has greatly improved our relationship with the tribes, while also ensuring that students get the appropriate resources and support they need.”

The blog post includes a link to a new Education Northwest brief and an accompanying video that explain why accurately identifying Native students is vital for ensuring their civil rights, treaty obligations, and academic success. The resources also outline promising practices K–12 districts and schools, state education agencies, higher education institutions, and Title VI Indian Education offices can use to improve processes for identifying Native students.

Learn how the Northwest Comprehensive Center is working with state education agencies to improve outcomes for the region’s Native students.

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