Terri Bissonette



             Indian Education

Regional Addressing the Academic Language Gap for American Indian Students

Project Context: This project, initiated in Year 1, builds educator capacity to use reciprocal teaching and targeted academic language to reduce the academic language gap and thereby improve academic outcomes for American Indian students. By implementing emerging/promising practices (reciprocal teaching) within the NCCC region, this project will facilitate the identification and scaling‐up of successful strategies by participating SEAs. In Years 1 and 2, NCCC built relationships with the Directors of Indian Education in North Dakota and South Dakota, and corresponding SEA staff in Nebraska and Wyoming (as these two states do not have director‐level positions dedicated to Indian education). In
Year 3, NCCC trained the first cohort of teachers from Niobrara, Nebraska and Pine Ridge, South Dakota. In Year 4, NCCC continued to support the pilot implementation at Niobrara Public School through virtual observations and feedback sessions. NCCC also trained a second cohort of schools (Omaha Nation Public School in Macy, NE and Tiospa Zina Tribal School in Agency Village, SD) in academic language and the reciprocal teaching strategy. In early 2016, Arapahoe Middle School in Riverton, WY joined the pilot project as part of the second cohort.
Data from Year 4 indicated that teachers need additional professional development and coaching to implement reciprocal teaching strategies. Therefore, in Year 5, NCCC will provide additional professional development and coaching, and conduct demonstration teaching and co‐teaching sessions in the four remaining pilot schools. As in Years 3 and 4, NCCC will collect data to monitor teacher practice through implementation logs and observations (on‐site and virtual). NCCC will produce a report on lessons learned to inform decisions about scaling up the pilot at each participating SEA and to inform the Comprehensive Center network.
Priority Area: Indian Education
Project Goals and Objectives:
Goal 2: Build SEA organizational capacity to support district- and school-level implementation of effective practices to improve student outcomes
Objective 2.1: Increase SEA capacity to support the implementation of effective practices in districts and schools



Improving Outcomes for Native American Students: Addressing the Academic Language Gap webinar presents information on a pilot project focused on reciprocal teaching and targeted academic language in two middle schools in South Dakota and Nebraska. The webinar includes: an overview of the project; a sample of PD using the Reciprocal Teaching in Action video series; a summary of lessons learned and data collected to date; and Q & A.


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