Native American students make up approximately 11 percent of the student population in South Dakota. Many of these young people come from families living in poverty, and the connections between poverty and lower academic achievement have been well documented.
In South Dakota, there is a 28 point difference between how our Native American and white students perform on the National Assessment of Educational Progress - Reading at 4th grade. The gap widens to 29 points at 8th grade.
Furthermore, we know that students living in poverty are three times more likely to drop out of high school or fail to graduate on time. And students who are poor readers and live in poverty are the hardest hit; they are six times at a greater risk to drop out than their proficient counterparts. (Double Jeopardy, Annie E. Casey Foundation 2011)
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Using school support teams to focus reading interventions
• Particularly in schools designated as Priority, school support teams are helping to implement reading interventions beginning in the early grades.
• This process involves frequent monitoring of student progress using formative assessment tools.
• Response to Intervention, or RTI, is a progressive approach that provides early intervention with the goal of improving achievement of all students. It has been used successfully in a number of schools across the state.
Continuing to promote graduation from high school
• Programs such as GEAR UP and College Access guide students who may not traditionally have contemplated postsecondary education to the various opportunities available to them.
Expanding the Jobs for America’s Graduates program
• Expanding the Jobs for America's Graduates targets students at risk of dropping out of high school by providing intensive support throughout the student’s academic career.
• It has experienced success both in South Dakota and across the nation.
• An expansion has the potential to increase the number of South Dakota students, including Native American students, who graduate high school and pursue postsecondary opportunities.
For additional information, contact the South Dakota Department of Education
at (605) 773-3134.