Abstract: What kinds of challenges do educators face in increasing Native American high school graduation rates, and what kinds of adaptations to a traditional high school are understood as necessary to achieve this outcome? This case study explored these questions as part of a larger multiple case study that investigated practices and processes related to high school graduation rates. It focused on educators’ attempts to increase Native American student graduation rates in a high school with typical gaps in graduation rates between Native American students and white students. Data collected included teacher and administrator interviews and documentary evidence. Framed by socioecological theory that focuses on relationships between district, school, and classroom processes and practices, study findings revealed that adaptations to improve Native youth graduation rates included (1) offering personally-relevant, real-world, experiential, and interdisciplinary learning experiences aligned to students’ own learning goals; (2) adapting school schedules to students’ lives outside of school; (3) prioritizing developing students’ sense of worth in contributing to their communities and societies; (4) providing flexibility regarding absences, (5) offering effective supports that emphasize connecting to an adult; and (6) partnering with families and other community members. Implications for future research and practice are discussed in light of the findings.
The High School Journal – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jun 19, 2015