Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this study was twofold. The first purpose was to analyze the level of culturally responsive practices of South Dakota elementary schools with significant populations of Native American students. A survey was given to 34 elementary school counselors, each of whom served public elementary schools in South Dakota with a significant number of Native American students, to cD'ermine the cultural responsiveness of each participating school. Scores weie determined in each of five domains to show the level of cultural responsiveness in each domain. Weighted risk ratios were calculated from demographic da to determine the participafion rate of Native American students in special education pi 'gran.., in each of the participating schools.

The second purpose of this study was to determine how these culturally responsive practices relate to Native American student achievement and representation in special education services. The scores for each domain taken from the survey were compared with the achievement scores in math and reading and the attendance rates for Native American students in each of the participating schools. This was done to see how culturally responsive educational systems impact student achievement and participation in special education programs.

Based on the data collected, the researcher found that culturally responsive educational systems do not improve Native American student achievement in math and reading nor do they improve student attendance rales. The demographic data indicated that Native American students are still over-represented in special education programs in South Dakota public schools.