Protective factors that enhance the resilience of American Indian students in graduating from urban high schools

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development


The purpose of this research was to explore protective factors that strengthen the innate resilience of American Indian students who seek to graduate from urban high schools. A collective case study using Community Based Participatory Research and decolonizing methodologies was conducted with three co-researchers who graduated from a Montana urban high school in 2014 or 2015. Data sources included a series of three in depth interviews with each co-researcher and scrapbooks they created to document their high school years and protective factors. One family focus group provided an additional data source. Analysis reveals the importance of family and cultural protective factors, including the knowledge of tribal histories. Another protective factor is Montana's multicultural mandate, Indian Education for All, when implemented with culturally responsive pedagogy. Co-researchers benefitted from caring teachers who maintained high standards. Further protective factors were school and district based programs that supported student achievement, connected Native families with schools and celebrated, sustained or revitalized Native culture in urban high schools.




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