states that a school district in which there are ten or more American Indian students enrolled and each American Indian school must establish an American Indian education parent advisory committee. Commonly referred to as American Indian Parent Advisory Committees (AIPACs), these committees serve in an advisory role and help ensure that American Indian students are receiving culturally relevant and equitable educational opportunities. These committees are critical to the achievement and success of American Indian students statewide, and they offer a valuable opportunity to strengthen district and parent partnerships.
Each fall, districts submit racial and demographic student data to MDE via their elected reporting platform. The Office of Indian Education (OIE) uses that reported data to identify which districts have 10 or more American Indian students. Due to reporting deadlines, the OIE uses the previous year’s student counts for determining eligibility for the subsequent school year. For example, October 1, 2019 American Indian student counts determined which districts need an AIPAC for the 2020-21 school year. Identified districts will receive an email annually on April 15 that will provide the district's American Indian student count for the upcoming school year.
AIPACs must be comprised primarily of parents of American Indian students within the district. American Indian secondary students and American Indian district staff are also eligible to serve on the committee, as are American Indian community members. While non-Native district staff may participate in the AIPAC meetings, they are not permitted to be committee members, and should not be included on the AIPAC roster. District staff should not outnumber committee members at meetings.
AIPACs drive the cultural and educational offerings for American Indian students within their district. In order to enhance the district and AIPAC partnership, the OIE has provided a self-assessment rubric (see Resources
below) that can be used to evaluate current services to American Indian students and their families. This resource is a valuable tool that should be used collaboratively to ensure the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indian students are met.
Additionally, in order for the AIPAC to make informed decisions, the district must afford the committee the information and data needed to make sound recommendations. This information includes, but is not limited to, testing data, attendance data, graduation rates, and student count information.
The Resolution of Concurrence or Nonconcurrence (Annual Compliance)
Prior to March 1 of each year, the AIPAC must meet to discuss whether or not they concur with the educational offerings that have been extended by the district to American Indian students. If the AIPAC finds that the district and/or school board have been meeting the needs of American Indian students, they issue a vote and resolution of concurrence. If they find that the district and/or school board have not been meeting the needs of American Indian students, they issue a vote and resolution of nonconcurrence.
The vote is reflected formally on documentation provided by the OIE (see Resources below). The vote and resolution must be presented to the school board by one or more members of the AIPAC. If the vote is one of nonconcurrence, the AIPAC must also provide written recommendations for improvement to the school board at the time of the presentation. The school board does not “approve” the resolution. They receive the information and it is reflected within the board minutes. In the case of nonconcurrence, the school board is given 60 days in which to respond in writing to the AIPAC recommendations. This board response must also be provided to the OIE, and must be signed by the entire school board.
In order to accomplish these activities by the March 1 deadline, the OIE recommends the following timeline:
- The AIPAC meets to issue their vote, sign their vote and resolution documents, and fill out the AIPAC roster.
- District staff assists the committee with getting on the next available school board agenda.
- The AIPAC presents their vote and resolution, in person, to the school board at the assigned board meeting.
- The school board chair, superintendent and AIPAC chair sign the required documents.
Due on or before March 1
What if Our District Doesn't Have an AIPAC?
We recognize that districts who are new to this statutory requirement may find committee formation daunting, but it needn’t be. Instead, the OIE encourages districts to view this process as an exciting opportunity to learn and grow, in partnership, with American Indian students, families and community members. With thoughtful and intentional outreach and collaboration, American Indian students will flourish within your district, and when American Indian students do better, we all do better.
Each district that is new to this requirement will receive dedicated assistance from an OIE staff member. Assistance will be tailored to each district’s specific circumstances. Initial outreach will be provided when districts are notified of their American Indian student count on April 15, and will continue throughout the year until an AIPAC has been formed.