n 2018, the County Office of Education embarked on an effort to answer a question posed by the Santa Cruz Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The questions was: how well are our African American students doing in the schools of Santa Cruz County? This inspired us to ask the same question of all major student groups in Santa Cruz County, including our Native American Students. The answers we found was that in spite of academic success, Native American students feelings of safety in school have been decreasing.
California Healthy Kids Survey
Administered every two years, the California Healthy Kids Survey asks students questions on a variety of areas related to school success.
School connectedness represents an important indicator of school success. When asked if they feel close to people at school, students must answer if the strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, or strongly disagree with the statement. The data suggest that before 2019, almost 3/4 of American Indian students felt connected to people at their schools. However, that percentage fell sharply between 2017 and 2019. It is important to note that the number of Native American students in the sample size is small, which could impact the generalizability of the data.
When asked the question "How safe do you feel when you are school?", students must select from the possibilities of very safe, safe, neither safe nor unsafe, unsafe, or very unsafe. Responses on the CDPH survey demonstrate that between 2015 and 2019, Native American youth have felt less safe at school than most other student groups. It is important to note that the number of African American students in the sample size is small, which could impact the generalizability of the data.
California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)
Performance on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), a system of assessments that measure student progress in different subjects. A common measure of success is the percentage of students who perform at or above the standards set for each grade level by the state of California.
CAASPP- State Assessment: English Language Arts
Performance on the Language Arts part of the CAASPP shows a consistent and widening performance gap between Native American students and their white and Asian peers.
CAASPP- State Assessment: Math
In mathematics we see that the opportunity gap between Native American students and their peers is persistent and widening.
CAASPP- State Assessment: Science
In science the pattern continues with an opportunity gap between Native American students and Asian, Bi-racial, and white students.