ABSTRACT Native American students from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community have attended Stapley Junior High, one of 13 junior high schools in the Mesa Unified School District, since its doors opened in the fall of 1994. Over the years a variety of instructional practices have been used in an effort to improve academic outcomes for these students, who have posed a challenge to traditional educational methods. Interviews were conducted with eight educational professionals, including teachers, administrators, and a tutor who worked with these students on a daily basis. They each responded to the same series of questions, providing their insights based on first-hand interactions and knowledge. The interviews revealed factors that influenced student academic success, including caring, trust, communication, tutoring, and administrative support. Factors posing challenges to student success were identified as attendance, parental support, and gangs and drugs. In-school influences were arts and sports, friendship, inclusion, and behavior. Out-of-school influences were home and family, the concept of time, and educational considerations. The conclusion is that this is a complex problem, fueled by the proximity of the reservation to a major metropolitan area, the gang culture that is prevalent in the Salt River community, poverty, attendance issues, and the impact of parental involvement and support. The things that made a difference at Stapley Jr. High included staff who demonstrated caring by establishing trust and getting to know students on a personal level, teachers who were consistent and held students to a high standard, and teachers who were flexible with regard to time.