December’s students of the month

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Marysville School District’s very own Equity, Diversity, and Indigenous Education department created the Student of the Month awards to recognize outstanding students who have demonstrated commendable academic success in the classroom. Student awardees in the past have displayed an admirable dedication to their school work and active involvement amongst their peers.

Previously, only one girl and one boy student were honored, but the program has grown to include one impressive student from each of the elementary, middle, and high school levels. For their commitment to excellence in the classroom and backed by strong recommendations from school faculty, Dakota Laducer of Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary, Devaney Jones of Totem Middle School, and Keyondra Horne of Marysville Getchell High School were announced as students of the month for November.

The three students, all Tulalip tribal members, received special recognition and were given a commemorative certificate during the Marysville School District’s school board meeting held on Monday, December 10.

Dakota Laducer, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary.

Indigenous Education Liaison Breezy Distefano introduced Dakota to everyone in attendance. “Dakota has shown so much perseverance in his learning, and tries to learn something new every day,” she said. “He has recently increased his testing scores by over 200 points, which is a huge accomplishment.”

QCT Elementary teachers and Admin staff turned out to cheer on Dakota.

Dakota accepted his award with a large ovation from the crowd as many Quil Ceda Tulalip teachers and administrative staff turned out to support the young man’s academic milestone. 

Principal Douglas Shook explained, “We are absolutely proud of Dakota and the growth he has made as a student, but also as a leader. He is one of our students that embodies the growth spirit we have at Quil Ceda Tulalip. We have a lot of staff that are rooting for his success.”

Devaney Jones, Totem Middle School.

Next up, 8th grader Devaney was described by Native Liaison Terrance Sabbas. “Devaney is an amazing student who has top notch grades and is a great role model for all Totem students,” he said. “Talking with Devaney’s teachers they said she’s an incredibly hard worker, is very respectful, and has shown tremendous writing skills. What I enjoy most about Devaney is she takes her job as a student seriously and wants to achieve as best she can.”

Keyondra Horne, Marysville Getchell High School.

High school student of the month honors went to Getchell High School student standout, sophomore Keyondra Horne. “She has a 3.75 GPA and has only missed one day of school this year, so that is so awesome what she’s been able to achieve with her academics and attendance,” described Lead Indigenous Education Liaison, Matt Remle. “Not only is she succeeding in school, but even more astounding she is highly involved and engaged with her traditional culture. Keyondra is a fancy dancer in the Powwow circuit who reigns as a Princess for the Stillaguamish Powwow. She’s also been selected as a leader of her peers to be head-woman dancer for the upcoming MSD Christmas Powwow. No doubt, she will succeed in her post high school endeavors where she wants to go to college and major in Accounting.”

Going forward, a selection committee will review all student nominations based on their academics and school engagement. Each month three students (representing elementary, middle and high school levels) will be recognized as students of the month. For more information or to nominate a student, please contact Director of Equity, Diversity & Indigenous Education, Deborah Parker at 360-965-0059.

Why study of criminal justice?

Submitted by Jeanne Steffener, Tulalip Tribes Higher Ed

The study of criminal justice covers all areas of the justice system. This includes detection of crime through the arrest phase, trial, sentencing and treatment and eventual release of the offender. Other goals include rehabilitation of offenders, prevention of other crimes and moral support for victims. The primary institutions of the criminal justice system include the police, prosecution and defense lawyers, the courts and prisons. The criminal justice field covers a large variety of career and interest options for potential students to explore. 

A four-year degree in Criminal Justice should emphasize a focus on social justice, diversity, community partnerships, systems thinking and skill development. A social justice lens should be adopted with more focus on harm reduction and rehabilitative and restorative approaches to crime and justice. This shift in focus can lead to a reduced rate of recidivism in previous offenders. 

Many occupations today require college educated applicants having these skills: strong communication, ability to problem solve, critical thinking, leadership, and ethical decision-making. The (BLS) Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19% growth in employment in crime investigation and 12% increase in private security jobs in the future. This increased growth and the increasing numbers of baby boomers reaching retirement age ensures that law enforcement agencies will continue to hire qualified criminal justice professionals. The graphic of criminal justice careers to the left lists 32 different careers that are involved in the criminal justice field. Many positions in this field are both physically and mentally demanding, so a student is more likely to succeed if they have a genuine interest in both the law and the justice system. The criminal justice field rewards specialization and persistence and can also lead to fulfilling and well-paid careers. 

In a 4- year criminal justice program, you will learn to write reports, take fingerprints and document crime scenes. Your course work will cover a broad range of criminal justice topics including learning effective communication skills and professional ethics. Many organizations such as federal agencies (DEA, FBI and CIA), normally require at least a bachelor’s degree. More advanced education will help you to stand out with potential employers while increasing your ability to advance to a supervisory or administrative position. 

There is always a demand for knowledgeable professionals to protect our country and its citizens, due to the risks to the public’s safety. If you have perseverance and determination, you will more than likely enjoy a long and fruitful career in an area that is relatively immune to the ebb and flow of the private sector job market. 

The most compelling reason to pursue a degree in criminal justice is the opportunity it gives you to help other people. So if you are interested in investigating this field of study, please call the Higher ED staff at 360-716-4888 or email us at highered@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov for assistance with this educational path. 

November’s students of the month

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Marysville School District’s very own Equity, Diversity, and Indigenous Education department created the Student of the Month Awards to recognize outstanding students who have demonstrated commendable academic success in the classroom. Student awardees in the past have displayed an admirable dedication to their school work and active involvement amongst their peers.

Previously, only one girl and one boy student were honored, but the program has grown to include one impressive student from each of the elementary, middle, and high school levels. For their commitment to excellence in the classroom and backed by strong recommendations from school faculty, 3rd grader Leah Stacy of Kellogg Marsh Elementary, 8th grader Hudson Reyes of Cedarcrest Middle School, and 9th grader Jaycynta Myles-Gilford of Heritage High School were announced as students of the month for November.

The three students, all Tulalip tribal members, received special recognition and were given a commemorative certificate during the Marysville School District’s school board meeting held on Monday, November 19.

Leah Stacy, 3rd grade, Kellogg Marsh Elementary.

Special Education Liaison Amy Sheldon introduced Leah to everyone in attendance. “Leah is an amazing little girl and works very hard on her school work,” said Amy. “She has made significant academic growth. In fact, over the last year Leah has made a tremendous jump in her reading skills.”

Leah’s teacher Ms. Whitfield added, “Leah is becoming a wonderful citizen at school and is so kind and polite to others. She works hard through so many challenges and doesn’t give up until she accomplishes what she needs to.”

Next up, 8th grader Hudson was described by Native Liaison Terrance Sabbas. “We’ve noticed a lot of growth from Hudson this school year, especially with his improved attendance. His grades have gotten a lot better, but most importantly as an individual he has matured into a very respectful and awesome person to be around.”

Hudson Reyes, 8th grade, Cedarcrest Middle School.

High school student of the month honors went to freshman Jaycynta, daughter of Lushootseed Teacher Michelle Myles. Heritage High School’s Acting Principal praised the 9th grader by sharing, “When I first met Jaycynta there were two things I noticed right away. First, she’s a super talented athlete, to the point when she’s playing her sports she is so intense and focused. But secondly, when she’s away from sports she’s super personable and kind. I was very happy to see this duality in her as a young woman. Jaycynta is a member of ASB and contributes to our Lushootseed weather program. She’s just amazing.”

Jaycynta Myles-Gilford, 9th grade, Heritage High School.

While receiving her award, the usually unassuming Jaycynta shared she aspires to be a pediatric anesthesiologist or neo-natal nurse. “I really want to study medicine and use that knowledge professionally to help children, especially our youngest ones who are in the most need,” she shared.

Going forward, a selection committee will review all student nominations based on their academics and school engagement. Each month three students (representing elementary, middle and high school levels) will be recognized as students of the month. 

Reasons to Study Social Work

Jeanne Steffener, Tulalip Tribes Higher ED

Are you looking for a way to really help people? Social work is a career where you can find work that has real meaning, diversity, satisfaction in helping people discover options and solutions for dire, intense situations in their lives. Social workers help individuals, families and communities find positive solutions. It can also be a catalyst in helping to move social policy in the right direction. 

The primary mission of the social work profession is to improve the well-being of all humans and to help them meet their basic needs while promoting social justice. Social justice includes making sure that people have equal opportunities, the ability to participate in decision making and providing basic needs to people while having opportunities to thrive as a member of society. These principles are applied as they work with everyone including the poor, the elderly, the disabled and importantly children, anyone who is vulnerable. 

History shows us the importance of social work. Jane Addams, a pioneer in the social work effort and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, founded the Settlement House Movement in Chicago in the late 1800’s with the establishment of Hull House which flourished during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sadly, Hull House recently was forced to close due to diminished funding. Jane Adams understood the huge impact that social work had not only a singular person’s well-being but on society as a whole. Due to Jane and others following after her, the way has led to developing a social safety net for those at risk in our society. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 15% of Americans live below the poverty line. People living in poverty need social workers to help them to cope with the overwhelming challenges of homelessness, unemployment, underemployment, and poor health and mental illness. 

About 20% of the U.S. population suffers from some degree of mental illness. In this area, social workers are extremely important, helping to identify clinical services for those suffering from mood disorders, anxiety, psychoses, substance abuse and other serious forms of mental illness. In addition, social workers are the tireless advocates working to provide adequate mental health services, promote equality in health and mental health insurance coverage and confronting discrimination toward people with mental illness. In short, social workers become the support system as well as advocates for disadvantaged persons. 

A degree in Social Work provides students with the ability to undertake a range of different professional roles. As situations are presented daily, social workers can find themselves in many different settings such as hospitals, homes or police departments. The skills developed through studying social work are valued by many employers in many different sectors of employment. These transferrable skills include communication, problem solving, empathy, team work and time management. 

You are probably wondering where you would use your skills as a social worker. Social workers can be in many areas: public agencies, hospitals, police departments, courts, politics, human relations, non-profits, schools, nursing homes and private practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow around 16 % from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all other occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services, but will vary by specialization”. 

If you like working with people, Social Work gives you an understanding of how to help people to function better in their environment. If this piques your interested in choosing a satisfying field of study, please call the Higher ED staff at 360-716-4888 or email us at highered@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov for assistance with this educational path. 

Music yoU ROCK

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

For one hour, every Monday evening, the Tulalip Youth Council board room is turned into a music studio where a live rock band rehearsal takes place. As you approach the building, you hear the sound of drum patterns increasing and decreasing in pace and volume, accompanied by small fits of laughter. In the middle of the youth council chambers was a small circle of young musicians banging out beats on large paint buckets. The band is so caught up in the moment and exuding so much joy that their smiles become extremely contagious and every four measures somebody ends up making the entire group crack up with just a grin. 

As the drums started to decrescendo, a voice that many local youth would instantly recognize, began to sing the hello song, welcoming everybody to the rehearsal. Victoria Fansler, of the Snohomish County Music Project (SCMP), led the band with the first song of the day. Victoria often works with the Tulalip youth at the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and many other schools and tribal programs, helping the kids overcome traumatic experiences through music therapy. Over a year ago, representatives of SCMP attended a meeting held by the Tulalip Youth Services Inclusive Advocacy Committee,  and from the meeting, Music yoU ROCK was created – an interactive, inclusive rock band instructed by SCMP Music Therapist, Colby Cumine. 

“We started about a year ago,” says Colby. “We attended a few parent committee meetings for tribal youth with special needs and there was talk about a lack of opportunities for kids with special needs, especially those who are aging out of services. After high school, there are no federal requirements to continue providing services for individuals with disabilities who graduate from high school. We started the program a year ago and we had three or four people sign up each quarter. And we’ve had three other successful quarters since then.”

After Victoria welcomes everybody to the class, the band practices a few more rhythmic exercises before Colby calls upon someone to pick a song the class can get down to. Colorful scarves are passed out as Colby queues up the jams on his phone. Once the beat drops, everybody is out of their seats, dancing and waving their scarves. Following the dance party, the group picks the instrument and partner of their choice and begin practicing a song. This particular day, the band worked on the Michael Jackson classic, Billy Jean. After practicing with their partners, the band reforms their circle in the middle of the room to perform the song altogether. 

“We are using music for goals that aren’t necessarily musical,” says Victoria. “In Music-Ed or a typical rock band experience, the focus would be on the final product, the performance and quality of the music. Here we’re focusing on that ensemble connection, noticing how each other plays and communicating together.”

“Music is a level playing field, everyone enjoys music in some form or another,” adds Colby. “In the music therapy setting, we don’t emphasize how well you can play the instrument but how much fun you’re having while playing the instrument. So if you’re a super talented guitar player who can play all the chords, licks and chops, or if you’re just strumming along having fun, both of those are equally as successful in this program. 

“It’s a really good way to bring people together,” he continues. “People are sharing songs here; every week we drum along to a song chosen by someone attending the group. Even today one of the guys was singing along to a song he doesn’t listen to outside of this group but he’s picking those lyrics up and connecting with other people through that song and that makes my day. It’s always cool to see their growth, it’s always such a rewarding reminder of why we started this program and why we want to continue it.”

Before the class ends, Victoria sings farewell to her bandmates. Many of the musicians meet up briefly after the class to discuss their day and speculate on how much fun next week’s class will be. 

“I come in every Monday,” says young rocker Ernie Mapanoo. “I like to play the guitars and learn to play the piano. Today I was working on a Michael Jackson song, I like that song a lot too, it was fun. I work on all kinds of songs though because I love music. I play the drums and guitar, that’s why I come out all the time to this rock band. [Colby and Victoria] are pretty cool too; I like them a lot.” 

This quarter, the band was joined by future music therapists Lindsey and Kesha, Seattle Pacific University music therapy practicum students. Throughout the entire session, the young ladies assisted the musicians with chords and tempo and shared laughs during both of the dance and drumming sessions. 

The musicians will continue vibing out the Youth Council board room every Monday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. until December 17. Towards the end of Music yoU ROCK, the band will record a few of their hits and have a listening party on the last day of the program.

Music yoU ROCK is funded through the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). The program is open to the entire community. Those who are DDA participants can attend the program with no charge. For non-DDA particpants, the cost of the progam is $220.

For more information, please contact Tulalip Youth Services at (360) 716-4909 or the Snohomish County Music Project at (425) 258-1605.

TELA celebrates first Cultural Day

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

On the morning of October 12, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy (TELA) gymnasium was occupied by tiny future leaders who sat crisscross apple sauce while listening to the Killer Whale story told by a team of nine Lushootseed Language Teachers. In addition to stories, the teachers also performed a number of traditional songs, receiving plenty of crowd interaction as the youngsters knew many of the words and happily sang along in Lushootseed. This joyful gathering was just the first of many upcoming Cultural Days where the students attend an assembly in the morning and create crafts in the afternoon, all while learning about the traditional lifeways of the Tulalip people. 

“The second Tuesday of every month we are having a Cultural Day during a full day of school,” explains TELA Montessori Manager, Tami Burdett. “We start with a cultural assembly and invite the families and then we do a cultural craft in the classrooms. We teamed up with the language department and it was wonderful because the kids know these songs and they proudly sing them.”

This year TELA has implemented a language immersion curriculum, partnering with the Lushootseed language department to teach the revitalized Coast Salish vocabulary to the kids. Every day the language warriors pay a visit to the classrooms, sometimes leading the class by sharing stories and songs in Lushootseed, other times simply interacting with the kids and speaking the language to them individually during playtime or lessons. 

Studies have shown that kids soak up the most knowledge during early childhood development, making the expression ‘a child’s brain is like a sponge’ seemingly true. Families of other cultures have proven that kids can learn to fluently speak two languages at a young age, speaking their native tongue at home and English while at school or with friends. More importantly, TELA is proving that right now with the language immersion approach, ensuring Lushootseed lives well into the future. 

Cultural Day takes the traditional teachings and the language immersion idea to a new level. Each assembly features local guest speakers who offer their stories and teachings to the students. The half hour assembly is followed by cultural crafts. Once the kids return to their classrooms, they participate in a hands-on traditional art project. 

“Each of the classrooms are going to be doing a fish print today,” says Tami. “Once completed those will be going home with the kids to share with their families. It’s actually really neat, they take the salmon and paint it and then they take the fish and put in on fabric and you have a beautiful fish print. We’ve known many families that frame their kids’ fish prints and display them at home.”

Many TELA teachers use craft time as an opportunity to expand their lesson plan and teach the kids the cultural significance the craft has to Native communities. For instance, as her students covered their fish in red paint, TELA teacher Alix McKiernan asked them a few questions about salmon, like where do salmon live and if they liked to eat salmon. After the kids responded, Alix added a number of ‘did-ya-know?’ facts about the relationship between salmon and Northwest tribes and also asked the students if they’ve ever caught a salmon or went fishing with their families. 

After their prints were finished, Alix’s classroom was treated to more interactive education as she cut open the salmon so the kids could get an up close look at the anatomy of the fish.

TELA’s next Cultural Day will be held on November 13, and families are welcome to join and watch Tulalip’s future generation learn their ancestral teachings to strengthen the culture for years to come. 

“It warms my heart to hear the children sing and speak the language and to see them so excited to learn about our culture,” Tami expresses. “[At future Cultural Days,] the boys will be making drums with their families and the girls will be making clappers. Those will follow them until they graduate and then they get to take them home and use them to practice and perform. The kids love the songs and the language, even when we welcome them into the school every morning we hear ηαʔɬ δαδατυ ανδ ηαʔɬ σψəψαʔψαʔ in the afternoon. We love hearing the language.

“We would like to send a big shout out to Brandon Carrillo for donating fish; Ms. Kris who coordinated with her brother-in-law, Steven Young, from fisheries, they donated nine salmon. And also, Rudy Madrigal, who bought twelve fish from our fishermen and donated them to [TELA Policy Council Chair] Mike Pablo for us.”

For more information about Cultural Day, please contact the Betty J. Taylor Academy at (360) 716-4250. 

Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary seeks teacher assistants

Douglas Shook, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary Principal and Malory Simpson, Youth Services/ Education School Advocate.

Principal’s Message:

Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary families and Tulalip community members,

Hello! We have had a great start of the school year with our students and families.  A big part of this great start is the support we receive from our partnership with the Tulalip Tribes, our families, and Tulalip community members. Seeing our community members and families during the day at QCT is a treasure for our students. They look forward to seeing you and ask when you will come back! Our kiddos are so proud to show what they are learning and how they are growing their brain to all of our caring adults at QCT.

The bond with our students and their learning is strongest when they see the same caring adults working with them during the school day and seeing them when school is out. Seeing us at their football and basketball games cheering them on and participating in community events like the Back-to-School Backpack distribution and Salmon Ceremony, shows our students from Kindergarten to 5th grade that we are interested in their lives and we are there for them.

One way to strengthen this bond is having community members working on our staff. We currently have multiple openings at QCT, specifically for para-educators/teacher assistants who help our students in their learning Math and Reading, while helping to supervise during lunch and recess. These positions are the backbone of our school as they work closely with all of our students from Kindergarten to 5th grade.

I welcome our families and community members to apply for our open positions and join us in growing all of our students to prepare them for middle school and beyond. We start at $18 an hour for our teacher assistant positions in the Marysville School District. Links to apply to our positions are on the MSD home page (www.msd25.org), towards the bottom of the page is the link “Apply for a Job”.  

Interested applicants must have an Associate’s degree or HS diploma/GED with a skills assessment test. If you only have a free day during the school week, we’re always in need for substitute teacher aides, too. Being part of our QCT team is a great way to help our students and invest in their future.

If you need help with applying or have questions, please stop by the school or call us at (360) 965-3100. We’re always looking to partner with our families and Tulalip community members to provide the best for our students and their success!

Principal Douglas Shook, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary

TERO grads join forces with Snohomish County Public Works to benefit salmon recovery

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Salmon habitat restoration, honoring treaty rights, and tribal members showcasing successful employment within the construction trades are themes currently in action at an on-reservation construction project. Heavy construction equipment has owned Marine Drive between 19th Ave NE and 23rd Ave NE since September 10, while Snohomish County Public Works replaces a poorly conditioned culvert with one that is fish-friendly by design.

A culvert is basically an underground pipe that allows water to pass beneath roads and other obstructions. The Marine Drive culvert carries water flow from Hibulb Creek to the Snohomish River estuary, which is a fish bearing stream. 

According to Snohomish County officials, the existing 24-inch corrugated metal culvert under Marine Drive is in poor condition and undersized. The current culvert is a fish barrier, while the new larger box culvert will meet fish passage requirements.

“Originally engineers designed road crossing culverts to maximize the capacity to carry water with the smallest possible pipe size. This was efficient and economical,” stated Snohomish County representatives. “A fish-friendly design approach is a culvert wide enough and sloped properly to allow the stream channel to act naturally.”

On June 11 of this year, the Supreme Court split a decision resulting in the enforcement of a lower court order requiring Washington State to pay for the removal of over 900 culverts that have become clogged or degraded to the point of blocking salmon migration. 

It was a decision that had been passing through the courts for 17 years. The U.S. government sued Washington back in 2001, on behalf of 21 Northwest tribes, to force the state to replace culverts blocking fish passage with structures that allow fish to pass through. Because the pipe-like culverts block salmon from reaching their spawning grounds, they deprive the tribes of fishing rights guaranteed by treaty.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that the treaties promised tribes there would always be salmon to harvest, and that the State has a duty to protect those fish and their habitat,” said Lorraine Loomis (Swinomish), chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “The ruling will open hundreds of miles of high quality salmon habitat that will produce hundreds of thousands more salmon annually for harvest by everyone.”

Snohomish County officials also point out, “The ability of salmon and steelhead to swim upstream to their traditional spawning grounds, while allowing juvenile salmon to move upstream and downstream unimpeded for rearing is vital to their recovery across Washington.”

This specific culvert replacement is vital to salmon recovery and habitat restoration on the Tulalip Reservation, and it’s of particular significance to three TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC) graduates who are part of the construction team.

Jay Davis, Jess Fryberg and Brando Jones graduated from TVTC before starting their construction careers.

Jess Fryberg (Tulalip), Brando Jones (Tulalip) and Jay Davis (Sioux/Turtle Mountain Chippewa) all trained in the construction trades at TVTC and graduated with hopes of pursuing a career pathway that was previously unavailable. Now, each is earning prevailing wages and gaining lifelong skills while working on a project beneficial to protecting treaty rights and salmon recovery.

“Construction has opened up a variety of work for me and each site I’ve worked on teaches me something new,” shared Jess, a 24-year-old tribal member. “Working on this culvert project on the Rez has been a great opportunity. Plus, a long time down the road I’ll be able to tell my kids I helped build it.”

For 27-year-old, single father Brando Jones, he moved from Tacoma to Tulalip two years ago just to have an opportunity to change his future by attending TVTC classes. It was a big move that is now paying off huge dividends as he won sole custody of his son, Dakota, and is building a solid foundation for a career in the construction trades.

“Being able to work on my own reservation while building a future for me and my son is such a good feeling,” shared Brando. “The fact that this replacement culvert will help salmon and protects our treaty rights is a bonus all on its own.”

The Marine Drive culvert construction is expected to complete in the next few weeks, while its positive impact to local salmon habitat restoration is expected to last generations.