Letter from Marysville School District Superintendent

Submitted by Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department

December 17, 2012

Dear Marysville School District families,

Words cannot express how saddened we all are over the series of events that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Our hearts go out to all those directly affected by this tragic and senseless shooting. As educators and parents we are especially saddened that most of the victims were vulnerable, innocent children. As our students hear of these events that may understandably feel anxious and frightened. The same feelings will most likely be experienced by parents and school staff as well. We are all affected and feeling less safe as a result.

Although we hope that it will never be necessary, we want you to know that our school district has a comprehensive student safety plan and we practice drills for lockdown, fire and other issues on a regular basis in our schools. We work with the Marysville and Tulalip Police and Fire Departments and the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department as a part of our continuing effort to keep our children safe.

The following suggestions may be helpful to parents in assisting their children during this time:

  • Turn off or monitor the television. Endless news programs are likely to heighten anxiety, and young children cannot distinguish between images on television and their personal reality.
  • Maintain a normal routine.
  • Speak simply and honestly. Tell the truth using words the child can understand.
  • Remain calm and reassuring. Children take their cues from their parents and other caring adults around them.
  • Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.

Coming together and supporting each other is important at a time like this to help us get through our feelings of disbelief, fear and grief – and to help out children feel safe again. Every school has a counselor available to help your child should they need support.

Additional resources for parents and families are available on the following web sites:

We will continue to work together with parents, as a staff, and a community to keep our schools a safe place to learn, grow and work.



Larry Nyland, Superintendent

Marysville School District No.25
4220 80th Street NE – Marysville, WA 98270
p. 360-653-0800 f. 360-629-1990

Students let the Christmas cheer ring out


 Quil Ceda Elementary 4th grade students sang at the Annual Winter program at the Heritage High School's Gym.
Quil Ceda Elementary 4th grade students sing at the Annual Winter Program, held at the Heritage High School.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

The sounds of Christmas filled the air on December 19th as the students of Quil Ceda Elementary School presented their annual Christmas program. Due to the abundance of community members that regularly attend the event, this year’s program was held in the gymnasium at Tulalip Heritage High School. And with over 400 students, parents, and friends in attendance this year, the space was much needed.

The students put on a festive evening of holiday music, with selections presented by each grade level in the school, while family members took photos and videos of the little stars.

Native American Liaison, Eliza Davis enjoys having the community gathered for the winter program to show their support and love for the kids. Family and friends enjoyed songs, “Candle for Remembering,” which was belted out the fifth graders.

“I really enjoy singing for family and elders,” said Tribal member, Jasmin Mclean, a 5th grade student at the Quil Ceda Elementary School.

“It gets better every year. The spirit and the variety; it’s different every year and it’s not the same traditional Christmas songs,” said proud parent Krista Haley, supporting her daughter at the winter program.

Following the show, refreshments were served and attendees even got their photos taken with Santa, a perfect ending to a wonderful night of holiday magic.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulalipbriones-nsn.gov



Empowerment program for teen girls expected for 2013 school year

Tulalip Heritage High School students look forward to a new empowerment program, specifically designed for teen girls, being introduced in the 2013 school year.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – Tulalip Family Haven is working to empower adolescent Native American girls and to help prepare them spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally for adulthood.

Alison Bowen, Family Haven Program Manager, June LaMarr, Health & Human Services Program Director and Co-Principal Director for Healthy Hearts, and Cherol Fryberg, Wraparound Coordinator, are in the developing stages for a new program for young Tulalip Tribal member girls, ages 14-17, aimed at fostering healthy living. Girls involved in the program will learn about positive life choices and building relationships with peers and adults, boosting their self-esteem and confidence and helping them through the tough transition to adulthood.

The program, which will accommodate approximately 20 girls, is designed to be an after-school venture, where three times a week girls can meet up and participate in a variety of educational and fun activities, while learning life skills.

“We are trying to focus on the positive parts of life and not necessarily talk about all the negative things that are out there, and experience ways to deal with stress, anger and things that are going to help them be successful,” said Alison.

Native American culture will be incorporated into the program, with girls learning native arts and crafts, like cedar basket making, and cooking healthy meals to share with the community.

Computer animation, photography, and writing and playing music will be taught to expand the girls’ minds and reveal hidden talents.  Girls will also learn self-protection skills, how to regulate their emotions, and reproductive healthcare.

“We are exposing them to every possible thing we can. We want them to do community work, like cleaning up the beach. We will teach them what a full life is all about, like giving back and not being afraid to experience new things,” said Cherol.

“We plan to have activities for the young women like trips to Seattle, to a play or an opera, to have them experience things that they normally don’t experience and to get off the reservation,” explained June.

Students and parents can look forward to this yet-unnamed program being available for the 2013-14 school year at HeritageHigh School.

In the meantime, Alison, June and Cherol will be working diligently on gaining information and feedback from the community to assess what types of information and topics will be best suited for this program.

Once the program is in effect, a registered nurse will be available at the high school one a day a week to address any issues or concerns the girls may have.

For more information about this upcoming program, please contact Alison Bowen at 360-716-4322 or email abowen@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Heritage High School has GIS education day

Students observe exhibits setup for GIS day at Heritage High School
Students observe exhibits setup for GIS day at Heritage High School

By Monica Brown, Tulalip Communications Department

TULALIP, Washington – Heritage High School classrooms were set-up on the morning of December 13th, geared towards teaching students the many aspects of what a Geographic information system is and how to use it. GIS is  a system for storing and manipulating geographical information on computers. Throughout the day students rotated on thirty-minute classroom sessions which covered software, planning, surveying/ground penetrating radar, natural resources, trivia and geocaching, which is basically a world-wide scavenger hunt using GPS technology.  Students were given hands-on experience using a GPS outside and were able to navigate on-foot to set points through a GPS. GIS day was hosted by the Tulalip Data Services GIS team and Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources.

Klallam language dictionary now available

By Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department

The Klallam native language was nearly lost until it was preserved in a Dictionary by linguist Timothy Montler of the University of North Texas. In 1978 Montler began studying and documenting the native language when he was a student until 1991 when he began to record the language on his own.

Montler worked with elders in order to document and record the ancient language and created an alphabet that conveyed the unique sounds and pronunciations used. Elder Adeline Smith was the major contributor with a 12,000 words and sentences translated.

Basics of the Klallam language have been used in booklets guides and lessons which are used in schools of all age levels in the area and will now have the use of a dictionary to extend their knowledge of the native language. The families of Port Gamble S’Klallam and Tribal Government Department each received a copy.

Research was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Documenting Endangered Languages Grant and the National Endowment for Humanities. The Dictionary was published by the University of Washington Press and is available for purchase for $85.

Montler will be book signing in Port Angeles during the month of January although no set date has been scheduled, please view Timothy Montler’s page for other project work and check out the  website for the S’Klallam language

Grab a camera and head to the beach “King Tides” are here

By Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department Photo By Brandi Montreuil

Washington’s department of Ecology is inviting residents and visitors to help track the high tides that occur in the December and January months. During these months the moon and sun align and cause an increase in the gravitational pull on our Earth’s oceans. Residents can upload and view photos from shores along Washington coastlines. Flickr account is located here; Washington King Tides Photos Initiative’s Flickr Group.

The purpose of this initiative is to track the rising sea levels and the impact they have on the environment.  The Ecology department has tide schedules and maps available on their site, Department of Ecology. Other areas taking part in this project are British Columbia, Oregon and parts of California: San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Monica and San Diego .

Future looks bright for NACTEP graduates

Graduates of the Native American Career and Technical Education Program.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones 

TULALIP, Washington – Nine students, surrounded by family, friends, instructors, and former students celebrated their graduation from the Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP) on December 6th at the Tulalip site. Through 12 weeks of hands-on training, students learned various skills in the construction industry, such as building frameworks and foundations, reading blueprints, electrical, plumbing, roofing and many other useful skills. In addition, students earned 18 credits at Edmonds Community College.

 “I learned how to frame stair jacks, the mechanics of how to do framing, laying out a foundation, and how to frame walls. I did a lot of cool and fun stuff,” said Tribal member, Rafael Madera. “It [NACTEP] opened me up to a new group of people and it boosted my self confidence.”       

One of the perks to learning new skills sets, is students get to create their own projects, which many view as a highlight to the program.

 “I like the personal projects. I made a couple of coffee tables, I gave one to my uncle and my mom,” said Tulalip Tribal member Mathew Crawford.

“My favorite part was my personal project. I didn’t know I was able to do this until they taught me how to use all the tools,” said Yakima Tribal member Vernon Ketchan, who describes his latest work as a surreal chief of nature coat rack sculpture. “I gained a craftsman’s eye, everywhere I go I can see how things are put to together.”

Vernon declared that this program is a good place for people with tough backgrounds to have a new direction and a positive focus. He enjoyed the experience and feels everyone in his class are like a brother to him.

 Former student Morgan Dotson, a Cherokee tribal member, spoke at the graduation, sharing how the program changed his life. He credits Instructor Mark Newland, Administrative Assistant Wendy Thompson, and NACTEP Director Maureen Hoban as the positive role models and educators that helped him succeed. In addition to NACTEP, Morgan is an honor student at Everett Community College, where he is earning an associates degree.

“Mark, Wendy, and Maureen, have helped save my life, honestly. I have never met people with so much passion. Wendy and Mark love what they do and they give everything that they have to these kids. Mark pushed me and he didn’t take no for an answer and he didn’t put up with excuses. Something in me just changed and I grabbed onto their coat tails and pulled myself through this program,” said Morgan. “This program is a success story.”

NACTEP classes are open to Tulalip tribal members, tribal members enrolled in a federally recognized tribe, parents, and spouses of enrolled Tulalip tribal members, and employees of the Tulalip Tribes and starts January 2, 2013. The training runs for 12 weeks, Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information about NACTEP, please contact Mark Newland at 425-268-9145.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulalilpbribes-nsn.gov

Culture focused curriculum available now

By Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Dept. 

Recently, at White Swan High School in White Swan, WA within the Mt. Adams School District, a tribal sovereignty class has been implemented. The tribal-focused online curriculum called ‘Since Time Immemorial’ (STI), is the result of tribes and educators working together. The new curriculum covers the history, culture and governments of tribes across the country. Depending on the school, an emphasis can be placed on teaching about the nearest tribe. The curriculum was designed to be used in elementary, middle and high schools, and to satisfy social studies credit requirements.

The curriculum, which has been adopted by the State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, is open to all students and is not only designed to teach members of Washington’s 29 federally recognized tribes about their own history, government and culture, but also to educate non-Indians about tribal communities.

In 2004 Rep. John McCoy had introduced a bill in the state legislature, which was signed into law in 2005 by Gov. Chris Gregoire. The bill would require public school districts to teach tribal history and culture. After years of tribes and educators working together, the STI curriculum came about and covers the treaties Northwestern tribes signed with the U.S. Government, and how their traditional hunting, fishing and food gathering rights in their original territories were reserved. McCoy’s intention is for this to be widely utilized in schools, and he was quoted in The Native American Legal Update saying,

“This is to get everyone to understand that because these treaties were signed, they are the law of the land,” he said. “And consequently, tribes are sovereign nations. There are so many people that don’t understand that.”

With the Mt. Adams School District introducing the online curriculum, the nearby Wapato School District, where Native Americans account for almost 20 percent of the students, teachers have been sent to STI training.

STI encourages educators to use this new curriculum and share it with others. They express that the curriculum is easy to use and free on their website. Training videos and documents are also made available through the website. STI curriculum information can be found at www.indian-ed.org.

Marysville School Board named Board of the Year

Press Release, Larry Nyland, Superintendent’s Office

The Marysville School Board was named Board of the Year at the Washington State School Directors (WSSDA) annual conference November 17th.  “Marysville School Board received the honor of being named a Board of Distinction last year.  Being named Board of the Year this year is certainly a tribute to our board and their focus on the district’s four year goals, mission and vision.  Their commitment to student achievement has made a big difference for our students and our staff.  Long term goals, along with board support and encouragement, allow schools to focus on student achievement,” says Superintendent Nyland.

Each year, WSSDA honors outstanding school boards that demonstrate understanding of their leadership role and follow through on their responsibilities, while showing concern for the educational excellence for all students.

The application process is based on the Washington Effective School Board Standards, which ask the boards to:

  • Show how their actions align with effective board governance practices;
  • Document their focus on educational excellence and equity for all students;
  • Identify how they create conditions for student and staff success; and
  • Share their commitment to continuous improvement and accountability.

Marysville was recognized as Washington board of the year for school districts of 9000 students or more.

Congratulations to Chris Nation, President, Wendy Fryberg, Vice President, and Directors Dr. Tom Albright, Cindy Erickson and Pete Lundberg.

For more information about the award, visit, www.msvl.k12.wa.us/board-of-directors.

Make a difference – become a mentor

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington- Mentoring another person is one of the greatest gifts you could give them; there’s almost no better feeling in the world than to help another person accomplish their dreams. And to a child, having another caring adult in his or her life, someone who believes in them and supports them, can be life changing.

In recognizing the importance of mentoring in a child’s life, staff at Tulalip Tribes Youth Services is working to implement the 7th Generations Mentor Program, a program specifically designed for Native American youth and open to Tulalip tribal members age 10-17. And equally as impressive, out of 565 federally-recognized tribes in the United States, the Tulalip Tribes was chosen by the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention to be one of ten recipients of the 7th Generation Mentoring Grant, which is instrumental in funding this project.

“The goal of this program is to reach out to Native American youths and guide them towards healthy lifestyle choices and to build lasting relationships between tribal youth and caring adult mentors, through group and cultural activities and on-on-one mentoring,” said Saundra Wagner, Tribal Mentoring Specialist.

Youth Service’s staff is asking for volunteers, age 18 and above, from the community to serve as mentors. These mentors are required to have a current driver’s license and a background check will be done on each individual. Mentors will also participate in a two-hour training, designed for learning about relationship building. Mentors will learn how to build confidence in Native youth through affirmation of their skills and values and to help youth understand the tribal history, culture, and value systems that have guided their people for generations.

A good mentor–mentee relationship takes time to develop, and volunteers are asked to spend at least one hour a day, twice a month, with the youth. Mentors and kids will take part in fun activities like going to the movies, shooting hoops or just hanging out and talking, and to promote Native culture, workshops such as drum making will be available. Monthly meetings with staff, mentors and mentees will be held to discuss progress, future development and weekly activity suggestions, to help sustain and strengthen mutual mentoring relationships

“Research and evidence shows that developing a strong sense of cultural identity and pride for their heritage can motivate tribal youth to make positive life choices. Our goal is to enhance the cultural identities of our tribal youth in hopes for reducing risky behaviors,” said Saundra.

Still in the early stages of the mentor program, staff is working to fill their calendars with fun, educational and cultural workshops and outings for the youth, and is open to suggestions from parents and the community.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or if you know of a young person that might benefit from this program, contact Saundra at Saundra.wagner@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to get this program going; to see a child’s confidence and behavior change because they have a bigger sense of belonging. These youths are our future as tribal leaders, mentors, and positive members of our community,” said Saundra.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov