Schools are closed, but education continues with Chromebooks

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

All schools are closed in Washington State for at least another month, as part of a state-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been over three weeks since students in the Marysville School District (MSD) have been in their classrooms and received formal education from their teachers.

While schools will remain closed for the foreseeable future, education must continue. That is why the dedicated staff and educators of MSD are doing their part to bring learning opportunities into the home of every MSD student household.

“Our main purpose is to make sure our students receive a Chromebook to continue their education even though they aren’t attending school right now,” explained MSD Superintendent Jason Thompson. “We also have an assortment of school supplies, hygiene kits and grade-level activity packets for kids to work on. It’s so important to make sure our kids are still learning every day.”

During the fourth week of March, the District held two drive-up, K-5 Chromebook checkouts for its elementary students. Because sixth graders on up to high school seniors were already assigned Chromebooks earlier in the school year, these drive-up style distributions were only for households with Kindergarten through fifth grade students. 

“These two distribution events took a lot of work to put together, but knowing our students will benefit immensely makes it all worth it,” said assistant superintendent Scott Beebe. “With these Chromebooks our students will now be able to video chat with their teachers and fellow students. It’s a big undertaking, but the results will be amazing.” 

Each Chromebook was individually inspected by tech-savvy personnel to ensure they were updated with the right software and programs to meet students’ needs for the new normal: distance-learning. 

On Thursday, March 26 the second Chromebook checkout occurred at the MSD’s Service Center. Originally slated to begin at 2:00 p.m., vehicles started to line-up much earlier with concerned parents who worried about a limited supply and wanted to make sure their student received a coveted Chromebook. As cars continued to show, the line got longer and longer. At one point the line of vehicles spanned multiple city blocks, running down both State and Cedar Streets.

From young Kindergartners to veteran 5th graders, many students were ecstatic to see their teachers and school staff as their parents drove them through the checkout process. In their excitement, several kids were witnessed unbuckling themselves and nearly climbing out their backseat window to wave and say hello to their favorite teacher. 

The majority of Tulalip K-12 students attend schools within Maryville School District. Tribal member parents and kids were among those who waited upwards of 90-minutes to checkout a Chromebook. They could also take advantage of the additional school supplies and in-demand hygiene kits being offered.

“We waited in line for a strong hour-and-a-half to get our boys a Chromebook,” said Carlos Ancheta. “Stores are low on supplies right now, so getting these basic essentials for school and hygiene will come in handy.”

Not every household has a home computer, setup for video chatting, and access to the internet or WIFI. During checkout if a parent submitted paperwork for their student saying they did not have internet access at home, then they received a Chromebook with built in cellular data provided by Sprint. By dispersing these specific Chromebooks to MSD students the opportunity gap normally created by lack of internet access has been filled.

“We’re really blessed to have a school district that cares so much about our kids,” shared Sheena Robinson after her two sons got their Chromebook and supplies. “We don’t have a computer or the internet at home, so this makes a world of difference for them. They’ll be able to get online for classes through Zoom, conferences with their teachers, and websites they can practice their reading and math. I’m looking forward to them getting back to learning.”

After completion of both drive-up checkouts, Marysville School District staff distributed over 1,000 Chromebooks to their elementary-aged families. Students also received an assortment of school supplies and hygiene kits to reduce the financial burden their families may be going through during this unprecedented school closure. Getting back to a daily routine of these cheerful kids continuing their education can provide a critical sense of stability in these uncertain times.

Marysville School District food distribution

Below are Marysville School District food distribution routes and times, for the Quil Ceda Tulalip area, for delivering food (breakfast and lunch) to students. Matt Remle, Marysville Pilchuck High School Native Liaison, will be on the Quil-Ceda Tulalip route. Matt and fellow volunteers delivered over 3,500 meals on Monday, March 23.

Visit www.msd25.org for more information.

Grab and go meals from the bus locations will continue to be at no cost and for all youth ages 1-18 and those enrolled in the 18-21-year program.

Quil Ceda Tulalip Area

Route: 21

  • 10:12 AM MARINE DR NW @ EDWARD BEATTY RD
  • 10:18 AM 8208 MARINE DR NW
  • 10:19 AM MARINE DR NW @ 83RD PL NW
  • 10:28 AM MARINE DR NW @ 115TH ST NW
  • 10:33 AM 12015 MARINE DR NW – PORT SUSAN
  • 10:38 AM MARINE DR NW @ 126TH ST NW
  • 10:46 AM 135TH PL NW @ MARINE DR NW
  • 10:50 AM 135TH PL NW @ MARINE DR NW
  • 10:51 AM 12702 MARINE DR NW
  • 10:52 AM 12610 MARINE DR NW
  • 10:57 AM 12518 MARINE DR NW
  • 10:58 AM 11710 MARINE DR NW
  • 11:02 AM MARINE DR NW @ 115TH ST NW
  • 11:08 AM MARINE DR NW @ TULALIP SHORES RD
  • 11:14 AM 8226 MARINE DR NW
  • 11:18 AM HERMOSA BEACH RD @ SHOEMAKER RD
  • 11:25 AM HERMOSA BEACH RD@77TH PL NW
  • 11:40 AM 77TH PL NW @ 42ND DR NW
  • 11:44 AM 42ND DR NW @ 78TH PL NW
  • 11:53 AM WALTER MOSES JR DR @ 28TH DR NW
  • 12:01 PM LARRY PRICE LP RD@EZRA HATCH RD
  • 12:18 PM 7330 LARRY PRICE LP RD

Route: 56

  • 10:10 AM 140TH ST NW @ 76TH AVE NW
  • 10:15 AM 140TH ST NW @ 63RD DR NW
  • 10:15 AM 140TH ST NW @ 58TH AVE NW
  • 10:20 AM 140TH ST NW @ 52ND AVE NW
  • 10:21 AM 4500 140TH ST NW
  • 10:28 AM 138TH ST NW@ 36TH DR NW
  • 10:35 AM 3520 140TH ST NW
  • 10:39 AM 140TH ST NW @ 34TH AVE NW
  • 10:43 AM 3018 140TH ST NW
  • 10:51 AM 12TH AVE NW @ 134TH ST NW
  • 10:56 AM 13218 12TH AVE NW
  • 11:01 AM 13030 12TH AVE NW
  • 11:06 AM 12TH AVE NW @ 130TH ST NW
  • 11:15 AM 12TH AVE NW@128TH ST NW
  • 11:20 AM 12616 12TH AVE NW
  • 11:24 AM 12512 12TH AVE NW
  • 11:29 AM 908 124TH PL NW
  • 11:33 AM 8TH DR NW @ 125TH PL NW
  • 11:42 AM 129TH PL NW @ 8TH DR NW
  • 11:46 AM 8TH DR NW @ 131ST ST NW
  • 11:54 AM 131ST ST NW @ 10TH AVE NW

Route: 74

  • 10:24 AM 22ND DR NE@22ND DR NE
  • 10:29 AM 22ND DR NE @ 21ST DR NE
  • 10:36 AM 21ST DR NE @ 67TH PL NE
  • 10:40 AM 21ST DR NE @ STURGEON DR
  • 10:45 AM 65TH ST NE @ 20TH DR NE
  • 10:58 AM 20TH DR NE @ 66TH PL NE
  • 11:05 AM 19TH DR NE@20TH DR NE
  • 11:12 AM 19TH DR NE @ 70TH PL NE
  • 11:22 AM 72ND ST NE@19TH AVE NE
  • 11:31 AM 6832/6828 19TH AVE NE
  • 11:37 AM MARINE DR NE @ 14TH AVE NE
  • 11:38 AM 905 MARINE DR NE
  • 11:39 AM MARINE DR NE @ 7TH AVE NE
  • 11:45 AM MARINE DR NE @ 2ND AVE NE
  • 11:50 AM 715 MARINE DR NW
  • 11:51 AM 4431 PRIEST POINT DR NW
  • 12:00 PM PRIEST POINT DR NW @ GAYS DR
  • 12:05 PM MERIDIAN AVE N@PRIEST POINT DR NW
  • 12:09 PM MERIDIAN AVE N @ 4425 MERIDIAN AVE N – SNUG HARBOR
  • 12:19 PM 4425 MERIDIAN AVE N
  • 12:25 PM 928 MARINE DR NE
  • 12:26 PM 1118 MARINE DR NE
  • 12:26 PM 1718 MARINE DR NE
  • 12:27 PM MARINE DR NE @ 23RD AVE NE

Route: 92

  • 10:14 AM 5710 MERIDIAN AVE N
  • 10:19 AM 5802 MERIDIAN AVE N
  • 10:19 AM 5933 MERIDIAN AVE N
  • 10:24 AM 60TH ST NW@6TH AVE NW
  • 10:25 AM 6TH AVE NW @ 57TH PL NW
  • 10:25 AM 6TH AVE NW @ 56TH ST NW
  • 10:26 AM 5408 6TH AVE NW
  • 10:31 AM 5028 67TH AVE NW
  • 10:32 AM 905 MARINE DR NW
  • 10:37 AM MARINE DR NW @ 56TH ST NW
  • 10:37 AM MARINE DR NW @ 62ND ST NW
  • 10:51 AM LLOYD HATCH SR DR @ ALPHONSUS BOB LOOP D
  • 11:01 AM TOTEM BEACH RD@70TH ST NW
  • 11:18 AM TOTEM BEACH RD @ 28TH AVE NW
  • 11:19 AM 6700 TOTEM BEACH RD – FITNESS CLUB
  • 11:25 AM MISSION BEACH RD @ MISSIONS HILL RD
  • 11:30 AM 5916 MISSION BEACH RD
  • 11:34 AM 3213 MISSION BEACH DR
  • 11:35 AM 3409 MISSION BEACH DR
  • 11:42 AM MISSION BEACH DR @ 39TH DR NW
  • 11:44 AM MISSION BEACH DR @ MISSION BEACH HTS RD
  • 11:50 AM JOSEPH CHARLES JR LP @ JOSEPH CHARLES LP RD
  • 11:56 AM 6518 JOSEPHE CHARLES JR LP
  • 12:05 PM 64TH ST NW @ MISSION HILL RD
  • 12:08 PM MARINE DR NW @ 12TH AVE NW
  • 12:14 PM 905 MARINE DR
  • 12:14 PM 600 MARINE DR NW
  • 12:15 PM 320 MARINE DR NW
  • 12:16 PM 918 MARINE DR NE
  • 12:23 PM MARINE DR NE @ 23RD AVE NE

Route: 102

  • 10:00 AM 4TH ST @ QUINN AVE
  • 10:00 AM 1926 4TH ST
  • 10:04 AM 4724 64TH ST NE
  • 10:12 AM 1909 3RD ST
  • 10:18 AM 2ND ST @ ALDER AVE
  • 10:23 AM 2ND ST @ QUINN AVE
  • 10:29 AM 2ND ST @ UNION AVE
  • 10:40 AM 4922 61ST ST NE
  • 10:44 AM 61ST ST NE @ 51ST AVE NE
  • 10:50 AM 61ST ST NE @ 52ND AVE NE
  • 10:56 AM 61ST ST NE @ 54TH AVE NE
  • 11:04 AM 61ST ST NE @ 54TH DR NE
  • 11:09 AM 4919 61ST ST NE
  • 11:12 AM 1ST ST@COLUMBIA AVE (NE CORNER)
  • 11:19 AM 115 CEDAR (STOP ON 2ND 1ST BLDG ON LEFT)

Route:106

  • 11:05 AM 27TH AVE NE @ 81ST ST NE
  • 11:15 AM MARINE DR NW @ EDWARD BEATTY RD
  • 11:19 AM 7911 WATER WORKS RD
  • 11:24 AM 3006 TURK DR
  • 11:26 AM TURK DR @ 26TH AVE NW
  • 11:30 AM 2228 TURK DR
  • 11:32 AM TURK DR @ 16TH AVE NW
  • 11:32 AM TURK DR@ 82ND ST NW
  • 11:32 AM 8325 TURK DR
  • 11:33 AM 8727 TURK DR
  • 11:38 AM TURK DR @ PERCIVAL RD
  • 11:38 AM TURK DR@VAN NESS
  • 11:39 AM TURK DR @ PERCIVAL RD
  • 11:39 AM TURK DR @ TURK RD
  • 11:40 AM TURK DR@ 82ND ST NW
  • 11:41 AM TURK DR@21ST AVE NW
  • 11:53 AM WATER WORKS RD @ 86TH ST NW
  • 11:58 AM 9131 WATER WORKS RD
  • 12:01 PM 9530 WATER WORKS RD
  • 12:01 PM 9430 WATER WORKS RD
  • 12:03 PM ELLISON JAMES DR @ STEVE WILLIAMS DR
  • 12:13 PM 36TH AVE NW@BOYS&GIRLS CLUB
  • 12:24 PM 27TH AVE NE @ OLD TULALIP RD
  • 12:25 PM 27TH AVE NE@SANDRA MADISON LP
  • 12:25 PM 27TH AVE NE @ 81ST ST NE
  • 12:25 PM 8326 27TH AVE NE
  • 12:25 PM 8502 27TH AVE NE
  • 12:26 PM 2909 QUILCEDA WY/ 88TH ST NE

Tulalip TVTC constructs 13 tiny homes for Low Income Housing Institute

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Beep. Beep. Beep. The high-pitched sound of a truck backing up echoed throughout the Tulalip TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC) property on the morning of Thursday, March 12. The current group of enrolled TVTC students watched, with bright smiles on their faces and coffees in hand, while the first of thirteen tiny houses were lifted effortlessly onto the back of a flat-bed truck, simply by the command of a few controls that were located on the side of the vehicle.

A longtime partnership between the Tulalip Tribes, TVTC and the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), a non-profit based out of Seattle, led to the distribution of the thirteen, 120-square foot homes, which will be set up in various tiny home communities throughout the greater Seattle area. Originally making local headlines two years ago, LIHI and Tribal representatives celebrated a momentous occasion when three TVTC tiny houses were established in the Georgetown Tiny House Village to provide shelter to people without a place to call home. 

But the partnership was intact years prior to the 2017 Georgetown celebration when LIHI originally commissioned tiny homes from the training center in 2015, which in turn supplied TVTC students with lumber, tools and resources to complete the 16-week hands-on construction course. TVTC is offered to tribal members from all nations and their spouses. In addition to building the tiny homes, the students earn a number of certifications by learning skills that can be applied in various well-paying fields of the construction trade including carpentry, cementing, plumbing, and electrical and mechanical work. 

“Three groups of students built these,” explained TVTC Instructor Mark Newland about the thirteen tiny homes. “Typically you build four a term. It’s really gratifying, especially after you go to meetings and talk to the people, many times it’s females with young children, who have gone from living in tents to moving into one of these tiny houses where you can lock the door, have privacy, get ready for job interviews, have some security, and be able to sleep at night out of the wind, out of the cold.”

Constructing a tiny home has easily become a main attraction of the TVTC course. Seeing the fruits of their hard, manual labor put to use in a good way shows the students the real life impact their two hands can create. 

Although this group of students did not construct this particular set of tiny houses, they showed a sense of pride as the first tiny home was expedited away to its new homeowners. The students exchanged sentiments along the lines of ‘that was pretty cool’, knowing that the work of previous TVTC craftsmen are aiding people in need of shelter and/or security, especially at a time when social distancing and seclusion is being stressed upon the citizens of Washington State, which includes over 20,000 people without a place of residence.

“The best thing, and the thing I am most excited about, is that these homes are going to be used right away,” Mark said. “All of the students are very proud of the tiny homes, it gives them a real sense of understanding in the importance of giving back. There’s a lot of ideas and speculation about people who are on the street, but it’s found that if they have homes first, then they can work on their other issues.”

Finishing their coffee and tightening their tool belts, the current TVTC students followed their teachers indoors for another full day of construction instruction with a refreshed and rejuvenated perspective on the effects of their new trade. Ultimately, the Tribe’s goal is to have a tiny home community at Tulalip to help Tribal individuals and families get back on their feet, with TVTC students constructing the homes for the entire project. 

“This group here is currently working on a bigger model of tiny houses that are going to Sand Point, by Lake Washington,” Mark explained. “These are much larger and sophisticated modules. The next group will be the first to work on nice-sized tiny homes right here for Tulalip – and that’s what we’re really looking forward to. It’s an awesome opportunity for me to work on this project because this is where I live too. I see a lot of people that need shelter, and Tulalip is putting homes first and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

For further details regarding the TVTC program, please contact TERO at (360) 716-4747.

Teaching Lushootseed to future Tulalip

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“This is my third year with Lushootseed and I’m now realizing how much healing that the kids are getting from learning the language,” said Tulalip Lushootseed Language Instructor, Oceana Alday. “It’s beautiful to watch because I don’t think they realize that they are ones who are revitalizing the language that our ancestors once spoke.”

For nearly three generations, the Lushootseed Language department has been on a mission to reintroduce the ancestral Coast Salish language back into lifeways of modern day Tulalip. Recently the program made local headlines by helping bring back Lushootseed classes to Marysville-Pilchuck High School (MP) and also instructing those classes. This news is especially important for Tulalip students who wish to continue studying the vernacular of their people. Most present day Tulalip youth began their educational journey with Lushootseed many years ago, around the ages of 3 and 4-years-old at the Tulalip Montessori. 

During the early 1990’s, a seed was planted in the name of cultural revitalization when the development of the Lushootseed Language department came to fruition. With only two staff members initially, Toby Langen and Hank Gobin, the department set out to build a foundation by teaching their community the words, phrases and pronunciation of the language that Snohomish people spoke since the beginning of time. After colonization, forced assimilation and the years of generational trauma that followed, the cultural resurgence appeared to be much needed within the Tulalip community and ever since, the language has served as a great source of medicine for the people.

“To me, the language means that we are speaking what our ancestors used to speak. We are bringing it back,” said Tulalip Lushootseed Program Manager, Michele Balagot. “The program was developed in 1993 and we’ve taught it in schools since. It was one class when they first started teaching. We’ve grown from four teachers and six classes to fourteen language teachers and well over thirty classes; two at MP, two at Heritage, two college level classes. There are four or five classes at Quil Ceda Tulalip [Elementary], and  we teach fourteen, birth-to-three classrooms and ten preschool classrooms at the academy.”

When the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy (TELA) first opened in 2015, the Lushootseed Language classes resumed for most of the Montessori and ECEAP students. However, over time, as both programs continued to grow, the demand for more language within the classroom rose quickly and resulted in the hiring of new Lushootseed instructors, who are also commonly referred to as Language Warriors.

“We thought we should be teaching them young because this is when they are developing their brains,” Michele explained. “If they start hearing Lushootseed from the beginning of their education, they’ll learn the sounds and know some of the words. On the preschool side, we are focused on teaching them sentences so when they get to elementary school, they can work more on phrases. And in junior high and high school, they’ll be able to have full conversations.”

Perhaps due to the success of the preschool age classes, or simply a desire to ensure the language is embedded into the young minds of future Tulalip leaders, TELA joined forces with the language department in 2017 to implement a new component into their curriculum known as language immersion. Today, every TELA student receives daily language lessons each morning, Monday through Thursday, and for the first time that includes the birth-to-three age group. 

“It’s pretty exciting working with the birth-to-three level,” said Language Warrior, Thomas Williams. “It’s amazing seeing them express what they’ve learned. I’ll hold up a flash card and they’ll quickly respond with the word in Lushootseed. The last couple of weeks we’ve been doing traditional stories. Usually, I go in and sing a handful of songs with them. But we tried something a little more progressive for their age group where we get them to listen to a story. We did a felt board story and for that age, it took two weeks introducing them to the characters with flash cards and mini games. They’ve already memorized the characters. And going through the stories, they are starting to express what the characters are doing and what’s going to happen to them by the end of the story, all in the language.”

While the youngest tribal members get more acquainted with the basics of the verb-based language, the big kids on the preschool side of the academy fine-tune what they’ve learned.  By participating in a language warm-up exercise at the start of each class, they use flashcards to identify a number of animals and marine life before starting their daily lesson complete with songs, stories and games conducted entirely in Lushootseed. 

“We did Lushootseed today,” exclaimed TELA Student, Anastasia Clower. “We learned the words for octopuses, crabs, clams, sea lions. My favorite Lushootseed word is bəsqʷ, which means crab. I don’t like to eat bəsqʷ, but they are still really cool. I’m going to the beach on my birthday and I’m going to look for some bəsqʷ and I’m going to try to catch a sʔuladxʷ (salmon) too. I can’t wait!”

“I know sup̓qs and bəsqʷ, those mean seal and crab!” enthusiastically added fellow TELA student, Elaina Luquin. “I also know Lushootseed songs, not all of them but a lot of them. I sing them at my home too. My mom has the story about the bəsqʷ and we sing it together. I really like it a lot.”

Although still early in the process of the language immersion project, hearing Lushootseed from tribal youth at such young age is incredible. Paired with the Academy’s monthly culture day, which the language department frequently assists with, tribal students are building up a strong sense of pride in their Coast Salish identity and heritage. 

“I’m just so grateful that our teachers and our children are so in love with the culture and the language; we just keep doing the work and it keeps growing,” said TELA Director Sheryl Fryberg at a recent culture day event.

By offering classes to the Academy, the language department is setting the stage for their next generation of Tribal leaders. By partnering with TELA and participating in the language immersion curriculum this is the first time, since perhaps the pre-colonial era, that Lushootseed will be present during multiple stages of a young sduhubš life’s journey, beginning at birth and ideally extending to their college years and beyond.

“We are building a foundation for future speakers,” expressed Lushootseed Language Warrior, Lois Landgrebe. “It makes me feel hopeful when we get them to reply first in Lushootseed instead of in English. It can be a slow process, but it’s bringing our Native language forward in their comprehension, when that happens its promising.”

  The ultimate goal for the department is to have a future generation of language warriors who can speak Lushootseed fluently, and will do their part to ensure the language never dies. Therefore, the Lushootseed department would like to send out a friendly challenge for all Tulalip community members to speak Lushootseed to the youth as often as possible.  

“It’s a very hard language to learn but it’s rewarding to hear the students speaking it,” Michele stated. “It’s very important not only for us adults, but for the kids to carry it on so we don’t lose it. We encourage everybody, when you see the kids, to speak to them in Lushootseed, so they know they can practice the language whenever they wish and that it’s not only meant to be used for school. Greet them in the language of our people and I know you’ll be surprised to hear their response.”

For more information, please contact the Tulalip Lushootseed Language department at (360) 716-4499 or visit their website www.TulalipLushootseed.com

TELA and Imagine Children’s Museum bring STEM to future leaders

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“I love science a lot because it makes me happy,” exclaimed young Taliah Bradford. “I like doing experiments at school with my friends.”

Every Friday the pre-school students of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy (TELA) gather in the Deer classroom for Little Science Lab to learn about the wondrous world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Sitting crisscross applesauce, the students give their undivided attention to Ms. Pam, of the Imagine Children’s Museum, as she guides them through thirty minutes of hands-on activities where they learn how the universe operates.

On the morning of January 31, the kids hurried to their seats to learn about one of Mother Earth’s elements, air. As she began her lesson, Ms. Pam asked the students the name of the layer of air and gasses that encompasses the earth, hinting they learned about it during their last class. Once it clicked, the students all called out together, ‘the atmosphere’. 

“It’s amazing to see these young 3 and 4-year-olds use advanced science vocabulary,” stated Teddy Dillingham, Imagine Children’s Museum newly appointed Grants Manager and former Director of Education. “They are using that vocabulary correctly and are remembering everything. That’s really helping set them up for future success in school because it’s building their confidence and their love for STEM.”

The idea of the Little Science Labs began back in 2017 when Tulalip Charitable Fund Director, Marilyn Sheldon, encouraged the children’s museum to apply for funding through the Charitable Fund, and bring some of their experiments to the children of Tulalip. 

“We’re really grateful for the Tulalip Tribes, they’ve been a longtime supporter of the museum and it seemed like a really great fit,” Teddy expressed. “Because of the Charitable Fund, we now have weekly classes here. For the academy’s summer program, we bring out our Museum on-the-go programs and align our lesson with the topics the teachers are covering. For instance, when they had their dinosaur week last summer, we brought our dino class to them.

         “We also have quarterly family nights where the children can bring their families and do some of these similar activities and play at the museum. It’s really fun and the caregivers have shared they are doing some of our activities at home with their children. We have a unit on shells, and when they go to the beach, the kids are identifying the shells that they are seeing. They are finding applications in their daily life and using it, which is the ultimate goal.” 

The kids continued to learn about air by playing with pinwheels, participating in interactive story time, and experimenting with sailboats made of styrofoam bowls and laminated construction paper. Blowing air in all directions, the kids watched its effect take place right before their eyes. 

“I learned that air is everywhere around us,” said TELA student Cameron, as she moved her arms in big circles through the air. “We played with the boats and we blew on them to make wind and make them move. And if there’s no wind for the sail, the boat gets stuck in the same spot. I liked the story today too, it was really good. I was a butterfly!”

Last year, the established partnership between TELA and the Imagine Children’s Museum led to additional funding from the Tribe to offer free museum memberships to all enrolled Tulalip tribal members. This resulted in over 150 sign-ups and approximately 1,000 visits from Tulalip families so far. And due to more and more kids developing a love for STEM in today’s techy world, the Museum is now more popular than ever, and therefore, are working to expand their space by adding another level to their building and extending their base as far as their property line allows. 

“As these students go through school and learn about the atmosphere, they are going to have this memory,” Teddy stated. “I’m a former science teacher and taught junior high. When kids showed up, they already had a vision of themselves as non-scientists, or that science is scary or science is hard. A lot of the grown-ups in their lives also had negative experiences with science. We’re setting up children when they’re young to show them how fun STEM can be, so they feel confident with it. One day they will look back and say, ‘oh yeah we blew on the boats and experimented with the balloons and pinwheels’. And they’re going to feel like, ‘okay, I already know this and can totally do this’.”

For more information about the Imagine Children’s Museum, please visit www.imaginecm.org 

MSD asks you to vote yes

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Through a locked door and down a short flight of stairs is a room that is about twenty-degrees warmer than the rest of Liberty Elementary school. Signs that read, ‘Caution flammable!’ cover pumps and tanks that vary in both size and shape. The boiler room requires the school’s maintenance team to arrive hours early to ensure the school is warm enough for students in the morning. The heat from the boilers is carried throughout the school to several radiators that both retain and omit the heat. 

Not only are the hot radiators a first-degree burn accident waiting to happen, but the entire student body and faculty are in harm’s way of an explosion from pressure or chemical combustion, should someone untrained or curious try to regulate the facility’s temperature. 

The Marysville School District (MSD) is claiming that two of their elementary schools are outdated and well past the point of renovation and are asking for support from their community. Liberty Elementary was built in 1951 and has helped mold young, local minds for nearly seventy years, while Cascade Elementary was established only six years later in 1957. 

Aside from depending on the boiler system as a source of heat, both of the schools are facing a number of challenges due to the advancement of time and technology, which in many instances places their students at a learning disadvantage, including the capability to efficiently support the myriad of electronics of modern day. 

Another issue the schools must address is the lack of space. Students are often seen working on one side of the hallway while cabinets filled with files and supplies line the opposite side. While each school has numerous classrooms throughout their respective buildings, they are merely sectioned off by adjustable walls and contain no doors, leaving the students exposed to danger should there be a need for lockdown, as well as open to distraction from nearby classrooms and kids wandering the halls. 

And to make matters worse, the school nurse’s office at Liberty is located down an empty corridor with a large sheet covering the entryway for privacy.  

“I went to Liberty and I’m 62, so it’s been there for a long time,” said Tulalip tribal member and Chairman of Citizens for Marysville Schools, Ray Sheldon Jr. “The school district is wanting to replace Liberty and Cascade. I’m hoping we can get the amount of support up in the Tulalip area, so when the time comes for Heritage [High School] and Quil Ceda Tulalip [Elementary], it won’t be such a headache.” 

MSD is purposing a six-year capital levy of $1.93 per $1000 of assessed home value, equaling out to approximately $710 for taxpayers per year until 2026. The capital levy will not only provide the necessary funds to demolish and rebuild the two schools, it will increase safety for all schools within the district by paying for security cameras. 

“They used to build schools with bonds, but you had to have 60% plus one in order to get the money,” Ray explained. “So they chose to do the capital levy for the simple reason that you only need 50% plus one in order for it to pass. Of course, you have to wait a few years to start building any of the schools in order for some of the money to build up. It will be a long-term process.

“Tribal members are on trust land so the levy won’t hurt them. If you live on trust land, you don’t pay those taxes if you vote yes. If you don’t live on trust land, the levy averages out to just a little over $700 a per year. What people have to understand is, yes that can be considered a lot but not as bad compared to the bigger cities. When you go to the big school districts, they pay upwards of $3,000 to $4,000 every year.”

The School District assures the community that this is just the first assignment on a list to improve the learning environment at each one of their schools and build a stronger community. Ray believes the next schools to receive a rebuild or renovations will be either Shoultes or Totem middle school, they have also been operating for decades and are in dire need of modern updates. 

Recently, the capital levy has received push-back from families that live within the school district after the MSD school board announced a proposal to enforce feeder boundaries starting next year, which would limit the options of what school a child could attend based on where they live. Both the school district and the levy committee want to emphasize that this particular measure will have no effect on the boundary proposal and encourage you to make your voice heard at upcoming forums pertaining to that issue, whether you are for, or in opposition of, the school boundaries. 

Many young Tulalip tribal members and students from other sovereign nations attend the grade schools. In fact, at Liberty alone Tulalip students make up over 10% of their 426 enrolled kids. 

“The [school board] proposed boundaries for the next coming school year. A lot of people aren’t happy with it and are stating they’ll vote no for the levy, which will hurt overall,” expressed Ray. “The levy isn’t about the boundaries; the boundaries may never happen. The bottom line is these schools aren’t safe; it’s time to make a change. We’re really counting on our people out here. For our children, please vote yes for the Marysville School District capital levy.”

Tulalip Youth and Family Enrichment will be hosting a ballot party from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Don Hatch Youth Center on February 10, be sure to submit your ballot at the party for your chance to win a raffle prize.

Careers in the construction industry are booming, TVTC can be your entry point to a better tomorrow

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Educators, parents and others often place strong emphasis on college preparation and earning an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree by traditional means. But that lengthy and expensive route often means accruing a ton of debt just to enter a highly competitive job market. College degrees may be the preferred goal for many, however there are a growing number of students who see a more hands-on future for themselves. For these individuals, unafraid of getting their hands dirty and learning the true meaning behind a hard day’s work, there is an abundance of opportunity within the construction industry.

Whether it be laborer, carpenter, ironworker, electrician or heavy equipment operator, there are countless positions available for work and advancement within the trades, especially for sought after minorities like Native Americans and women. A major access point for entry into these desirable career paths for tribal citizens and their families continues to be Tulalip’s own TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

“Not everybody wants to be a doctor or lawyer. Not everybody wants a desk job. I’m a lifetime fisherman that started a construction company when it became apparent we could no longer sustain ourselves simply by living off the land,” said Tulalip Vice-Chairman Glen Gobin. “Some want to be outside working with their hands. That’s what brings people to our training program, it gives them an opportunity to get exposure to all the different trades, learn how to function on a job site and how to get work. Graduates of TVTC enter a section of the workforce that is in high demand.”

In fact, a quick glance around the greater Seattle area and onlookers are sure to see more cranes than they can count. Along the I-5 corridor, from Tacoma to Everett, construction projects are booming and many on-site jobs continue to go unfilled. While other career pathways may be oversaturated and hard to come by, those within construction trades are thriving. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, open construction positions are expected to increase by more than 700,000 jobs nationally through 2028, a faster growth than any other occupation. In Washington State alone, there are nearly 3,000 unfilled construction jobs that pay much more than the average state wage. 

Brighter horizons and prospects galore were among the reasons so many gathered to celebrate the TVTC autumn cohort’s achievement on a December morning at the Tulalip Resort’s orca ballroom. Fifteen students (including eight Tulalip tribal members and three women) were honored with a graduation banquet for their commitment to building a better future. Nearly 200 guests attended, including trade union representatives, several construction employers, and many cheerful family members.

“Our TVTC program is 100% supported by grant funds,” explained TERO director Summer Hammons. “Our TVTC graduates earned various certifications and college credits, while learning many skills that will undoubtedly make an impact on their future. We thank the Tulalip Tribes, Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit, and the Tulalip Cares charitable fund for always supporting us. These organizations and community partners are ensuring our future leaders have viable career paths.”

TVTC is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the entire country. The program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College, while all the in-class, hands-on curriculum has been formally approved by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council.

The sixteen-week program provides 501-hours of hands-on instruction, strength building exercises, and construction skills that can last a lifetime. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, industrial fork lift and scissor lift, 40-hour HAZWOPER, and OSHA 10-hour safety. 

Homegrown Tulalip citizen Demitri Jones opted to retake the class after not being able to complete it his first time around.  To jumpstart an all-new career path as a carpenter, he had to grit and grind. He maintained his full-time position as a security officer working the dreaded graveyard shift, while sacrificing convenience and lots of sleep to take the TVTC class during the day.

“My biggest takeaway is learning the benefits of hard work and dedication,” reflected Demitri. “My advice to those who already have a job but are interested in taking the class, if you really want it then make it happen. Creating a routine was so important, but knowing in the end it’ll all be worth it kept me going.” 

His instructors noted he was the first in his class to gain employment. “I’m a carpenter’s apprentice right now and looking forward to journeying out, becoming a foreman or even superintendent,” added the ambitious 26-year-old.

Along with gaining a wide-range of new employment opportunities via the trades, seven diligent students took advantage of the educational aspect and earned their high school diploma.

Three hardworking ladies were among the graduates, Carla Yates (Haida), Cheyenne Frye (Arikara) and Shelbi Strom (Quinault). Each wanted to acquire a new skillset while creating a pathway to a better and brighter future.

“I really liked the class. I met some really cool people and learned so many new skills that I would have never been exposed to if I didn’t try it out,” said 20-year-old Cheyenne. Originally from North Dakota, her family relocated to the area so her mom could take the TVTC program. After graduating and seeing all the opportunity now available to her, she convinced her daughter to follow suit.

“I had zero experience with construction tools, like the nail gun and different saws. All of that was pretty intimidating at first, but after I learned to use them properly it became a lot of fun using them to complete projects,” admitted Cheyenne. “Both my parents have jobs as plumbers on the new casino project now. Hopefully I can join an electricians’ or sheet metal union and get work on that project, too.”

With hundreds of skilled-trade workers retiring every day across the state, the construction industry is in need of the next generation workforce to help build an ever-growing Snohomish County and surrounding Puget Sound communities. In the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area alone, construction employment increased by 6,400 jobs between March 2018 and March 2019, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. These are well-paying jobs that are available to people straight out of high school. It takes some grit for sure, but for those folks with a strong work ethic and can-do attitude, they can find themselves running a construction company of their own someday.

“When our student graduates go out into the world of construction, they can compete on equal footing with anybody,” declared TVTC instructor Mark Newland during the graduation ceremony. “We’re gaining traction with union companies and construction employers all over the region. 

“I just can’t say enough about this class,” he continued. “From day one, they were engaged, helping each other out, and understood what they had to gain by putting their nose to the grindstone. Really amazing stuff! They’ve given me so much as their instructor and I wish them all the best.”

Those interested in being among the next available TVTC cohort or would like more information about the program, please call (360) 716-4760 or email Ltelford@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

Hard work is recognized with student of the semester award

By  Cullen Salinas-Zackuse, Tulalip News

When getting awards in academia, typically what people think of is a straight edge, hard working kid that worries about grades and school comes to them effortlessly. Not all students function the same way, some shine differently. When going through the rigorous journey of school these kids did not have the typical ride and with their resilience and efforts they were able to endure their situation and succeed. This semester these are the Native youth that were nominated and recognized for the outstanding work and efforts.

Lenay Chuckalnaskit.

The student of the semester for middle school is 8th grader Lenay Chuckalnaskit. She recently moved from Nespelem Washington, to Marysville and now attends Totem Middle School. She was noticed for her hard work while going through a tough transitional phase in life with friends, grades, and a good attitude. She became a student athlete and participates in track and field 100-meter dash/hurdles, volleyball, and gymnastics. Lenay also participates in the cultural activities by Powwow dancing. With all the activities Lanay is doing she is also able to maintain a 4.0 GPA, as she is driven and has only missed two days of school this year. 

Lanay eventually wants to have a career in the medical field but is not positive where yet. She thanks her parents and family for supporting her along her academic journey. She also looks up to her 19-year-old sister for being her role model and leading by example on how to be successful in school. 

Tristian Hopkins.

The student of the semester for high school was nominated because of his growth as a student. Tristian Hopkins is a senior at Marysville-Getchell High School. He started his high school career at Tulalip Heritage, where he felt comfortable going to school with friends and family. He eventually felt distracted and wanted to branch out and explore a bigger school and that is where he found himself at Marysville-Getchell Highschool. Going from 100 kids who are friends and family to a school that has 1,500 kids usually seems like a tough transition but Tristian looked at it as an opportunity for growth. He was able to find a new crowd and focus better in his academic work. He pulled his grades up to above a 3.0 GPA, but not without sacrificing a year playing football. Choosing to focus on school over football did not diminish his love for the game. His senior year he came back and played for the varsity football team. Tristian was able to rack up 8 tackles his last 3 games and was honorary captain for a couple of those games. 

Looking to the future, Tristian plans on applying to Arizona State University. He wants to become an aerospace engineer and work on building airplane parts. It makes sense when you ask him his favorite subject, he says physics. Academic careers hardly ever go as planned and not all are perfect, but along the journey there is always room to grow. That is what Tristian showed he can do. 

Diamond Medina.

Diamond Medina is a sweet, kind young lady. She a fifth grader at Tulalip/Quil Ceda Elementary where she has grown into a positive role model. She always stays focused and gets her work done. Multiple teachers noticed she is organized and advocates for herself and her learning. Diamond doesn’t get distracted easily as she’s always on time for her groups and utilizes her resources while she is in school. Overall, she keeps her positive mindset no matter her situation at school and is always smiling. 


Former Seahawks bring outdoor fun and leadership skills to Tulalip youth

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A large circle formation of about sixty Tulalip citizens congregated outside of the Youth Center on the bluff overlooking Tulalip Bay. The group, consisting of mostly youth, offered two traditional songs to three tall individuals who were standing at the center of the circle. In the distance was a yellow seaplane sitting on the waters of the bay, which the visitors arrived in moments prior. Leaders of the Tulalip Youth Council and previous Tulalip Mountain Camp and Fish Camp attendees were in for quite the surprise on the chilly fall evening of October 22.

 “We were asked to be here by Jessica, our Youth Council Advisor,” explained Youth Council Secretary, Shylah Zackuse. “We were told it was going to be a team building experience. But I had no clue there was going to be former Seahawks players here.”

Three years ago, former Seahawks tight end and Super Bowl XLVIII Champion, Cooper Helfet, started a non-profit organization, the Nature Project, dedicated to getting kids outdoors for recreational fun, along with time away from their phone screens. Since then, Cooper has recruited former teammates, as well as a few current NFL players, to participate in the Nature Project. For the visit to Tulalip, Cooper brought along fellow former Seahawks, Jermaine Kearse and Tyrone Swoopes.

“I grew up in northern California and I had a lot of opportunities to get out into nature, whether that was hiking, camping, surfing or backpacking, it was a big priority in my family to do so,” said Cooper after thanking the people for the traditional songs. “Some of my favorite memories as a kid were doing those things. And as I got older, especially when I started playing with the Hawks and with different teams in my career, I realized a lot of my teammates didn’t get those opportunities. I started getting them outdoors more and they had an amazing experience developing their own relationship with the natural world. 

“And I thought, how do we create these types of opportunities for kids? Especially in a time where video games, TV, the internet are exciting, but taking over our world. So I started this project, bringing out athletes to the kids of local communities to get them outdoors and impress upon them the importance of spending time outside.”

After taking time to snap a photo with the crowd, the football stars hung out with the youth, passing a soccer ball around. Approximately thirty kids introduced themselves to the group and stated one outdoor activity they enjoyed such as skateboarding, hiking, softball and basketball. Next, Cooper passed around sharpies and cedar medallions, asking the kids to write down one goal they hoped to accomplish in their lifetime. 

“The real mission of the project is to motivate kids to spend more time outside and do so in a way where they can create positive physical memories with friends,” Cooper explained. “And to use that as a tool they can use throughout their life to be reflective and think about their goals and how to overcome adversity. We know that often times it could be hard for youth to relate, listen and let things soak in. One of the assets we have as athletes is we have an ability to connect with kids and know we’re going to have their ears and attention because we gained that beautiful gift of being their role models, so we try to pass that on to them through the Nature Project work.”

Once everybody’s goals were marked down, the kids had fun participating in an exercise designed to use the power of communication, teamwork, and creativity to find a way to obtain their goals. After putting in plenty of effort and refusing to give up, the kids got a little help from Cooper, Jermaine and Tyrone. However, in order to receive help from the football pros, the youth had to vocalize exactly what they needed from the athletes first.

The youth were shown that it is possible to achieve their aspirations by using teamwork and communication skills. The group then had an open conversation about attaining individual goals through determination, perseverance and utilizing personal resources. 

“Perseverance for me is not giving up and overcoming every obstacle,” expressed Jermaine, who is also a Super Bowl XVIII Champ. “Adversity is going to show up in our lives whether it’s in sports, school, life or relationships. For me, in the 2015 NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers I had four targets, four passes thrown to me, and they were intercepted each time. It was a tough moment but I didn’t feel sorry for myself, I didn’t quit, go in the locker room, or sit on the bench with my head down. I knew there were going to be more opportunities and if I was going to be ready for the next opportunity I had to stay mentally in the game. My next opportunity so happened to be the game winning touchdown. That’s perseverance, not giving up on yourself and continuing to push forward.

“Sometimes we feel prideful, we have our egos and want to do things on our own. Please know that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s hard to go through life doing everything by yourself. If you have a group of friends or family that are really close to you, if you’re going through hard times in class or struggling, it’s okay to ask for help. Don’t feel ashamed because even the strongest people in the world need help.”

Every year the Tulalip Natural Resources department partners with the YMCA of Snohomish County to bring local youth the outdoor summer camps, Mountain Camp and Fish Camp. Upon hearing about the camps, the Nature Project was interested in hosting an outdoor event with the Tulalip community. 

“The Nature Project learned about us through the YMCA,” said Ryan Miller, Tulalip Natural Resources Environmental Liaison. “Their whole goal is to get kids out into nature and have that experience that Cooper had when he was a kid, that he feels turned him into the person he is today. They felt he was a really good fit to do something with Tulalip and our youth. It’s an opportunity for the kids to learn about the importance of team work, perseverance, leadership and gives them skills that will help them throughout their lives.”

Tulalip youth Seth Montero fell in love with the great outdoors while at the Mountain and Fish Camps. His passion for nature was so strong that when he grew past the camp age limit, he took a course with the YMCA to take on a leadership role at the summertime camps. Seth thanked the former Seahawks for their work promoting outdoor activities.

“Nature is important because it’s all around us and every day we’re losing more and more of it. It’s always good to get outside whenever you have the chance. Go explore new places, appreciate all the views Mother Earth has to offer, because it might not always be there.”

To wrap up the evening, kids were given large water bottles courtesy of REI and all three Nature Project members took a moment to converse with each kiddo as they autographed their names across their bottles. 

“It was so awesome,” said Tulalip Youth, Lincoln Pablo. “Jermaine Kearse has always been my inspiration for playing football. His catches are amazing. I always wanted to do what he did and get to the league. For my goal today, I wrote down play on our very own Seattle Seahawks.”

Before taking off in the seaplane, Jermaine and Tyrone were gifted handcrafted masks by Tulalip artist Ty Juvinel, and all three former Seahawks received paddles from the Tulalip Youth. 

“You live on a beautiful reservation,” Cooper said. “If you’re looking for ways to get involved in outdoor fun, it’s as simple as walking along the beach or adventuring a little east and getting up in the woods. It doesn’t take much. It’s grabbing a neighbor and going for a walk, it doesn’t need be a planned thing. When I think about my childhood, none of my memories were inside paying video games. They were memories I can feel, hear, see and smell and were with friends. 99% of the time they were outdoors. You just got to take the initiative and go do it. Your ancestors were the original stewards of all this land we get to call home, and I just want to express that there’s an insane amount of gratitude that I have for that.”