Governor to seek $200M more for schools

By Jerry Cornfield, The Herald

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee surprised lawmakers Tuesday with a call to give public schools $200 million in new funding, with a portion earmarked for the first cost-of-living increase for teachers in five years.

Inslee, who’s been saying he would seek a major investment in education, changed course after the state Supreme Court recently scolded lawmakers for moving too slowly to fully fund basic education as required by the state constitution.

“Promises don’t educate our children. Promises don’t build our economy and promises don’t satisfy our constitutional and moral obligations,” Inslee said in prepared remarks to a joint session of both chambers of the Legislature.

“We need to stop downplaying the significance of this court action. Education is the one paramount duty inscribed in our constitution,” Inslee said during his noontime State of the State Address.

Also Tuesday, Inslee pressed lawmakers to pass a transportation package and increase the state’s minimum wage by as much as $2.50 an hour. Today the minimum wage in Washington is $9.32 per hour.

Regarding education funding, the first-term Democratic governor will propose closing tax breaks to generate the revenue, a change he sought without much success last year. He didn’t spell out which tax breaks he will seek to close.

“You can expect that again I will bring forward tax exemptions that I think fall short when weighed against the needs of our schools,” according to the remarks provided in advance of his speech.

On transportation, Inslee urged lawmakers to find common ground in time to reach agreement before this year’s 60-day session ends in March. The House is controlled by Democrats and the Senate is controlled by Republicans.

“If education is the heart of our economy, then transportation is the backbone. That’s why we need a transportation investment package,” he said. “The goal cannot be for everyone to get everything they want. Instead, we must get agreement on what our state needs.”

And he said he wasn’t sure how much the minimum wage should climb but knows it needs to be higher than it is today.

“I don’t have the exact number today for what our minimum wage should be. It won’t be a number that remedies 50 years of income inequality,” he said. “But I believe that an increase in the range of $1.50 to $2.50 an hour is a step toward closing the widening economic gap.”

The governor also called for reform that would ensure businesses pay no business-and-occupation tax if they earn less than $50,000 in revenue in a year.

No More Reform! Time for teachers

Becky Berg opens a meeting between Marysville School District staff and State Legislators.

Becky Berg opens a meeting between Marysville School District staff and State Legislators.

Marysville School District Superintendent meets with teachers, staff, and legislators

Article and photo by Andrew Gobin

Marysville – The structure of the school day may be changing. There is a discussion at the capitol in which Washington State Legislators are considering lengthening the school day and adding 80 hours to the 1000-hour yearly quota class instruction time.  Dr. Becky Berg, superintendent for the Marysville School District (MSD), invited legislators, community leaders, administrative staff, and members of the teaching faculty to come together on January 6th to discuss the needs of the schools, specifically addressing the 6-hour day and 1080, reforms to the school day that are currently being discussed in Washington State. The meeting also emphasized the need to pass the levy this year.

The 6-hour day and 1080 discussion, as it is called, would lengthen the school day to include 6 hours of instruction time, as opposed to the 5.5 required now, and would add another 80 hours a year to the time teachers and students are required to spend in the classroom together. Consequently, the proposed changes do away with early release days and teacher workshops.

“We (teachers) rely on early release days to come up with time for collaboration and professional development. Enough with reform, if change needs to happen it needs be on a local level. People at the capitol don’t have the answers. People in D.C. don’t know what we need,” said Arden Watson, president of the Marysville Education Association.

Getchell High School Principal Shawn Stevenson agreed, “When you ask teachers what they need, more than anything they need time. Time to be proficient in their job, time to develop a teaching plan, and time to adjust and rework that plan so that students can succeed.”

Marysville Getchell High School Principal Shawn Stevenson explains the teachers' need for time outside of the classroom.

Marysville Getchell High School Principal Shawn Stevenson explains the teachers’ need for time outside of the classroom.

Jodi Runyon, executive assistant to the MSD Superintendent, echoed, “With funding from the SIG grants, Quil Ceda and Tulalip elementary staff had the resources and freedom to redesign their schools. They were able to create planning time throughout the school day. Now they have enormous student success, which has recently been recognized on a national level. The only question now is where do we find the funding as the SIG grant has come to an end.”

The SIG grant is a three-year federal funding program for schools in need, which culminated this last November with a visit for the President of the National Education Association.

In addition to time for teacher planning and development, the levy was strongly emphasized as a crucial component for the MSD. For example, the technology aspect of the levy will help students and teachers access a state of the art fiber-optic network that is already in place district wide. The problem is there are no points of access. The infrastructure is there, yet the classrooms are not equipped to engage with the network. Currently, it is compared to a freeway with no on ramp. No one has access.

“It goes beyond the school day. At sporting events and after school hours, our Wi-Fi will be open to those at the school. Free Wi-Fi for parents and students, filtered of course, so to eliminate problems of access at home,” said Berg.

Dean Ledford called the levy “paramount to the success of teachers and students.”

The legislators and leaders that attended included Washington State Representatives Mike Sells and Hans Dunshee, Snohomish County Executive and former Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick, Senator John McCoy, 189 Educational Service District Superintendent Jerry Jenkins, former Mayor of Marysville Dennis Kendall and current Mayor Jon Nehring. They all offered support for what the teachers and staff of the MSD are trying to do, sharing similar concerns about the 6-hour day and 1080 discussion.

United Way of Snohomish County offering $51,000 in grants to support financial education; application deadline is Jan. 17

 

(Everett, WA) – United Way of Snohomish County is offering $51,000 to support financial education and financial coaching serving low- or moderate-income individuals and families. Grants may be used to support classroom instruction, one-on-one counseling or a combination.

“Financial stability is the cornerstone of a healthy community,” said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. “These grants will help provide families in our community much needed access to financial education and counseling.”

Programs could include money management, savings, budgeting, avoiding fraud, credit management or other financial topics relevant to low-and-moderate-income families. Funds may be used to support or expand financial asset building services or to develop a new financial education offering.

The maximum award for a grant is $15,000. Organizations currently receiving United Way multi-year program grants are eligible for funding, including programs presently funded. For programs currently receiving a multi-year program grant, funds must be used to either expand or enhance impact.

The grant application and instructions can be found on United Way’s website at http://www.uwsc.org/financialeducationgrants.php.

For more information, please contact Lark Kesterke at lark.kesterke@uwsc.org or 425.374.5506.

Two years ago, eight groups received a total of $40,000 in financial education grants from United Way. Both that round of funding and this one were made possible through a grant from The Boeing Company to United Way.

Free tax preparation, encouraging people to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds and other financial education programs, in addition to these grants, are part of United Way’s overall effort to help Snohomish County families achieve and maintain financial stability.

American Indian College Fund to Celebrate 25 Years

By Christina Rose, ICTMN

The American Indian College Fund will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2014. Cheryl Crazy Bull, Sicangu Lakota the president and chief executive officer of the fund, reveals her hopes and goals for the fund’s future. Crazy Bull began her own career teaching at Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Reservation, where she worked her way up in the administration to become department chair. Crazy Bull later served as president of Northwestern Indian College in Washington state.

How has the Fund changed in the past 25 years?

The Fund started from nothing 25 years ago, is now giving $5.5 million to $6 million a year, and we have given more than 85,000 scholarships since then.

People think the funds are raised for broadly based education, but it is specifically for the 34 tribal institutions that have educated 20,000 students. The Fund was developed in 1989 by tribal college presidents to support tribal colleges and universities.

The College Fund has been able to grow in a selective environment, and is funded by individuals who are interested in supporting tribal education, and who appreciate the opportunity it brings to the disadvantaged.

What are some of the challenges the Fund has faced?

The Fund is not as broadly known as it should be to really affect those who are seriously disadvantaged. Within the market we do have name recognition; we are probably the largest Native American controlled fund in the country. We offer funding to thousands of colleges, and we support a whole range of programs. In that regard, we are pretty large, but not large enough to provide support to all who apply.

Can all of the applicants receive money through the Fund?

We can support about 25 percent of the applicants, but we estimate that 75 to 90 percent who apply are eligible for financial aid. We know there is a huge gap between what we need and what we can provide. We also know tribal colleges operate on shoestring budgets, and that they can’t compete with other college salaries. But we were able to give some funding to build a number of newer facilities.

The College Fund is in a good position to provide a place for people to invest their money. Anybody who gives money wants to know it will be well spent.

How many of the students who receive funding graduate?

The goal has been towards providing accessibility to funding and not as much effort has been put into tracking, but we are going to start looking at this. We recently did a study and a large percentage of the recipients said that they achieved their educational goals with the support they received. Students express a high level of satisfaction of their experience, and that information comes from an outside agency.

What are some of the goals?

Right now the Fund is positioning for dramatic growth. We are putting a new strategic fund in place, and we want to have a very successful campaign for the 25th anniversary in 2014. We are also preparing to ambitiously work on new marketing programs with Wiedan and Kennedy, an international marketing firm, to capitalize on public interest. I am looking forward to working on that.

What is the best thing a student can do to receive funding?

Go to class and do the work, and ask for the help. To receive funding, students attending a tribal college must meet the criteria of the donor. There are two kinds of funding sources. One goes through the college, and is standard, given according to need and GPA. Then there are funds given by a donor who maybe wants to fund a health major or a certain tribe, and we administer those funds.

In the scholarship arena, the best thing for a student to do is apply. They may be remarkable and talented, but they need to apply. We want to get them to apply even if they don’t get the funding because it helps us show the funders there is a need for more, and who knows, maybe you’ll get one next time.

The Fund originated during the civil rights movement when tribal leaders decided to take education back from the failed policies of the U.S. government. The first tribal college was founded by the Navajo Nation, achieving the goal of teaching their students on the reservation. Today there are 34 tribal colleges and universities in 14 states, serving tribal members from every area of the country.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/16/american-indian-college-fund-celebrate-25-years-152627

Officials from the Marysville School District hold break out sessions working to improve community schools

Dr. Becky Berg leads a discussion on Marysville schools.

Dr. Becky Berg leads a discussion on Marysville schools.
Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

 

by Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

TULALIP − Coming to the MarysvilleSchool District, Dr. Becky Berg aimed to “hit the ground running,” according to the Marysville Globe. True to her word, Berg wastes no time when it comes to improving community schools. On November 14th, she and other district officials held a community meeting at the TulalipAdministrationBuilding, the first in a series of meetings, in order to identify concerns and provide information about this year’s levy.

Dr. Becky Berg opens the community meeting November 14th

Dr. Becky Berg opens the community meeting November 14th
Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

“We want to hear from you all,” Berg said. “What are the concerns you have about your schools? What are some positive things or what would you like to see continued?”

Two breakout sessions, facilitated by Berg and assistant superintendent Ray Houser, were a forum where the community spoke on a personal level with district officials, discussing their past experiences attending Marysville schools or having children attend Marysville schools, what works in the district, changes that they’ve seen, improvements that need to be made, and programs they’d like to see developed. One major issue raised by parents and teachers at the meeting was the drastic educational gap in the classroom.

“We have high school math classes with students meeting and exceeding their level, mixed with students that are stuck at a 5th grade level,” said heritage principal Shelly Lacey.

Other topics discussed were programs that have been cut, including evening transportation after extra curricular activities like sports, band, clubs, etc., and problems with the schools’ environment such as bullying, apathetic staff, and teachers uninterested in whether or not students learned.

“We don’t feel welcome. Our kids feel unwelcome at school, and we as parents feel that we can’t approach the teachers,” said Misty Napeahi. She has children in school now, as well as graduates of the MarysvilleSchool District.

Many of these issues were addressed in the levy presentation that followed the discussions, which highlighted specific areas that need improvement. Line items included in the levy are programs for high achieving students, students needing to be brought up to grade level, transportation, teachers and aides, support staff (nurses, counselors, etc.), staff training and development, extra curricular activities, and upgrading district technology, each addressing various academic needs. Each of these items discussed, as well as dollar allocations, emphasized the levy as the means to helping every student to succeed. The support staff and staff development portions are crucial to changing the environment of Marysville schools, which is a constant concern at Tulalip.

Upgrading technology and accessibility may be the most crucial for academic success at the current time.

Jim Baker presented the proposed 2014 Levy, which will be on February ballots

Jim Baker presented the proposed 2014 Levy, which will be on February ballots
Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

“We spent all the time, money, and effort to put in the fiber-optic network we have now, yet it remains inaccessible because of a lack of hardware,” said Jim Baker, the district’s executive director of finance. “With the proper tools and training, we hope to improve student performance in the classroom, as well as the effectiveness of the teachers.”

District officials stressed the need for the levy to pass in order to provide better resources in the classroom.

“As it stands, there is more advanced technology and capable users at McDonald’s than there is in our schools,” noted Berg.

This levy truly is all encompassing, addressing academic, structural, and environmental needs. If passed, the levy stands to increase funding for these programs by $85 million over the next four years. The issues discussed at this and other community meetings will be deciding factors in how the money is spent, specifically with regards to staff development. The next community meeting and levy presentation is slated for December 4th of this year, 6:00 pm at the district office. More information is available on the district website, or you may call the district office at (360) 653-7058.

 

Andrew Gobin: 360-716-4188; agobin@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

“All about students and student success”

Hoban Retire TulalipNewscom from Brandi Montreuil on Vimeo.

Pioneer of education programs at Tulalip retires

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

Tulalip − After 37 years of service for the Tulalip Tribes, Maureen Hoban retires from a career dedicated to education. Through creativity and insight, she developed grant funded programs tailored to the needs of the membership to facilitate their success. Making many friends throughout her career, all of whom praise her can-do attitude and great humor, she leaves a legacy of multiple education programs that cater to a diverse student base, ranging from early childhood learning to post high school academia and training. The October 24th celebration, which was a surprise for Hoban, was held in recognition of the time and service she has given to this community.

Raised on Mission Beach, Hoban feels that Tulalip has been a part of her entire life. Although her pursuit of education and a career at Everett Community College (EvCC) took her away from the reservation, she returned to Tulalip in 1976 to form the head start program; now the Tulalip ECEAP program. She quickly began creating other education programs, continually seeking out and writing grants to procure the funding. The programs she started were geared towards making tribal members qualified for work.

“Education had to follow the economy. Whatever jobs were available, that’s what we trained for,” said Hoban, continuing with a humorous anecdote about the first training offered at Tulalip. “I came to Tulalip shortly after the Boldt Decision. People were getting ready to go fishing again, and there were many who didn’t know how to work the nets. And so, one of the first trainings that we offered, in a partnership with EvCC in the late 70s was called networking. Our grant money came from [Washington] DC, who thought we were on the edge of technology. Immediately they sent out two men in suits

Maureen Hoban.Photo/Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

Maureen Hoban.
Photo/Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

to look at our program. When they arrived at the class they found us hanging nets and were perplexed. ‘What are you doing?’ they asked. ‘Well…we’re networking,’ I said. By the end of the day they had rolled up their suit pants and were knee high in water on the beach, pulling nets in with the students.”

Hoban has a unique ability to pinpoint a need and meet it with a program that is beneficial beyond its end. Networking, though no longer in existence, continues to benefit Tulalip fishermen.

Stemming from economic needs, Hoban went on to develop Project Salmon, the predecessor of Tulalip Heritage High School, to allow high school students to finish the fishing season without falling behind. As the economy progressed, and other opportunities became available, she shifted the programs she developed from training to academic disciplines.

Susan Loreen of Edmonds Community College recalled how Hoban worked with students, ushering them into education, continually supporting them throughout their academic careers.

“She was always all about students and student success,” said Loreen.

Hoban looked critically at the needs of students, speaking to them about their individual needs and showing students how they could help themselves, in turn making them determined in their endeavors.

“This is one lady you don’t want to let down, because she truly supports your education,” said Jay Napeahi, a former student that benefitted from the college programs Hoban brought to Tulalip. She encouraged him to continue with his education, showing him all that he stood to benefit. He, like many others Hoban interacted with, became the first of his family to finish college.

Today, Tulalip offers many options for adult education including NACTEP, dive training, CDL training, welding, GED courses, and higher education, in addition to continuing programs such as ECEAP and Early Head Start.

Hoban has a heart for people, not just at Tulalip, but all those she interacts with. She is humble about the work she accomplished, never seeking credit or glory, and always looking for what we can work towards next. Even at her retirement celebration, a day meant to honor her career, she spoke with humility.

In her closing remarks, Hoban said, “We are all here to pay it forward. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Helping to advance our community in whatever way we can has always been the focus of my career. I learned to be resilient from the people at Tulalip, who never quit no matter what their circumstance is. It is that tenacity we share that make these programs possible and successful.”

Oglala Sioux Tribe Endorses Teach For America

Tribal Council Passes Resolution in Support of Organization’s Efforts to Expand Educational Opportunity for Native Students in South Dakota

Source: Teach For America

PINE RIDGE, S.D., September 3, 2013—The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council passed a resolution announcing its formal support of Teach For America-South Dakota corps members and alumni in their efforts to advance Native student achievement in the state.

Teach For America recruits, trains, and develops recent graduates and professionals to teach in urban and rural public schools, including some that are tribally operated under grant or contract with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and some that are BIE-operated. During the 2012-13 school year, 510 Teach For America corps members taught in Nativecommunities in South Dakota, Hawaii, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council resolution states in part:

Oglala Sioux Tribal Council supports Teach For America corps members and alumni in their efforts to build a truly effective movement through building local partnerships with students, families, local educators and with other organizations to eliminate educational inequity thus bridging the opportunity gap.

The resolution cites rigorous research studies that demonstrate Teach For America corps members have a positive impact on student achievement. Additionally, it recognizes the organization’s effort to strengthen its culturally responsive teaching training to better fit the needs of Native students.

The resolution also encourages other tribal governments and school districts serving American Indian students to strengthen their partnership with Teach For America.

“We are proud to support Teach For America as an ally in the critical effort to help Native students realize their full potential through excellent educational opportunities,” said council representative Kevin Yellow Bird-Steel. “The students in Pine Ridge classrooms right now will be the future tribal, state, and national leaders.”

Teach For America−South Dakota has been partnering with schools on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations since 2004. This year, more than 40 new Teach For America teachers will be teaching in reservation schools on Pine Ridge, Rosebud and for the first time Standing Rock and Lower Brule.

“We want the work of our corps members to be directly aligned with the visions and goals of the tribes, communities and families with whom we partner,” said Jim Curran, Teach For America− South Dakota executive director. “It means a lot to have formal support from the Oglala Nation.”

In 2010, Teach For America launched its Native Alliance Initiative to provide an additional source of effective teachers in Native communities and advance student achievement in Native schools.

“Education in Native schools is about the community. Teach For America is incredibly grateful for this support from the Oglala Sioux Tribal Government,” said Robert Cook, managing director of the Native Alliance Initiative and enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “This partnership will allow our corps members and alumni to have a more meaningful impact with students.  It is a symbol of the alliance needed to help all students reach their full potential.”

About Oglala Sioux Tribe

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border. Today it consists of 3,468.86 sq mi (8,984.306 km2) of land area and is the eighth-largest reservation in the United States, larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals of all academic disciplines to commit two years to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. This fall, 11,000 corps members will teach in 48 urban and rural regions across the country, while 32,000 alumni will work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter.

First Nations Development Institute Receives $100,000 from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to Bolster the Financial Literacy of Native American Youth

Red Lake Nation News

LONGMONT, Colorado (August 12, 2013) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced it has received a grant of $100,000 from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation of Seattle, Washington, to bolster the financial literacy of Native American high school students.

The two-year project will empower up to 75 Native American high school students and their families in Portland, Oregon, by providing culturally appropriate financial education that combines classroom and experiential learning to result in behavioral changes positively affecting management of financial assets. Youth Savings Accounts (YSAs) will be used to help youth to build assets and learn the savings habit, while introducing them to the use of mainstream financial services. First Nations will undertake the project in partnership with the Native American Youth Family Center (NAYA) in Portland.

Activities will include teaching the “Life on Your Terms” course to the students and taking a field trip to a participating bank or credit union to sign up for a YSA account. Those who complete the course with a passing grade will be entered into a drawing to earn an additional $100 to deposit into their account. The students also will participate in a financial simulation fair called “Crazy Cash City” that will help them put the lessons learned in class into practice through experiential learning. By the end of the grant period, an online teacher’s guide for the process will be completed and then made available nationally to teachers of Native American students.

Financial and investor education is one of the five focus areas of First Nations. First Nations and its independent subsidiary – First Nations Oweesta Corporation (a community development financial institution) – work in partnership with Native American tribes and communities throughout the U.S. to assist them in designing and administering financial and investor education programs. These projects range from helping individuals and families understand the basics of financial management – opening and maintaining a bank account and using credit wisely – to helping individuals understand financial markets and a variety of financial instruments for borrowing and saving. The programs result in increased investment levels and economic growth in Native communities.

About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 30 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

About the Native American Youth Family Center

The Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, Oregon, works to enrich the lives of Native youth and families through education, community involvement, and culturally specific programming. It has provided educational services, cultural arts programming, and direct support to reduce poverty in the Portland metropolitan area’s American Indian and Alaska Native community for over 30 years. Learn more at www.nayapdx.org.

About The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the foundation has awarded over $469 million to more than 1,400 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The foundation’s funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, go to www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.