Partners in education, building community

 “I heard three different kids say, ‘man those guys were fun’ when talking about the police officers. They didn’t come here to be scary, they came here to be community members supporting our kids and our students took notice of that.”- Chrissy Dulik Dalos, Manager, Marysville School District Indian Education Department
“I heard three different kids say, ‘man those guys were fun’ when talking about the police officers. They didn’t come here to be scary, they came here to be community members supporting our kids and our students took notice of that.”
– Chrissy Dulik Dalos, Manager, Marysville School District Indian Education Department


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

There is a saying at Totem Middle School, PRIDE in our Learning and POWER in our Actions. Normally a saying applied to only the students and faculty, it took a much larger scale on Thursday, March 17, as it was applied to a sense of community.

During the normal scheduled 6th, 7th, and 8th grade lunch times, Totem Middle School welcomed all family and community members of Native students to enjoy a complimentary lunch while visiting with the middle-schoolers. It provided a perfect opportunity to stay connected with students, faculty, and friends while building something much larger – student success and identity safety.

“Part of identity safety is looking around the school and seeing people who look like you, knowing those around you, and feeling comfortable in a familiar setting,” says Chrissy Dulik Dalos, manager of the Indian Education Department for Marysville School District. “Our Native students go from being 80 percent of the population at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary to 20 percent here at Totem Middle School. We have to be vigilant that our Native students feel they are in an identity safe environment and one way of doing that is to ensure they recognize how important they are to our school’s community.”




Fostering a sense of community while also helping to bolster identity safety was particularly achieved by way of a simple open invite to have lunch. In order to get community members who Native students are comfortable with at their school and responsive to the invite, school officials went with the lunch hour. Understanding that a lot of folks are preoccupied in the late afternoon and evening hours, and not to pry into hours that may already be reserved, the time slot of 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. was chosen.

“We chose the lunch strategy to see if we could get more people involved,” continued Chrissy. “I think it paid off. We ended up with about 65 people that joined our students for lunch. That’s pretty phenomenal.”

That’s 65 Tulalip community members made up of family, friends, staff, Board of Directors, and law enforcements officers who took time out of their busy day to connect with the students. Spanning the lunch time, community members could be seen sharing a meal with the students, playing pool and foosball with them, simply chit-chatting, and even sharing in the craze that is March Madness. Students are allowed to use their Chomebooks for entertainment during their lunch. A few of the students managed to stream March Madness games and found themselves sharing their computer screens with several very attentive adults.

“For me, as an administrator, I have a strong belief that school is the center of the community, and this school has a unique location serving unique populations from Marysville and Tulalip,” explains Tarra Patrick, Principal of Totem. “So how do we create a situation where it is reconnected to the community? There is a power in breaking bread together. If you are a student here and you see your family come in and you see the principal and teachers deferring to your family, then you realize your family can come and advocate for you. This is an opportunity for the kids to also see the bridge between the school faculty, the students and their families, that’s what makes us a community.”

It really does all add up. Whether openly acknowledged or not, the Native students of Totem saw how many of their family and community members took the opportunity to spend time with them. And isn’t that what kids need the most? To feel valued by the adults around them, to know that they are important and that they matter. It’s not the sound of our words, but the POWER in our Actions that determines this.

We are all partners in education. From the teachers, secretaries, food preparers, maintenance workers, to family and friends we all have one common goal and that’s to see our students succeed. When we work together, every child can succeed in school.

Principal Tarra upholds that we all play a vital role in the success of our children and students as she stated, “It’s going to take the entire community together to support all of our students in order to help them be successful. That’s what today was about. It was just community, in this building, and it was absolutely beautiful.”



Contact Micheal Rios:

Totem Middle School lock down lifted

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

MARYSVILLE – Totem Middle School was placed on lock down after police searching for a suspect on foot was last seen near the school area. The Marysville School District website stated the lock down was due to police activity near the area and not regarding any student activity on campus.

Students were not believed to be in any immediate danger and the lock down was a result of precautionary measures. Parents were not allowed to enter the school or pick up students during the lock down.

The Marysville Police lifted the lock down approximately at 2:08 p.m and school resumed normal operations.



Cinco de Mayo Community Celebration

Friday, May 2, 2014 6-8:30 pm
Totem Middle School Cafeteria, 1605 7th St. Marysville


Come celebrate Latino culture and the rich diversity of our Community in an evening of food, music, dancing and fun for all ages – FREE!

Our planning for the eighth annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration is almost complete and the event should be FUN-tastic with something of interest for all ages. It will be Friday, May 2 from 6- 8:30 PM in the Totem Middle School cafeteria and gymnasium. All Marysville and Tulalip community members are invited to participate. Dr. Becky Berg and Mayor Jon Nehring will give opening remarks.

The free event will include Mexican food, music, dancing, and activities. The food will be prepared by the Marysville School District food service students in the School House Café program. Music and entertainment will be provided by the local band, Arrecife Norteño, and other local groups. Several activities will be geared specifically toward children, such as playing soccer and other games, breaking piñatas, and exploring police and fire vehicles. Again this year, Molina Healthcare will bring a stationary bike that guests may pedal to make frozen non- alcoholic drinks; it was a huge hit last year. Dr. Cleo, their mascot, will also be at the event again this year.

Thanks to several generous donors we have received enough funding so we can offer it as a free event again this year. Monetary donations have been received from Marysville Rotary, Marysville YMCA, Molina Healthcare, Marysville Free Methodist Church, and Marysville Ford. In-kind and volunteer support has also been instrumental in making this event happen; it has been received from the Marysville School District, Molina Healthcare, Marysville Printing, Belmark Homes, Arrecife Norteño band, Sea Mar Community Health Center, and various student groups.

This community effort has been lead by Marjorie Serge, with support from Jim Strickland, Victor Rodriguez, Susan Stachowiak, Wendy Messarina Volosin, Anastasia Garcia, Rhonda Mohen and others.

Questions in English should be directed to Marjorie Serge at 425-350-2064 or Questions in Spanish should be directed to the school district’s information line 360-657-0250.

Cinco de Mayo flyer 2014

Cinco de Mayo flyer 2014 SPANISH

Marysville students learn culinary skills at School House Cafe


By Kirk Boxleitner, Marysville Globe

MARYSVILLE — The School House Cafe at Totem Middle School has undergone a few changes this year, as former Seattle chef Jeff Delma makes his way through his seventh year of coordinating the student cooks in the kitchen.

“We’ve got a new paint job and a new look, but we’re not done touching it up just yet,” said Delma, who credited Brian Murrill as one of the key contributors to the student-run restaurant’s mid-school year renovations.

“It’s made the School House Cafe a nicer place to eat at,” said Ariel Williams, a senior at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, who hopes to pursue cooking as a career.

“It has been looking a little worn down,” said Natalie Vinson, a senior at the Marysville Getchell High School Bio-Med Academy, who also comes from a family of cooks, but is more interested in cooking as a hobby.

“We already offer gourmet food from high school students,” said fellow Bio-Med Academy senior Ian Wahlgren, who enrolled in the program because “I want to learn how to cook so I can live on my own.”

Regular patrons will also notice a new menu at the School House Cafe, complete with its own blend of coffee. Vista Clara Coffee of Snohomish has created the “Caffe’ Diem” blend for the local student-run restaurant, offering what Delma described as a “deep, dark and beautiful” flavor. Likewise, while familiar favorites such as the house-smoked barbecue pulled-pork sandwich, paninis, and fish and chips are still available, they’ve been joined this year by new selections such as the spicy shrimp wrap, which bundles crispy shrimp, lettuce, tomato and spicy mayo in a flour tortilla.

While Wahlgren rates the spicy shrimp wrap as his own first choice to order, Williams is more partial to shepherd’s pie, and Vinson prefers the simplicity of the School House Cafe’s salads.

“I would come here on my own time even if I wasn’t working here, because the food is just that good,” Vinson said.

“Plus, the people are as friendly as they can be,” Williams said. “We’ve all made new friends here.”

Indeed, even though many students go to different schools, or different Small Learning Communities, they all agreed that their close-knit working relationships at the School House Cafe remind them that they’re all part of the same Marysville school community.

“It doesn’t feel like coming to class when you come here,” Wahlgren said.

Which is not to say that culinary education isn’t emphasized during students’ hands-on experiences at the School House Cafe, since Delma has also been throwing middle school students into the mix.

“They’re only here for relatively short periods, but it gives them a taste of what it’s like, and increases their awareness,” Delma said. “We don’t want incoming high school freshmen to get lost in the shuffle.”

The School House Cafe has even started incorporating a new culinary curriculum from ProStart into its lessons, by focusing on industry specific-skills training, and working with the Washington Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association.

“This connection offers our program a direct pipeline to hundreds of professionals, who are available for mentor relationships, career and education advice, as well as professional, hands-on guest instruction,” said Donneta Spath, the Marysville School District’s Career and Technical Education Director. “This partnership will also allow Chef Delma to share ideas, information and teaching strategies with hundreds of schools across the country, via online forums and databases.”

As valuable as these programs and benefits are to the students and the community overall, perhaps the most important aspect of the School House Cafe to its customers is how well it serves them as a local restaurant.

“I used to come here all the time,” said Betty Berger, whose workplace was previously located adjacent to the School House Cafe. “They were so very nice to me. When I had a leg injury, they even brought my meals to me. It’s been years since I came here regularly, but with as good as the food is, I’ll be bringing my girlfriends back with me tomorrow.”

The School House Cafe is located at 1605 Seventh Street, on the south side of Totem Middle School, and is open from 12:15-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. Senior citizens are encouraged to ask for a 10 percent discount. For more information, call 360-653-0639.

To place an order for “Caffe’ Diem” coffee — either whole bean, ground or decaf — contact Wendy Hodgins by phone at 360-657-0982 or via email at


Marysville students out perform the nation’s priority schools

Members of the NEA and WEA present banners and library checks at Tulalip Quil Ceda Elementary.
Members of the NEA and WEA present banners and library checks at Tulalip Quil Ceda Elementary.
Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News


NEA recognizes Marysville schools’ turnaround


Article and photos by Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Tulalip − American Education Week began Monday, November 18th, with visits to Totem Middle School and Tulalip Quil Ceda Elementary school by the National Education Association (NEA) and Washington Education Association (WEA). Both campuses, earmarked as priority schools, exemplify a joint commitment of students and teachers to academic achievement. The incredible turn around embodies the intent of the School Improvement Grant (SIG grant) they received as schools in need. A change in national perspective led to the development of the grant which catalyzed the positive turn around at these schools.

“Because of previous legislation, schools that needed assistance were labeled failing,” said Kim Mead of the WEA, referring to No Child Left Behind, which decreased funding to schools that did not meet state and national standards. “We changed our perspective, failing schools came to be seen as priority schools.”

In the last five years, 97 Washington schools were considered failing and had their funding cut. With the new perspective of those schools as a priority, the US Department of Education created the SIG grant in 2010, providing three-year funding to schools on the national priority list. 28 schools were awarded grant funding of the 60 eligible schools in Washington state that applied.

The SIG grant is conditional funding, giving four plan options to bring schools up to standard. These options are closure and transfer students to high achieving schools, turnaround by reorganizing currents school curriculum and staff, transformation through a change in leadership and instruction, and restart which would convert public schools to charter schools, which were illegal in Washington state until 2012. Of the 28 Washington priority schools awarded grants, now specified as SIG schools, 1 school closed, 23 selected transformation, and 4 opted for the turnaround, including Totem, and Tulalip Quil Ceda.

Led by the teachers, these schools developed their staff and curriculum to change the professional practices in their schools. Through the SIG funding, Totem purchased laptops for each grade in order to assess individual understanding of course materials. They developed a home visit program so that teachers have the necessary skills to bring school needs into the home, while addressing home issues, not as a means lower standards or make accommodations, but to understand how to balance the school work with home life. The most prominent demonstration of home life coming to school is the morning assembly at Tulalip Quil Ceda, which incorporates traditional values into the school day. The NEA observed the assembly during their visit.

“I chose Washington to kick off American Education Week,” said Dennis Van Rockel, NEA president. “I hear so much about Washington, what you all are doing here, and I’m glad to be able to come and see it first hand.”

Programs in these SIG schools that see drastic positive improvement are leeching out into other schools throughout MarysvilleSchool District.

“This is important as we get ready to roll out the Common Core curriculum, which is the national standard equivalent,” said Tulalip Quil Ceda teacher, George Camper.

2013 marks the final year of the SIG grant funding, which means the priority schools were evaluated nationwide. Totem and Tulalip Quil Ceda not only outperformed all others in the state, they outperformed the nation’s priority schools. In recognition of their achievement, each of their libraries were given $500, and each school was given a banner acknowledging their accomplishment.

The nation is now looking to Washington as an example for the work Totem, and Tulalip Quil Ceda schools have done. They have set a standard for priority schools nationwide, which is described in a packet titled ‘Improving Student Achievement in High-Poverty Schools: Lessons from Washington State,’ that outlines how these schools successfully turned around from persistently low achieving to high achieving.

Marysville students return to school

Kirk Boxleitner, The Marysville Globe
MARYSVILLE — No matter how many years of first days of school students, parents and teachers have experienced before, it can still be an adjustment, as families found at both Marysville Middle School and Liberty Elementary this year.“It’s all new stuff,” laughed Angela Courier, as she and her husband Richard got their daughter Kailye checked into sixth grade at Marysville Middle School on Wednesday, Sept. 4. “It’s completely different from elementary school. There’s all different school supplies. You need to make sure you’ve got your information together beforehand.”While fellow moms such as Meridith Rosevelt reviewed their own children’s paperwork in the packed main office of Marysville Middle School, Rosemarie Running Water of Tulalip filled out forms to transfer her daughter, Maeliha Matta, to Totem Middle School to be with her friends.

For at least two families at Liberty Elementary, barely more than a block west of Marysville Middle School, this year marked a particularly unique transition.

Art Noriel Castillo entered fifth grade at Liberty Elementary this year, but his father, Arturo Castillo, had to show up early to complete all his paperwork since they just recently moved to the area from Saipan.

“We came here because the schools here are very good,” said Arturo Castillo, as Art Noriel Castillo deemed math his favorite subject.

Monika Little has taught second grade at Liberty Elementary for 19 years, while her husband Richard has taught fourth- and fifth-grade classes at Liberty for 16 years, but this year marked their daughter Maya’s entry into first grade at the school.

“This school already has such a community feel for us,” Monika Little said. “The only difference now is, at various school functions, we’ll be doing double-duty as parents and teachers.”

“We’ve really embraced the culture of this school,” Richard Little said. “What better way to do so than to bring our daughter here?”

Maya Little confidently asserted that she had “no worries” about starting first grade, and like Art Noriel Castillo, she looked forward to studying math in class.

Since the first day of school was the same day for elementary schools and middle schools in Marysville this year, Tammy Hildebrand had already dropped off one child at middle school that morning before introducing her daughter to her second-grade teacher and her son to his fifth-grade teacher at Liberty Elementary barely an hour later.

“I’ve had lots of coffee today,” Hildebrand laughed.

“I still get excited jitters on the first day of school, and I’ve been through 10 principals here,” laughed Karen Wright, a third-grade teacher who’s been at Liberty Elementary since 1984. “I was one of the younger teachers here when I started out, and I stayed here because I love this school and I love our families. I’ve got second-generation students now, whose parents were children in my class, and they’ve heard all the stories. Even the high school kids will come back and remember the places where they sat in my room.”

While third-graders don’t have nearly the amount of nervousness that younger kids do about the first day, Wright still needs to guide them back into the groove of studying, as they’re united with friends they might not have seen all summer long. Wright herself spent her summer studying the Common Core State Standards and acquiring new texts for her students.

“The curriculum has gotten more challenging over the years, and the expectations of state testing are more demanding now, but the kids are basically the same as they’ve always been,” said Wright, who praised the support of her fellow teachers and school staff members. “The kids are just great. I never wanted to become a principal, because being a teacher here is just great. Except for one year in England, I’ve taught in Marysville my whole career, and of those years, I’ve taught at Liberty for all but my first year, when I was at Shoultes. I love it here.”

For Liberty Elementary first-grade teacher Karen Robinson, this year served as a first day of school in more ways than one, since it was also her first day of teaching a class of her own.

“I was a substitute teacher for three years before this,” said Robinson, who credited her own fourth-grade teacher with inspiring her to enter education. “I thought she was so cool, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up.”

Robinson’s biggest challenge in preparing her own classroom was figuring out how it should be laid out, since she was accustomed to coming in as a substitute and working within other teachers’ setups for their classrooms.

“In the end, I went with openness,” Robinson said. “I wanted to be able to see all the kids, and to see them learning.”

While Lucas Walker, one of Robinson’s first-grade students, had already attended Liberty Elementary for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, his first day was still a bit difficult for his mom.

“I let him walk to school by himself, because he’s a big boy now,” Shelly Walker said. “It’s sad that he’s growing up so fast. He’s not my baby anymore.”

Watch the slideshow here:

Touch-A-Truck coming Sept. 14

The City of Marysville invites you to Touch-A-Truck on Saturday, Sept. 14, an event that puts your kids in the driver’s seat of Marysville’s biggest heavy-duty rigs. Honk the horns, set off sirens, kick the tires on a variety of big rigs – dump trucks, backhoe, vactor truck, police vehicles, street sweeper, Marysville Fire District fire engines, garbage trucks, an aid car and more. Come join the fun!

Marysville Noon Rotary Club will offer special activities for kids, and Marysville Kiwanis will have tasty treats for sale.

For more information please call (360) 363-8400. Please bring a donation for the Marysville Food Bank. No pets, please.


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