• Community
  • LTFS
Partnership Highlight: Red Road Project

PSESD is proud to partner for a second year in a row with the Boeing Foundation to support the Red Road Project, a culturally infused STEM program led by Native American educators to engage and inspire 400 K-12 Native American students in four Pierce County school districts: Franklin Pierce, Peninsula, Sumner-Bonney-Lake and University.

Program staff, working with the Washington State MESA program, are merging STEM ideas and concepts with Native American culture to create lessons around topics like the life cycle of a salmon and traditional foods of Indigenous people. Some lessons focus on environmental issues, recycling, and other ways to protect our waterways. Staff used math and geometric shapes to do share beading and Navajo rug weaving designs; students learned about the cultural and environmental changes of the sacred Celilo Falls salmon fishing area on the Columbia River before and after the building of a hydro-electric dam; and students listened to Native storytelling connected to astronomy and the way stars are in the sky.

“Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have used science and technology to survive, to adapt, to create, and to thrive,” said Puget Sound Educational Service District NAEP Manager, Jason LaFontaine (Turtle Mountain Chippewa). “We want to show our Native youth that not only were our ancestors great at STEM and there are still lessons to learn from them, but also, we still are using STEM to survive and will continue in the future.”

There are many positive outcomes with this project, including students’ increased interest and knowledge in STEM with the understandings of the way traditional Native cultures used STEM to fish, hunt, move villages for seasons, grow food as well as make students aware of jobs in the STEM-field, both within and outside of our Indian community. Surveys show 82% of the respondents believed Native ancestors used STEM concepts to survive, with 74% seeing STEM as part of tribal jobs today — including tribal health clinics, environmental jobs like biologists, and various jobs at the tribal offices and casinos. Over the course of the year, staff saw Native students become engaged and excited to see the different ways STEM could be used and learned. From experimenting and using teamwork with robotics, to learning how traditional ways were based on STEM concepts, to learning the importance of salmon and how STEM is being used to protect their future, to seeing how tribes have jobs they can come back to and work for after their post-secondary education.
To learn more about PSESD’s work supporting Native students and families, contact NAEP Manager, Jason LaFontaine, at jlafontaine@psesd.org.


Image of Seattle skyline with PSESD logo

The Puget Sound College & Career Network at PSESD was selected as the King County Promise System Supporting Organization. King County Promise is a bold, public-private partnership to increase equity in college access and success for historically underserved students in King County. The goals of King County Promise and the role of the System Supporting Organization closely align to PSESD’s End: Success for Each Child and Eliminate the Opportunity Gap by Leading with Racial Equity.

Read More about PSESD to Serve as the System Supporting Organization for King County Promise
Four outlines of hands in multiple colors

The Puget Sound College & Career Network, the Community Center for Educational Results, and Highline College have released a new report, Inequity by Design: How College Placement Policies Perpetuate Institutional Racism. The report is the culmination of a multi-year, three-study series exploration into the enrollment and placement policies of community and technical colleges in the Road Map Project region and the subsequent impacts on high school graduates seeking to enter those institutions.

Read More about Road Map Project Partners Release Report Highlighting Racial Inequities in College Placement and Assessment
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools 2021 Award Winner logo

Congratulations to Anderson Island Elementary School of Steilacoom Historical School District No.1 for their selection as a Green Ribbon School honoree! Anderson Island Elementary School’s garden and outdoor classroom created valuable opportunities for students to continue their learning in a sustainable way.

Read More about Congratulations to Anderson Island Elementary School of Steilacoom Historical School District No.1
Image from OSPI of a George Floyd memorial painting

OLYMPIA — April 20, 2021The verdict today was the right and just response to George Floyd’s murder, and it is progress. But the work doesn’t end here. Our children are watching, and we owe it to them to be fully committed to equity and justice every day.

Read More about OSPI Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s Statement on the Guilty Verdicts in the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial
Multilingual Learners Network text with circle of hands holding one another

The Multilingual Learners (MLL) Network is now accepting applications for our 2021–2022 school cohort. The MLL Network was developed to support regional shifts in mindsets, culture and practices to foster school environments which value the identity, culture and language of multilingual students and lead to more equitable conditions and outcomes for multilingual learners

Read More about Creating Schools Where Multilingual Students Thrive