- Press Releases
Puget Sound Educational Service District’s Native American Education Program (NAEP) is the proud recipient of a second straight Boeing STEM grant for $75,000. The Red Road Project, a culturally-infused STEM curriculum led by Native American educators, will reach 400 K-12 Native American students in four Pierce County, Washington school districts.
The largest local grant from Boeing went to the PSESD and will be used to engage and inspire over 400 Native American youth in Franklin Pierce, Peninsula, Sumner-Bonney Lake, and University Place school districts in the South Puget Sound region of Washington state. Program staff, who are all enrolled tribal members, merge STEM ideas and concepts with Native American culture to share lessons around topics like the life cycle of salmon, traditional foods of Indigenous people, and modern STEM with hands-on activities, even sharing their work at district-wide STEM fairs.
Partnering and supporting staff in the grant work will be Washington Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA). MESA is a national program recognized for its innovative and effective academic development with a focus on increasing representation in the STEM workforce for students from diverse cultural backgrounds.
“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). “The focus of the Boeing STEM grant is to show Native youth how their cultural ways of knowing and their future can be seen through the lens of science, technology, engineering and math.”
“We recognize the toll on Native American and Indigenous communities from centuries of injustice, and we take seriously our role in supporting education and development in these communities,” said Marc Allen, Boeing’s chief strategy officer, senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development and enterprise executive sponsor of the Boeing Native American Network. “Today’s exciting announcement continues our longstanding efforts to lift up equity and opportunity in the communities where our employees live and work.”
Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) is one of nine regional educational agencies serving school districts and state approved charter and private schools in Washington. Educational Service Districts, created by the legislature, are an essential regional delivery system for early learning and K-postsecondary services in the state.
PSESD strives to improve the quality, equity, and efficiency of educational programs through partnerships with K-12 education, early learning, higher education, and public and private organizations.