A year ago, when schools switched to online learning due to Covid-19, the PSESD Native American Education Program (and all other Title VI Indian Education programs) also had to shift in how to deliver support to the students it serves. The primary focus of the program is direct service student support in school buildings, family night events and classroom presentations — and that suddenly was cut off.

Our PSESD NAEP staff wanted to continue to provide cultural support and show the students in the program that we were still out there and thinking about them. The program serves over 550 Native students in four Pierce County school districts, and one thing we didn’t want to do was overwhelm them and add more stress to an already unprecedented time in their lives.

The way our program moved forward to meet this challenge was to utilize multiple ways of communication and check-ins with students and parents.
For the past year, our program has:

  • Created and taught virtual cultural lessons, inviting students to Zoom or Google Meet with us during lunch, after school or during asynchronous learning days.
  • Built pages on each district’s learning management system — posting lessons, YouTube videos, personal videos and written posts asking a question or sharing some information.   
  • Put together “cultural care packages” to mail to families and students lessons, books, activities, crafts, small honorings and personal notes on postcards with Native art on them.
  • Held virtual family nights on Zoom with virtual games on Kahoot, guest storytellers and artists.
  • Emailed families to keep them updated about what was going on, virtual events in Indian Country, and college and scholarship information for those with high school students.

It hasn’t been perfect. It’s not the same as the direct service, where relationship building happens each year between students and staff. And it is hard to read emails from students saying they are not really doing much and are bored. However, we have worked hard to continue to keep that line of communication open and show students and families that we see them, support them and look forward to being in the school again when possible.  


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