Native Americans and Rocketry1
We are not the highest scoring school in the district, but we are not the lowest either. We have a lot of students who come to us not really ready for school. Their language skills are very low, and we have a high percentage of students who qualify for special education help. This is not uncommon with schools that have similar populations. We have a good number of students who come from poverty, from homes where there is abuse of some sort (chemical, physical, verbal, sexual), and from single-parent homes. These things combine to provide some interesting challenges. The Aiming for the Stars unit of study has all of the components that I look for in a unit: high interest, solid mathematics, a possibility to integrate other curriculum areas, and the ability to pose a challenge to a large range of student abilities.
Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary School is a suburban school of approximately 550 students in grades K-5 located on the Tulalip Indian Reservation in Northwestern Washington State. Tulalip is historically the original name of the tribe that lived on these lands, and the tribe exists to this day, although in smaller numbers. Like most other Pacific Northwest tribes, Tulalip tribe got its food from the Puget Sound and the abundant forests that lined its shore. The tribe used dugout canoes that were many feet in length (20 or more feet) for hunting and fishing. They continue to fish as a large part of their income, but they have also turned to managing casinos, restaurants, and nightclubs, using these funds to support the education of their children. In 2011, they invested in the merger of Quil Ceda Elementary and Tulalip Elementary to form Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary school. To document and preserve their heritage, they also constructed the Tulalip Tribes Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History facility.
Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary is a member of the Marysville School District in Marysville, Washington, located approximately 30 miles north of Seattle. It is a public school that serves a tribal population as well as Hispanics, whites, and other mixed races. All of the students from the tribe speak English. Their traditional language has nearly died out, and, although there have been some attempts to bring it back, it is not a widely spoken language. The school’s population is derived from the neighborhood with approximately 50% of its students qualifying for free or reduced- price lunches. The staff works hard to be certain that each student is successful. At the time of the writing of this profile, Tim Granger was a fifth-grade teacher at Quil Ceda Elementary School where 25% of his students were Native Americans.