The Muckleshoot Tribal School is a comprehensive Tribally-Controlled School that works in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and the State of Washington as a Tribal Compact School to serve the needs of the students and Muckleshoot Community. Muckleshoot Tribal School (MTS) provides grade level instruction for nearly 600 Native American students in grades K-12, focusing on Common Core Standards while infusing Muckleshoot Tribal culture, language, practices and history.
The MTS core curriculum focuses on language arts, mathematics, science and social studies in addition to a variety of elective and supplementary programs. All elementary students receive integrated bəqəlšułucid instruction provided by both the Muckleshoot Culture and Language Department through Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and in-house certificated teaching staff. High School students must complete two years of Muckleshoot Language or another foreign language in order to graduate.
Focusing on student’s interests and passions to help guide their academic choices is a cornerstone of our program, offering elective programs in middle and high school, based on student interests and staff expertise. Options range from performing arts to sports medicine.
MTS continually selects and refines all curricular options in order to provide access to grade level standards as well as culturally relevant and responsive materials. The criteria for selection of core instructional materials is based upon the degree to which they support student’s differing learning needs and provide sufficient flexibility to integrate Muckleshoot and/or other Indigenous People’s history, government, culture and traditional teachings when appropriate.
Muckleshoot Tribal Schools utilizes the following curriculums and programs with fidelity:
MTS provides, as a resource, supports in the following programs and curriculums:
Core Instructional Materials are the primary instructional resources for a given course. They are approved by the Tribal School Commission and provided to all students to help meet learning standards and provide instruction towards course requirements.
Alternative Core Materials are the primary instructional materials for a given course that are used with a subset of students. These materials are intended to replace approved core materials and may be used for specialized course offerings or flexible learning environments. Intervention Materials are designed to support strategic or intensive intervention for students who are at risk of not meeting established learning standards. Intervention materials are used with students to accelerate progress toward particular learning goals based on systematic assessment, decision-making, and progress monitoring.
All elementary students are supported with language and culture instruction and integrations. Our Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students have MIT and in-house bəqəlšułucid teachers join in their regular programming once a week for nearly three hours. The instructors follow a modified immersion program and follow the students between classes, so that a variety of subject matter is covered. All teachers work to integrate bəqəlšułucid and many have attended or currently attend virtual classes offered by MIT to improve their own skill in the language. In addition to bəqəlšułucid, our secondary students have the option of taking Spanish as a World Language.
MTS students’ cultural knowledge and skill-craft are supported through a full commitment to the Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State curriculum. The Muckleshoot Tribal Education Office’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction provides further access to Tribal Sovereignty knowledge through the siʔiʔab gʷədᶻadad curriculum. Teachers are trained and receive additional professional learning throughout the course of the year with the expectation that siʔiʔab gʷədᶻadad is implemented and integrated in every classroom.
To further the connection to culture, the Plant Teachings for Growing Social and Emotional Skills is taught at least three times a week during either morning meeting (elementary) or Advisory (secondary). These teachings focus on the lessons from traditional plant relatives and are interwoven throughout the entire school climate and culture. At least once a month, all students and families have the opportunity to participate in haytxʷ ʔəsq̓ʷuʔ. These days are dedicated to cultural experiences for both the student and the parent/guardian.
Dolly Fernandes, the Director of Student Support Services, oversees all student support services programming from birth to adults in a commitment to provide equitable access for students who require either specially designed instruction or accommodations. At the local level, Dr. Ashley Waggle oversees MTS-specific programming including 504 plans, Gifted & Talented programming, Individualized Education Plans, and compliance. A requisition for a dedicated Gifted & Talented teacher is in the process of being approved.
The Muckleshoot Tribal School believes that every student should be provided with a safe, culturally-centered, inclusive, and supportive environment. Working with school counselors, college and career readiness team, attendance and truancy team, mental health professionals, Tribal members, the Tribal Education Office, and other stakeholders, MTS has developed a comprehensive counseling program which meets and often exceeds the American School Counselor Association recommendations.
The MTS Comprehensive Counseling Program will include four key components: Individual Student Planning, Responsive Services, Core Curriculum, and Indirect Services.
MTS provides breakfast, lunch, snacks and occasionally evening meals for all students and staff team members. Each Thursday, students and staff are provided with meals that represent traditional foods of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. On an average day the kitchen serves between 1000 -1500 meals. In addition to providing healthy meals, MTS students receive standards-based instruction in accordance with the Washington State Health and Physical Education Standards, with an additional emphasis on food sovereignty.
Muckleshoot Tribal School’s Athletic Department is committed to using the education based athletics offered to support the schools mission as a whole to ensure those high levels of learning continue through our programs. At the high school level, we offer the following sports: Cross Country, Football, Girls Soccer, Volleyball, Boys and Girls Basketball, Boys and Girls Wrestling, Baseball, Softball, and Track and Field. At the middle school level, we offer: Cross Country, Coed Soccer, Volleyball, Boys and Girls Basketball, Boys and Girls Wrestling, and Track and Field.
Muckleshoot Tribal Schools employs a robust security team that is fully trained not only in best practices in the field of safety, but also in restorative practices that are culturally responsive. The campus is secured with cameras, monitored entries/exits, keycard-enabled exterior doors, as well as fencing around the entire perimeter of the premises. The security team collaborates with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and the King County Sheriff on a regular basis to maintain and uphold the highest security standards. All cameras were recently reconfigured and updated with a security specialist to adhere to the highest safety standards. Cigarette smoke and “vape” detectors are to be installed on the MTS campus in strategic areas in the near future.
The MTS Safety Team, spearheaded by Principal Wyand, meets regularly. The team meets to ensure all required and recommended drills are scheduled and performed with fidelity. These drills include fire drills, shelter in place drills, active shooter awareness, and more. The team provides professional development to all staff surrounding safety, and installed red safety backpacks in each classroom. The Safety Team, comprised of security, administration, and other staff team members, also meets in advance of large events, such as Community Day or Culture Night, to organize preventative measures as well as prepare for response.
The Muckleshoot Tribal School is a state-of-the-art campus that all staff and students take pride in using. Recent updates include exterior painting of all buildings, including pressure washing and sealing the breezeways. A 40 gallon tilting brazier in the school kitchen to diversify cooking capabilities. A 100-gallon steam jacket kettle was added to the kitchen as well to increase productivity. A mobile fish hatchery has been installed on the campus for science programs to utilize.
All Chromebook carts have been increased to hold 26 laptops each in order to accommodate increased enrollment. Additional Chromebooks for the student body have been purchased for students to utilize during inclement weather or other closures.
In accordance with the Tribal Truancy Ordinance, schooling is compulsory for children and young people aged from 6-17 years, unless an exemption from attendance or enrollment has been granted. The Tribal School employs Parent Liaisons, Attendance Mentors, a Reengagement Coordinator, along with numerous support staff working with the community, Department of Education and the Tribal Court to improve student attendance and academic success.
The MTS Attendance Team meets regularly to collaborate and formulate attendance initiatives that mitigate future lost learning. Some initiatives include popcorn prizes, assemblies, and Kings Cash.
The MTS Attendance Team tracks all contact with families/students, and have already logged over 1500 contacts in the 2022-2023 school year. The nature of the contacts can be phone calls, home visits, or connections with outside agencies for support.
Muckleshoot Tribal School believes that every student should have the opportunity to learn and excel. Each trimester during the 2022-2023 School Year, teachers will be sharing out the major areas of focus for learning. These teachings are not the only work students will participate in this year. They will, however, serve as a focal point for the essential learnings that students must have the opportunity to master.
In addition to a focus on essential standards, the CCAP Team (Curriculum, Coaching, Assessment, and Professional Development) offers weekly opportunities for teachers and other staff members to hone their teaching craft at Teaching Institute. The Instructional Coaches provide non-evaluative partnerships to plan and co-teach utilizing essential standards to all teachers, regardless of experience and effectiveness. Professional Development time is focused on trauma-informed practices, student access to grade level standards, and training on essential curriculums.
The assessments administered at Muckleshoot Tribal School serve as guides for instruction and intervention. The iReady Assessments for both Reading and Math commence as a diagnostic for all grades. This in-house progress monitoring tool is administered three times a year and provided data for teachers in order to group and monitor instruction effectively.
For the school year 2021-2022, MTS participated in the Bureau of Indian Education Assessment for Math and English for Grades 3-8, and 11 and Science for Grades 5, 8, and 11. 71% of students completed the assessments. The school has requested a waiver for the 2022-2023 school year in order to return to the Smarter Balanced assessment provided by the state.
Other assessments that were offered for the 2021-2022 school year were WA Kids for all incoming kindergarten students, Dyslexia Screener for students in grades K-1, MAPS Science for secondary science students, and the ACT. The NNAT3 will be administered to all 2nd Grade students this year as a screener for students who may qualify for gifted and talented programming.
The Muckleshoot Tribal Schools will remain focused on our mission while incorporating our newly created vision. The school goals fall into four major categories:
These goals will be accomplished by diversifying our communication strategies, revamping the secondary Friday schedules, updating evaluation forms, and clear expectations for attendance.
The staff will continue to focus on the four questions essential to effective professional learning communities as defined by DuFour:
What do we expect students to learn?
How will we know they have learned it?
How will we respond when some students do not learn?
How will we extend and enrich learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency?