This video gives clear information for everyone about what school districts are working with, what the DOH is requiring:
Sgwi’ Gwi 2020 – A Safer Approach in the Time of COVID-19
By Gordon James, Education Director
The annual Sgwi’ Gwi event usually includes about 400 people sharing dinner and cheering on students and graduates at all levels. For decades, the Squaxin Island Tribe has taken this opportunity to celebrate student achievement. In 2020, Sgwi’ Gwi is one more part of life that has been changed by the novel coronavirus.
While large group gatherings and community celebrations are cultural norms, current public health guidelines discourage large gatherings like Sgwi’ Gwi. This year, the Tribe has had to consider alternative ways to honor and celebrate student achievement, while continuing to protect the Squaxin community from COVID-19. For the safety of students, graduates, their families, and the community, the 2020 Sgwi’ Gwi celebration will not revolve around a large community gathering, but instead, goes virtual.
If you have graduated since last year’s Sgwi’ Gwi celebration – whether from high school, HS21+, GED, a trade program, or with a college degree – the Tribe would like to publicly honor and celebrate Squaxin graduates by displaying celebratory videos on the Tribe’s website and the Tribe’s Facebook page, and through a photo display on the giant reader-board in front of Little Creek Casino Resort.
For those who would like to participate, we are asking that graduates and/or their families record a short video to acknowledge the graduate’s achievement. Use a camera, cell phone, tablet, or computer to record your congratulations and comments, and email them to the Education Department at , or at . Mandy Valley and I are working with the Information Services Department to present your videos to the tribal community and beyond. Please keep in mind that we plan to upload these videos to media platforms that represent the Squaxin Island tribal government and community, so we ask that language and actions in your videos offer great reflections of Squaxin. If you need further assistance to create a video, please get in touch with us and we will see how we can assist you.
Education Services During the COVID-19 Closures
What is happening with the Early Head Start (EHS) program?
While the Child Development Center building itself is temporarily closed, the Early Head Start program continues to provide services. Federal guidelines addressing the program have allowed a temporary transition from center-based services to remote services.
- For infants enrolled in Early Head Start, supplies continue to be available to assist families including diapers, wipes, formula, teethers, etc.
- A full day and full week of activities are shared on the Squaxin Island Child Development Center Facebook page. Activity supplies have been and continue to be provided for children and families to follow along at home with a wide range of activities that meet EHS requirements.
- Teachers continue to reach out to each family to maintain regular communication, check on needs, answer questions, etc.
For more information about the Early Head Start program, please call the Squaxin Island Child Development Center at (360) 426-1390.
Is the ECEAP program still going on, too?
Yes. Similar to the Early Head Start program, State guidelines for ECEAP are increasing our flexibility to provide services remotely. Center teachers are uploading lessons to the SICDC Facebook page every day and ECEAP families can visit the SICDC Facebook page for a full day and full week of activities. Activity supplies have been and continue to be provided for children and families to follow along at home with a wide range of child and family activities that meet ECEAP requirements. Teachers continue to reach out to each family to maintain regular communication, check on needs, answer questions, etc.
For more information about the ECEAP program, please call the Squaxin Island Child Development Center at (360) 426-1390.
What about the meals that children were receiving at the Center?
Breakfast and lunch are still being provided on regularly scheduled school days. In coordination with the Shelton School District, breakfast and lunch supplies are provided from the Child Development Center in what’s called “Grab-n-Go.” A parent or guardian arrives to the front of the Child Development Center and a breakfast and lunch is brought out to them for each eligible child up to age 18. Supplies are limited each day but we are able to request more if the requests continue to increase. As requirements continue to change and get updated, children no longer have to be present to pick up their meals.
Meals are currently available weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Please call ahead if you have any questions to (360) 426-1390.
With Shelton schools closed, how do my children not get behind?
The Shelton Schools are putting together a “distance learning” program that includes online lessons for those with access to a computer and internet, or paper packets for those who don’t have that available. According to the Superintendent, Dr. Apostle, the District anticipates having this in place between April 15th and 21st. Until then, the Education Department has been sharing numerous online resources for students to continue learning while having some fun in the process. You may have seen these resources mentioned in the Klah-Che-Min, the Daily Scoop, or the Tu Ha’ Buts Learning Center or Squaxin Teens Facebook pages.
As the District begins providing actual schoolwork, the Squaxin tutors will be available to provide remote tutoring to students. This could include email, Facebook, Google Classroom, providing online videos, and other virtual support. If you are interested in tutoring support, please email the tutors:
- For Bordeaux Elementary students, email Lynice May at .
- For Olympic Middle School or Oakland Bay Junior High students, email Lynn White at .
- For Shelton High School, email Julie Youngs at .
With “social distancing” limiting so many things, what is the Teen Program doing?
The Teen Advocate, Jaimie Cruz, continues to reach out to teens to explore lots of creative ways to keep teens connected and active. They are working on a virtual book club. They are following up on educational needs. Youth Council is creating videos to share on Facebook to showcase the Squaxin community and offer encouraging messages. They are exploring virtual training opportunities on many topics the teens find interesting and important.
With so many colleges closing their campuses, what happened to the college students?
Many colleges have moved from classroom instruction to online instruction. Students are still able to continue with college studies and their progress during the Spring Quarter toward graduation. It is unpredictable how long the COVID-19 pandemic is going to impact daily life, so while colleges may continue online into summer and fall, the Tribe must still determine what funding support may be available for education awards for summer or fall. That decision will be based upon many evolving circumstances so it is not clear at this time.
What if I don’t want to go to college, but I want to attend a vocational school?
Similar to the question about college above, there are opportunities still available, and there is still limited funding available. That said, there are a number of vocational school opportunities that are temporarily on hold. Many trade schools require in-person, hands-on, learning that is just not happening within the current conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic response. As well, the Tribe must still determine what funding support may be available for education awards to support trade school attendance in summer or fall.
Can I still take a class to improve my chances of getting a job, or advancing at work?
Yes, you can. Please keep in mind, there are a number of classes that have been modified or placed on hold as part of the pandemic response. If you have identified a class that can help you, and would like to find out if that class is eligible for funding support, please email your questions to Mandy Valley at . Mandy can assist with coordinating the required documentation, determining eligibility, and seeking approval of tribal funding. Similar to the questions about college or vocational training, the Tribe must still determine what funding support may be available for education awards to support trade school attendance in summer or fall.
Hello everyone! We need your help!
As you may or may not know, Student Life has a limited supply of caps and gowns that we typically use as loaners for students who may not be able to afford them. While 2020 has not quite shaped up to be the year we all envisioned, we want to continue to provide this service to our students to help enhance their celebrations and recognize their monumental achievements.
Supply is limited and requests will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis.
To submit a gown request, click HERE.
Students will receive an email after submitting the form with details on picking up their gowns. With the ongoing response to COVID-19, we will not be asking for them to be returned.