Tulalip Elementary and Totem Middle School get federal grants

MARYSVILLE — Tulalip Elementary and Totem Middle School have both been approved for federal funding, after agreeing to adopt federal reform models aimed at turning around the nation’s lowest-performing schools.

To qualify for these funds, both schools will adopt the “transformation” model, under which the existing staff will be retained but held to more specific standards. Because Tulalip already replaced its principal last school year, it will not be required to do so again, but Totem Principal Judy Albertson will be replaced to comply with the transformation model.

The Marysville School District applied for approximately $800,000 for Tulalip and approximately $1.2 million for Totem, bringing their total requested grants to more than $2 million.

MSD Assistant Superintendent Gail Miller noted that $49 million was requested from the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, which was only alloted $17 million in funds. As a result, only 19 of the 41 state school districts that applied for funds received them, which means that only nine out of 21 schools in the state received their requested funds.

Miller explained that the next step is for the Marysville School District to schedule a meeting between the two schools’ principals, other district representatives, the Tulalip Tribes and state representatives, sometime between April 5-22, to conduct final negotiations for the funds.

“Because so few schools received funding, we don’t anticipate that our funding will be reduced greatly,” Miller said. “From there, we’ll get to work on implementing our plans.”

The grant funds are set to be released April 26.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity, not just for the amount of funding, but also for the commitment we’ve received,” said Miller, who acknowledged the support of community stakeholders ranging from teachers and other district personnel to parents and Tribal leaders. “It’s very heartening.”

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