The Pendleton School District assures that no person shall on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or income as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related authorities, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any Pendleton School District sponsored program or activity.
Pendleton Center for the Arts Leads Snow Globe Art for Kindergartners
What do you get when you have a few hundred plastic cups, some white fluffy stuffing, silver glitter, and 229 kindergartners? You get a lot of snow globes with cute, smiling faces inside them.
All of the kindergartners at the Pendleton Early Learning Center (PELC) had the opportunity to create their own snow globes on Monday, December 11, 2023.
Staff from the Pendleton Center for the Arts were at the school leading the art activity. Roberta Lavadour, Executive Director at the Arts Center, instructed the young artists about coloring with markers on their clear plastic cups. She also provided directions about where to glue the fluffy “snow” on the bottom paper disc and not to touch the snow after the glitter was applied.
Meanwhile, Kate Brizendine, Coordinator of Education and Outreach at the Arts Center, took Polaroid photos of each student to place inside the globes. For the photo, students could choose from a variety of props to use, like reindeer antlers, a red Rudolph nose, Santa’s beard, a candy cane, and more.
The students did a good job of listening and working, and most of all, not getting glitter on the carpet.
“We love when the Arts Center is able to visit our school and lead a fun, creative art project for our students,” said Angela Lattin, PELC Principal.
The Pendleton School District is happy to feature new PSD teachers.
At the end of last school year, three schools in the Pendleton School District received Native American Families Outreach Grants. The Pendleton Early Learning Center (PELC) received $10,000, Washington Elementary received $7,000, and Sunridge Middle School received $10,000. The purpose of the grants is to support Native American students in navigating public school systems.
Over the summer, the PELC used the funds to create and install signage in the building that incorporates the Umatilla language. Sunridge Middle School is also installing signage. Similar signage is already in place at Washington Elementary School.
Shawndine Jones, Walk to Language Teacher at the PELC, and Mildred Quaempts, Umatilla Language Master Speaker for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), work together at the PELC to teach students the Umatilla language every week. They have worked on the signage project at the school.
A special part of the new native language in the school is a large quote chosen by Mildred Quaempts, which is painted in the school’s library. It says,
Miyánašma pawá átaw ayáyat tɨmnáii ku px̣ʷít
“All children are precious with good hearts and minds.”
Mildred Quaempts said it’s a teaching among her elders that they were always telling the children to have good minds, good hearts, be respectful, and honorable. She chose this particular quote because “the children are precious, loved, they are awesome, valued, innocent and they are strong. And I like to hear what they have to say.”
In addition to the library quote, there is Umatilla language signage in the common areas, including the cafeteria, gym, music room, office, and cafeteria. Jones said there will also be a metal sign installed outside in front of the school in Umatilla that says something like, “Welcome, Little Bucks.”
Why do Jones and Mildred Quaempts think it’s important to have the Umatilla language visible in the school? Mildred Quaempts explained that at one time, both natives and non-natives communicated to one another – the ranchers and farmers and businessmen – locally and around the region. “Before they passed on, our elders all agreed that we were going to share the language with everyone, not just pick and choose who was going to learn it and speak it.” She said that currently five out of 3,000 tribal members speak the Umatilla language, so efforts to keep speaking and teaching it are very important.
“It’s good to see the language because this is the land of the tribes and it should be represented in our schools,” Jones said.
One sign in the school’s entryway is about “Boys with Braids,” which is a positive message for boys with long hair that they are seen and supported. The graphic features a silhouette of a former Washington Elementary and Sunridge Middle School student, Hiyúum Nowland. Jones said, “It’s good to see our schools creating an environment that welcomes all children.” The Pendleton School District purchased “Boys with Braids” signs for McKay Creek Elementary, Sherwood Heights Elementary and Pendleton High School also.
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) Language Program helped with all of the translations for the signage at the schools.
What do you get when you take big yellow school buses, tons of new kindergartners, smiling teachers, and a taco truck? A fun Back-to-School Open House at the Pendleton Early Learning Center (PELC)!
Students and their families were invited to the event on Thursday, September 7, 2023, to tour the school and classroom, meet teachers, and enjoy an introduction to their child’s first year in the Pendleton School District.
Out in front of the school were two school buses, with bus drivers from First Student, Inc. (the bus company the district contracts with) standing next to them. The drivers were giving tours of the buses to students and families, showing students where to sit on the bus and sharing a few rules. Driver Brittney Breneman said being a bus driver is challenging, but fun. Bus driver Christina Williams said she showed students where the emergency exits and first aid kit are and the importance of sitting close to the front of the bus so the driver can see you. About being a bus driver for these youngest students, Williams said, “I absolutely love it. You have to be patient, but the kids are so sweet.”
Inside the school, walking along the hallway with her family, was new kindergartner Linnea Davis. Linnea, whose favorite color is red, said her teacher is Mr. Zimmerman. Linnea’s parents, Calvin and Kathy Davis said kindergarten is going great so far for their child. “We are looking forward to her getting to be more social, make friends, and make positive connections to being in school,” Kathy said.
In teacher Rachele Johnson’s class, the Gregg family was enjoying some time in the classroom chatting with Johnson. Patrick and Jill Gregg are the parents of three boys, and their youngest, Chris, is starting kindergarten in Johnson’s class. When Jill was pregnant with Chris, their oldest son, Jack, was a student of Mrs. Johnson’s. “It feels a bit like coming full circle. It really feels like a family here, and the PELC wraps around the whole family,” Jill said. Johnson said it’s nice for the younger sibling to already have that connection at the school, which can give them a bit more confidence.
PELC Principal Angela Lattin said the start of school at the PELC has been positive and smooth, and it’s been great getting to know the new students. “I love every school year, and I love watching students grow. The PELC has expert teachers and an amazing staff in a place that was built just for kindergarten, and there is great energy here.”
Welcome to the Pendleton Early Learning Center!
If you think there is nothing cuter than a kindergartner petting a cute, fuzzy chick, you are probably right.
A chilly, rainy morning couldn’t dampen the excitement of kindergartners from the Pendleton Early Learning Center as they enjoyed a field trip to the Pendleton Accumulation Site of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) Fisheries Program on Wednesday, April 12th.
At the site in Mission, the students got an up close, first-hand look at some fish. They got to touch small Coho salmon and larger Steelhead salmon held in nets in tanks. But the stars of the show were the Pacific lamprey, which are eel-like fish that are anadromous, meaning they migrate from fresh water to the ocean during their life cycle, as salmon do.
The lamprey, held in a large cooler, were handled by Kanim Moses-Conner from the CTUIR Fisheries Program. When he opened the lid and lifted one of the wriggling fish out, squeals erupted from the young students. Moses-Conner pointed out the lamprey’s sucker-like mouth, gills and undulating body, explaining that they are part of an ancient superclass of jawless fish that have been on Earth since before the dinosaurs. After donning gloves, the kindergartners each got a turn to hold the lamprey, much to their delight.
This PELC field trip is part of a learning unit about Salmon or the Núsux Life Cycle, which has been taught by Shawndine Jones, Walk to Language Teacher at the PELC, and Mildred Quaempts, Umatilla Language Master Speaker for CTUIR. The kindergartners receive two or three lessons in the classroom about the salmon life cycle, how important salmon are and learn Umatilla words for types of salmon and where they live: rivers, Columbia River, ocean. Quaempts said the lessons focus on Áwni Tkʷátat, traditional foods like water, salmon, deer, roots and berries. “CTUIR believes that teaching to respect and honor Áwni Tkʷátat will promote a healthy lifestyle. Children must experience learning about Áwni Tkʷátat and stories, so the children will get cultural exposure at school and home,” Quaempts said.
Jones said CTUIR is doing amazing things with the Fisheries Program to help the salmon, and it’s a good experience for the students to see the live salmon on the field trip, which hasn’t occurred since before the COVID pandemic. “The PELC is very thankful for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Fisheries Program and staff for allowing our students to have this awesome experience,” Jones said.
Judging from the smiles on the small faces of the students, it was indeed an awesome experience!
The PELC thanks those from the CTUIR Fisheries Program who were on site for the field trip: Shaun Montgomery, Aaron Jackson, Ty Minthorn, Kanim Moses-Conner, Paul Sheoships and Jerrid Weaskus and Easton Powaukee.
You are invited to participate in a research study, Native Voices Across Generations: Reimagining Discipline in a New School Landscape (Native Voices or NV) project.
The Pendleton School District, in cooperation with a research team from the University of Oregon, is hosting a community conversation/listening session on Monday, April 24, at Washington Elementary, starting at 5:00 pm. Dinner and childcare will be provided.
The research team is seeking to hear from parents, community members, teachers, administrators, and staff.
The purpose of this one-year project is to give voice to teachers, school and district administrators, and other school staff to look at discipline practices and investigate contributors to and consequences of disproportionate discipline for Native students in Oregon K-12 schools.
The findings of this project will inform, design and recommend school-based policies, trainings, resources, and supports that are culturally responsive and integrate Native tribal and community assets to shift any overrepresentation of AI/AN students in discipline data by researching (1) potential contributors to and consequences of disciplinary practices in Oregon K-12 school districts and (2) if district administrators, teachers, and other school personnel might benefit from professional development on Indian Education Policies and Language Restoration; Native Languages of Oregon; and Equity in School Policy for Native Students.
Equally important, this study queries what Native students, families, and communities envision as essential for healthy schools in which Native students belong and thrive culturally, socially, psychologically, and academically.
Community conversations/listening sessions will occur at the Washington Elementary School on Monday, April 24, from 5-7:30 pm. Each participant will receive an incentive of $25 for participating in the conversations.
This project involves the collaboration of the Center for Equity Promotion (CEQP) in the University of Oregon’s (UO) College of Education, the UO’s Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI), the Native Wellness Institute (NWI), and participating Tribes and School Districts with funding from and in partnership with the Office of Indian Education/Oregon Department of Education (OIE/ODE).
If you are interested in participating in this research study, please complete the Adult Consent form located here: https://tinyurl.com/NV-Adult-Consent.
Hard copies of the consent form will be available at the event.
If you have any questions about this study, please contact Rita Svanks at firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-346-4125.
Kindergarten Registration is open for the 2023-24 school year.