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Apple, tribal education leaders discuss new technology uses

From left, Francine Swift and Chairman Jeromy Sullivan of Port Gamble S
From left, Francine Swift and Chairman Jeromy Sullivan of Port Gamble S'Klallam and Chairman Leonard Forsman of Suquamish attend the Tribal Leaders Congress on Education, in Suquamish.
— image credit: Megan Stephenson / Herald

SUQUAMISH — The Tribal Leaders Congress on Education met Friday (Jan. 6) at the Suquamish House of Awakened Culture.

Among the presenters was a representative from Apple, who shared the opportunities available for tribes to get in on the technology game. Renee Radcliff Sinclair, of Strategic Initiatives in Lynnwood, told tribal leaders about a recently produced Cherokee language application for Apple products.

"How can we help your children tell the story of your culture?" Sinclair said of the app's use. Francine Swift, council member of Port Gamble S'Klallam and an academic coach at Kingston Middle School, said she sees a number of her tribe's students showing increasing interest in using music and language to perpetuate their culture. Technology like iPads can record what they develop.

Joe Davalos, superintendent of the Suquamish Education Department, said he wants to incorporate more technology in the classroom, especially as Suquamish tries to reestablish the Early College High School.

Pahaluctun Thomas, education director from the Lummi Nation, said Lummi's high number of special education students benefit from technology like iPads to better communicate with their instructors.

The group also discussed early education with Betty Hyde, director of the state's Department of Early Learning. Port Gamble S'Klallam Chairman Jeromy Sullivan was appointed to the Early Learning Advisory Committee, a liaison group to the Department of Early Learning. He relayed the discussions the advisory committee had about federal and state budget cuts to education, and how to combat cuts to early learning.

"It's through the importance of education at a young stage in our lives" that graduation rates are going up in tribes, he said.

The education congress meets six to 12 times a year to discuss policy and advocacy of tribal education with the state. The tribes represented are Colville, Lummi, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Skokomish, Squaxin, Suquamish and Tulalip, as well as representatives of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the National Indian Education Association.

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