Blue Lake Rancheria receives funding to implement new tribal education agency
Blue Lake Rancheria
The Blue Lake Rancheria received a $156,116 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement a Tribal Education Agency (TEA) that will work with local education organizations and the State of California to improve academic achievement of Native American youth and children in Humboldt County.
“Education is the Rancheria’s highest priority, and the tribe is honored to receive the one-year grant. The funding will help propel forward the tribe’s mission to bring more culturally responsive curriculum into Humboldt County classrooms, to better represent the native population in the region,” Arla Ramsey, Blue Lake Rancheria’s Vice-Chairperson, said.
The Blue Lake Rancheria established the five-member Board of Education during the tribe’s general election in December. Tribal council member Jason Ramos has been elected as Board of Education President, and tribal member Jace Boldosser has been sworn in as the education board’s Vice-President.
“We are deeply honored and committed to investing in our future and improving educational opportunities in the region, “Jason Ramos, Blue Lake Rancheria council member, said.
There will be several different roles the Tribal Education Agency will play in education programs from supplementing current public school Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, to initiatives outside of the classroom, like workforce development. For example, the Tribal Education Agency is working with the Humboldt County Office of Education, Northern Humboldt Unified School District, and the College of the Redwoods to establish a Regional Occupational Center Program that will provide career-readiness and workforce development training. The courses will take place at the new Toma Resilience Campus on the Blue Lake Rancheria, which will provide maker classroom space, a computer lab, and business incubator center for the education programs.
Establishing the Tribal Education Agency is part of the tribe’s five-year education plan. Phase one of the initiative involved the development of a new education program called Pathmakers, a program that strives to bring culturally responsive makerspace learning to schools, day camps, and community events. The programming focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education. Phase two is the development of the Toma Resilience Campus at Blue Lake Rancheria which is scheduled to open by Fall 2022.
The Board will be tasked with reviewing, revising, and adopting an education code, that will act as guidelines for running the Tribal Education Agency. Board members will serve alternating three year terms. The Board will meet monthly starting January 2020.
“The Board of Education will be focusing on developing strong partnerships with local education agencies and the State of California to open a Regional Occupational Center and Program by Fall 2022, serving the workforce development and entrepreneurship needs of the residents of Humboldt County, Alison Robbins, Blue Lake Rancheria Program Director, said. These steps the Tribe is taking speaks to a long-term vision of self-determination and resiliency which guides the Tribe in all its governmental programs.”