International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
Science and the Swinomish: Principals’ Role in the Creation of Professional Development for K-12 Teachers with Support from Cross-District, Tribal, and University Partners


In 2015 the Washington State Legislature enacted a new state-wide curriculum requirement: Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State (SSB 5433, 2015). Elements of this legislation included an expectation that school districts would use a place-based approach and that teachers would have an opportunity to choose how to fulfill the related curricular requirements. The “what” of the law was clear; unanswered, though, was the “how.”

The current study examines the implementation and outcomes of a grant-funded collaboration between two western Washington school districts; the Educational Leadership department at Western Washington University; Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University; and the Swinomish Tribe. K-12 participants in the project included principals and teachers from the LaConner and Concrete School Districts.

The value gained from sharing of ideas, not only about the project, but also through the collaboration of educational practices in general, became an unexpected but welcome outcome, and a major benefit to both school districts.  As one participating principal stated, “We cultivated friendships and working relationships that will continue long after the project is over.”