January 2020 Newsletter

CUSD Indigenous Education Program

Upcoming Events:

Indigenous Parent Committee Meetings:

At the Chandler Care Center: 777 E Galveston St Chandler AZ 85225

5:30 pm-7:00 pm

  • Wednesday, February 5
  • Wednesday, March 4
  • Wednesday, April 15

21st Annual Gila River Close Up Event: March 16-18th, 2020

  • This event is a 3 day-civic education and leadership program for Gila River Indian Community high school students. Event description and registration form at the bottom of the newsletter or with this link.
  • The event will take place at the Gila River Governance Center, the Akimel O'otham Loditha Kud Ki (courthouse), the O’odham Ha Ki, and the Four Point by Sheraton (lodging in Chandler). View event agenda

Governor's 5th Annual Education Summit

  • The Gila River Indian Community is hosting the Governor's 5th Annual Education Summit at Gila Crossing Community School. View the flyer here, and the FAQ's here.


Indigenous Education Program Fall 2019 Recap:

IPC Officers voted in:
  • President- Tracey Sekayumptewa
  • Vice President- Kara Thrasher
  • Secretary- Michelle Speaker
  • Treasurer- Erin Gramzinski

November 9th, 2019 Fall Harvest Potluck:

  • At the Tumbleweed Recreation Center, families and CUSD Federal Programs staff shared delicious food and conversation, as well as connected with each other through a poetry activity led by Federal Programs director Monica Romero.
  • We also reviewed books provided by Scholastic that feature Indigenous artists, authors, and ideas relating to Indigenous culture. Come and see these books at the next IPC meeting!

Welcoming our Indigenous Engagement Specialist, Tia Gramzinski


I'm Diné (Navajo) from Kayenta, Arizona (Tó Dínéeshzheeʼ), and I went to K-12th grade in the CUSD. I am an alumni of Chandler Gilbert Community College (Associate’s degree) and Northern Arizona University (Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education). I worked two years for the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals' Environmental Education Outreach Program with elementary to high school aged students from various Indigenous communities throughout Arizona, and for NAU's Office of Indigenous Student Success where I worked with college students and prospective college students.

Aside from spending time with family, I love to listen to podcasts, watch and play basketball, listen to live music, and practice the Navajo language/Diné Bizaad. It is my passion to be an advocate for Indigenous students of all ages, abilities, gender identities, and cultures. Our students will be responsible for the prosperity and preservation of Indigenous cultures and making a positive impact in the world. My goal is to meet and collaborate with students and families throughout their CUSD journey. Encouraging them and providing assistance for academic success are ways to accomplish this goal and I will be their advocate every step of the way.

Be featured in the monthly newsletter!

If you would like the newsletter to highlight opportunities/events to bring our community together, one of your students' accomplishments, or any relevant info to the Indigenous Ed. program, contact us!

Important Info:

Missing Forms: In order to receive services from the Indigenous Education Program, PLEASE get the following documentation on file:

  • Title 6 and/or JOM forms for each student
  • Student or family member tribal enrollment identification (CIB, tribal ID, etc.) for each student

Funding Requests: The IEP offers funding up to $600 per student each school year for summer school, SAT/ACT test registration, dual enrollment, and other select class fees.

Please contact your high school academic counselor first for information and deadlines.

Need a laptop or graphing calculator?

Please contact your Native American Student Advisor at your high school and they will guide your student through the process. Both the parent/guardian and student will need to sign a contract. Laptops and calculators are to be returned by May 22, 2020.

Native American Student Advisory at High Schools

At 5 CUSD high schools, we partner with 7 school staff to provide academic counseling to Native American students enrolled in our program, as well as sponsor the schools' Native American clubs.

  • Each site has weekly or monthly student Native American club meetings
  • Advisors meet one-on-one for grade/credit checks and more
  • Advisors attend our IPC meetings (depending on availability)

If you are seeking any assistance with your child’s academics, behavior, health, attendance, or other concerns, these advisors are your connection to school and community resources.

Basha High: Nancy Spilsbury (480) 224-2264

Casteel High: Jessica Burt (480) 424-8341

Chandler High: Brett Parks-- Sophomores/Seniors (480) 812-7962

Chandler High: Carole Kaitz-- Freshmen/Juniors (480) 812-7760

Hamilton High: Amy Furrow-- Freshmen/Seniors (480) 883-5032

Hamilton High: Margarita Jimenez Trujillo-- Sophomores/Juniors (480) 883-5274

Perry High: Megan Driving Hawk (480) 224-2954

Indigenous Scholarship Opportunities

Attention college bound students! If you are a senior getting ready to start your college journey, check out these scholarship opportunities and organizations. Take note of those deadlines!

Contact Us

Indigenous Engagement Specialist - Tia Gramzinski

(480) 883-4488


Gila River Advisor - Andrew Garcia

(480) 883-4492


Director of Federal Programs - Monica Romero

(480) 883-4485


Administrative Assistant - Diana Moreno

(480) 883-4493