Valley Voice: Palm Springs Unified teaching kids desert history with Agua Caliente focus

Recently, I attended as a PSUSD Foundation board member a third-grade class at Sunny Sands Elementary School in Cathedral City. My mission was to observe teacher Ramona Frost and her class of 21 students in their fifth class session of a new 10-part curriculum about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

The curriculum was created by a three-way consortium of PSUSD administration and teachers, Tribal leadership and PSUSD Foundation.

On my day at Sunny Sands, Kate Anderson, director of Public Relations for the tribe, was in the classroom interviewing students about the day’s lesson. Two PSUSD administrators, Mike Walbridge and Russ Eaves, were also there as other observers.

A week later, Mr. Eaves and I attended sat in at Cathedral City Elementary with Tiffany Cobb's class.

Both teachers were outstanding and inspirational! I loved seeing the classes divided into smaller groups, student drawings at their desks and on the walls, handling and passing around local Indian artifacts. Posters included vocabularies of common words.

Dinner in Canyons finds new horizons for Agua Caliente fundraising streams

October 07, 2018

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians launched the 2018-2019 social season Saturday with a Dinner in the Canyons celebrating a pivotal change.

The dinner, served in an oasis of Andreas Canyon surrounded by purple-lit boulders and palm trees bathed in multi-colored spotlights near a stream, didn’t just celebrate the past 27 years that event organizers have devoted to raising funds for an Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. It was more of a toast to new programs seeking to explain Agua Caliente history and culture.

The small Agua Caliente Cultural Museum on Palm Canyon Drive is now closed, but the tribe broke ground in May on a large cultural center near its Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs including a museum, spa and bathhouse, scheduled for  completion in early 2020. It committed to building it from tribe coffers instead of relying on fundraising by the Agua Caliente Museum Board of Directors.


July 26, 2018

PALM SPRINGS – The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has a dynamic presence in the desert, particularly in Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage. But how much do students really know about Native American history, culture, and lifestyle, especially that of the Agua Caliente’s, and the Tribe’s undeniable commitment to education? They are about to find out.

The Palm Springs Unified School District and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians have been collaborating on the creation of an elementary and middle school Native American Studies curriculum to launch within the District this school year.

February 10, 2018

Michael Childers did it again! For 90 minutes his “Icons & Idols” show and benefit dazzled a 700+ person audience at the Richards Center for Arts. The recent non-profit recipient of Childers’ talent was The Foundation of the Palm Springs Unified School District, specifically benefiting one of Childers’ personal passions, providing music opportunities for young students in public schools.

As he does with the well-known fundraiser, “One Night Only”, Childers used his time, extensive entertainment connections, and talent in creating what is sure to become a must-attend fundraiser. With tickets starting at $75, the show was a bargain and supported an important cause.

Childers enlisted some high-powered help from friends too, with Palm Springs local mega-event producer Frank Goldstin of Momentous Events and the brilliant Todd Schroeder as Music Director.  Musical author and New York Times contributor James Gavin wrote the highly entertaining script for the evening and served as the evening’s host.

Also making the evening a huge success were Event Ambassadors Doug Donenfeld, Debbie Green, Barbara Keller, Terri Ketover, Ann Sheffer, and Tom Truhe.

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