Territories and Freely Associated States Education Grant Program

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Program Abstracts

American Samoa Department of Education
Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Public School System
Guam Department of Education
Palau Ministry of Education
Virgin Islands Department of Education

American Samoa Department of Education

Education Reform Initiative: Focusing on Academic English Literacy to Improve Student Achievement

Part 3-Project Abstract

A. Project Objectives and Activities

The purpose of this project is to improve academic literacy in American Samoa’s schools. American Samoa’s students have very low literacy rates, due in part to the unique arrangement that English shares with Samoan in everyday life. While the official language of instruction is English, very few families speak English at home. Over 72% of all students entering Kindergarten during the 2011-2012 School have very limited English skills mainly because the home language is Samoan, and over 90% of students are classified as English Language Learners (ELL).

This project will provide in-class, extended school day, and summer enrichment programs for the 2-12 student population in American Samoa’s public schools through the implementation of the Achieve3000 system. Achieve3000 is a nationally-recognized system that provides literacy programs through the use of online differentiated reading and writing assignments —using high-quality, non-fiction content based on each student's reading level -and that automatically adapts content via ongoing, real-time Lexile assessment. The ASDOE will phase implementation of the Achieve3000 system over the three years of this funding cycle, with grades 2-12 for all schools participating. The programs will consist of a combination of in-class, after school (extended school day) and summer programs.

The Achieve3000 provides a unique system for parents through the Spark3000 program. This component is an exciting approach to improving student academic literacy, by giving parents the opportunity to improve their literacy skills as well. The ASDOE will recruit parents to participate, so they can build their skills as well. Parents can continue their work with the program, by serving as mentors and coaches for students in the after-school and summer programs.

B. Applicable Priorities

This grant application represents a new approach to improving academic literacy in all grade levels, through the implementation of four priority areas. The first three priority areas meet the Secretary of Education’s invitation in the grant notice, and the fourth is a locally generated priority. These are: 1) Adopting the Common Core Standards and developing appropriate assessments, 2) Creating effective leaders and teachers through content-based professional development, integration of new technology into academic literacy reform, and 4) Supporting parent involvement to improve adult literacy and engage parents as partners in their child’s education. The project will implement these four priority areas by partnering with the Acheive3000 system.

The project will implement these four priority areas by partnering with the Acheive3000 system. Achieve 3000 is a nationally-recognized system that provides literacy programs through the use of online differentiated reading and writing assignments — using high-quality, on-fiction content based on each student's reading level -and that automatically adapts content via ongoing, real-time Lexile assessment. The ASDOE will phase implementation of the Achieve3000 system over the three years of this funding cycle, with grades 2-12 in all schools participating. The programs will consist of a combination of in-class, after school (extended school day) and summer programs.

The Achieve3000 provides a unique system for parents through the Spark3000 program. This component is an exciting approach to improving student academic literacy, by giving parents the opportunity to improve their literacy skills as well. The ASDOE will recruit parents to participate, so they can build their skills as well. Parents can continue their work with the program, by serving as mentors and coaches for students in the after-school and summer programs.

The Achieve3000 provides professional development for core subject teachers, not just EnglishLanguage Arts, since it delivers content rooted in Common Core subject matter. The professional development will focus on both academic literacy pedagogy and content. Additionally, the ASDOE is partnering with the University of Hawaii to provide content-based professional development for teachers in the summer. Content courses will focus on English/Language Arts as well as othercontent competency and common core curriculum courses.

The significance of this program cannot be underestimated. American Samoa’s students currently lack the skills needed in academic reading and writing to be competitive members of the 21st Century. We cannot continue to deny our students the chance to compete globally in pursuit of advanced education or career options because they are English Language Illiterate.

C. Project Goals, Objectives, and Expected Outcomes

Project Goal: All students in American Samoa’s Schools will read with an academic literacy level that is at or above grade level by 2015.

Objective 1 (Priority 1) – Adopting Common Core Curriculum Standards and Appropriate Assessments

  • Outcome 1.1: By 2015, 80% of all students will read at benchmark grade level, through the use of standardized assessments (100% students tested)
  • Outcome 1.2: Each year, the percent of students who score in the 50th percentile or higher in standardized tests will increase by at least 5%.

Objective 2 (Priority 2) – Creating Effective Teachers and Administrators

  • Outcome 2.1: By 2015, professional development will provide all core content teachers ongoing support in methodologies to improve literacy across the curriculum.
  • Outcome 2.2: By 2015 100% of Core Curriculum teachers will participate in Content-based professional development to support their knowledge of core subject matter.
  • Outcome 2.3: Professional development will include on-site learning, online learning, and individualized mentoring/coaching to connect literacy initiatives to content knowledge.

Objective 3 (Priority 3) –Integrating Technology into Academic Literacy Programs

  • Outcome 3.1: By 2015, all 29 public schools will use the Acheive3000 for literacy improvement
  • Outcome 3.2: By 2015, 100% of core subject teachers will participate in technology training
  • Outcome 3.3: By 2015, computer labs or similar facilities will be made available for students and parents to access technology at all 29 public schools.

Objective 4: Supporting a Comprehensive Parent Outreach Program

  • Outcome 4.1: By 2015, at least 50% of parents from each school will participate in the Spark3000 program
  • Outcome 4.2: By 2015, at least 10% parents at each school will serve as mentors/coaches in the literacy program.

D. Project Participants and locations:

This project will serve all students in ASDOE Public schools in grades 2-12. By 2015, this will include approximately 7250 elementary students and 4000 secondary students at the 23 elementary and 6 high schools. Approximately 400 teachers and 4500 parents will also benefit from this program.

Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Public School System

Project SHIFT (Strengthening Highly-Effective Instruction for Tomorrow) has two main priorities: (1) To improve the effectiveness of teachers, principals, and administrative leaders through professional development and training and (2) to improve student academic achievement and teacher effectiveness through the use of high-quality digital tools and materials.

As part of the accountability provisions set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB) and ESEA as amended, The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Public School System (CNMI PSS) has set the following academic achievement goals for reading and mathematics:

  • By 2013, all CNMI PSS students will be proficient at or above in 53 percent of reading and math benchmarks as measured by the PSS Standards-Based Assessments (SBA).
  • By 2014, all CNMI PSS students will be proficient at or above in 59 percent of reading and math benchmarks as measured by the PSS Standards-Based Assessments (SBA).
  • By 2015, all CNMI PSS students will be proficient at or above in 65 percent of reading and math benchmarks as measured by the PSS Standards-Based Assessments (SBA).

The expected outcome for Project SHIFT is that by the end of the project period in 2015, all CNMI PSS students will be proficient at or above in 65 percent of reading and math benchmarks as measured by the PSS Standards-Based Assessments (SBA).

In addition to its academic achievement goals, Project SHIFT also targets three key factors proven to raise student achievement:

  • Teachers, principals and administrative leaders will participate in research-based professional development and training focused on instructional strategies.
  • Teachers will increase the integration of 21st century technology in their instruction.
  • Schools will provide research-based parent literacy activities for parents focused on literacy and language development.

Professional development for teachers and leaders target research-based activities and strategies proven to raise student achievement along with resources encouraging and facilitatingthe integration of technology into classroom instruction. The professional development will include training in the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP®) Model, Accelerated Math, Singapore Math, courses leading to certification in teaching of EnglishLanguage Learning (ELL) and instructional technology. Additional research-based activities and workshops will be designed to involve and engage parents in their child’s literacy development.

The target population for the trainings will be approximately 500 teachers and leaders to be trained in the SIOP® Model, thirty teachers pursuing an ELL endorsement, ninety teachers who will be pursuing certification in instructional technology, 171 novice teacher mentees and mentor teachers, and forty-five principals, vice principals and administrative leaders who manage change that will be carried out in Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

In addition to professional development, this project will address parent literacy. Historically, parent participation in literacy activities has been extremely low. The goal of this project is to provide research-based activities focused on literacy and language development through a systematic and structured process thereby stimulating parental engagement and increasing parental involvement.

Guam Department of Education

Part III. PROJECT ABSTRACT

The Guam Department of Education (DOE) Project Meyeng (Good at, Expert, Skillful, Masterly, Professional, Proficient) is focused on improving student performance in language arts, reading, mathematics and science through the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Standards-Based assessments. The project’s goals are: 1) To increase instructional leadership capacity in Department of Education schools and the district by providing focused and ongoing professional development to administrators, teachers and district personnel in effective leadership strategies, organizational change, and strategic planning. 2) To improve student performance in subject areas of Language Arts, Reading, Math, and Science by aligning our Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment policies and practices with the Guam Department of Education Content Standards (CS) and Common Core State Standards (CC). 3) To improve teacher quality by providing ongoing professional development in effective instructional and assessment strategies inclusive of strategies that integrate technology into the classroom. The immediate outcomes are: to have teachers and administrators knowledgeable about unpacking the Standards and the curriculum mapping process to enable them to guide their work towards implementing the Standards, to develop and utilize formative and summative assessments to help make inform decisions about teaching and learning, and to have school leaders build and sustain support structures in the school that promotes quality instruction and continuous school improvement.

This project aims to build the capacity of the school leadership to effectively navigate the journey of improved student learning and achievement. Leaders will participate in professional development opportunities that will enhance their ability to lay the groundwork and to be an advocate for creating a culture of collaboration and shared decision making and maintaining a persistent focus on professional learning.

The teachers will understand their role as the key component to student success. They will be led by the school leaders to gain a deeper understanding of what students are expected to learn (Standards), to determine if the learning is taking place (Assessment) and to know what they can do to improve on the learning. The teachers will learn to use tools such as curriculum maps to plan the course of study for the school year to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge to prepare them for college or career upon graduation.

A greater emphasis will be placed on teachers to use technology as a means for raising the quality of teaching and increasing the ability for families to support their child’s learning, thus, allowing the school community as a whole to envision a school district with high quality academic achievement standards and expectations, and aggressive goals and objectives that meet the needs of all Guam public school students for decades to come.

Palau Ministry of Education

The Palau 2012-2015 T&FASEG project is a three-year project designed to raise Palau public elementary school student achievement levels through direct educational services that will assist students with the greatest educational need to meet challenging academic standards which will be aligned with college and career readiness standards (CCR). The proposed project will address all three of the invitational priorities with corresponding goals listed below: (1) raise student achievement by aligning curriculum and assessment standards with college and career readiness standards to strengthen the foundational skills of students in grades 1-8, (2) improve effectiveness of teachers, principals and administrators and (3) raise student achievement in grades 1-8 and improve teacher effectiveness through the introduction and use of technology.

To achieve these goals, the Ministry of Education has developed a comprehensive project plan that incorporates the following strategies/activities:

  • Improve foundation skills for students in grades 1-8: at least 1,700 students will be served and an increasing percentage of students will score at or above grade level.
  • Provide opportunities for teachers to earn college credits leading toward certification – the T&FASEG program will offer support in collaboration with Palau Community College (PCC) to all teachers not eligible for certification. It is anticipated that at least half of the teachers not currently meeting certification standards will earn college credits leading them toward teacher certification.
  • Providing pathways to support beginning and new teachers – enroll and graduate at least 30 individuals (combined total of 2 cohorts) in the Teacher Training Academy (TTA) and support approximately 30 teachers annually through the Mentor Teacher Program (MTP).
  • Provide a least 1,000 tablets with educational applications for student use. Each tablet would contain grade-level-specific educational applications for mathematics and reading/language arts.
  • Provide approximately 200 tablets to all teachers and principals. Each tablet will have custom-developed applications that provide electronic access to aligned curriculum standards and links this to an electronic lesson planning application.

The ultimate outcomes of the Palau T&FASEG project are:

  • 1) An increased percentage of students who participate in reading/language arts and math projects under the T&FASEG project who score at or above grade level in the subject area as measured by MOE-developed assessments.
  • 2) An increased percentage of teachers who participate in professional development activities under the T&FASEG project leading toward fulfillment of MOE teacher certification standards.

This project is Republic-wide and activities will be conducted and carried out at all 16 of Palau’s elementary schools. In addition, Palau Community College is a project service location.

Virgin Islands Department of Education

Project Objectives and Activities

The United States Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) has two need areas that require long- term solutions. The first is in the area of improving the teaching though developing a highly-qualified work force and the other is in the area of engaging students in rigorous instruction that is relevant in the 21st Century. To meet these need areas, two programs are planned-- the Teacher/Paraprofessional Qualification Program (TPQ) and Technology Integration to Improve Teaching and Learning (TITL) Program.

The Teacher/Paraprofessional Qualification Program (TPQ) objectives are to increase the number of certified and highly qualified teachers in the Virgin Islands Public School system by 8% each year for 3 years, to increase the number of teachers in hard to staff areas, particularly English as a second language (ESL) and mathematics, and to increase the number of highly qualified paraprofessionals in the Virgin Islands Public School system by 20% each year for 3 years. The activities developed to reach those goals include a campaign to persuade all teachers and paraprofessionals who are not highly-qualified to participate in the planned professional development services. These will include professional development courses to improve teacher and paraprofessional effectiveness while leading to highly-qualified status as well as to become highly-qualified for teaching math and ESL. Additional support will be provided through Praxis I and II tutorials and fee payments.

The Technology Integration to Improve Teaching and Learning (TITL) Program objectives are geared to meeting goals at the end of the three year program. At the end of three years, 50% of all teachers in the St. Thomas/St. John District will be at the infusion level of technology.


 
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Last Modified: 11/20/2012