ASDOE 100 Day Report: Work underway to reclassify personnel
Local Department of Education personnel reclassification, teachers incentives, the department’s property and assets, and its student data based system are some of the final issues outlined in the ASDOE’s 100-days report submitted to the Governor’s Office.
Other points covered in the ASDOE report can be found in this week's Tuesday and Wednesday editions of Samoa News.
Under Personnel subheading “RECLASSIFICATION”, ASDOE director Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau said work is underway to reclassify ASDOE staff based on course work and completed credentials. Additionally, ASDOE is committed to provide the governor and lieutenant governor “a new and responsive teacher reclassification proposal” soon.
The plan will consist of three phases:
• Phase 1 - Reclassification of teachers and other school-level staff.
• Phase 2 - Reclassification of “blue-collar” employees (janitors, bus drivers, cooks, etc.)
• Phase 3 - Reclassification of ASDOE Management.
Under TEACHER INCENTIVES subheading, Hunkin-Finau says staff is drafting a teacher incentive program that will reward excellence in the classroom.
“This will not only encourage fully qualified teachers to remain in the classroom, but will encourage young Samoans to become teachers,” she said.
One of the biggest problem faced by ASDOE over the years and also cited by Hunkin-Finau during Fono testimony is that teachers holding Bachelors and Masters degrees often seek out higher paying jobs at other ASG departments because teacher's pay is so low.
In the 100-day report, Hunkin-Finau said ASDOE will also be proposing a non-teacher incentive program for educational support staff to support their return to the classroom. “We are seeking funding options to partially cover these efforts,” she said.
LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM
Hunkin-Finau reports that ASDOE has implemented a “comprehensive longitudinal student system” that allows for the collection of all student data into one system. This will allow the department to:
• Serve as the database for student demographics, records and scores.
• Analyze data as a basis for evaluation of all educational improvement efforts
• Evaluate student achievement and program implementation.
• Evaluate data over time to see trends and issues in schools in relation to academic achievement, student population, and student behavior.
“Additionally, for the first time, parents can now receive real-time data about their student’s attendance, academics, and behavior through the use of the Parent Connect portal,” she said.
The public online system does not allow the public to see sensitive data, but only district summaries of attendance and achievement.
PROPERTY AND ASSETS
ASDOE has an on-going comprehensive school facility assessment covering department property and assets. Hunkin-Finau noted that American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds allowed ASDOE to renovate many school facilities, but “these efforts have in no way met our entire needs.”
She also says that in February this year, U.S. Interior Department sent a team from the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a comprehensive building assessment under the Insular ABC’s program.
She says they are now waiting for the final report, which will provide a cost estimate, and analysis of buildings on school campuses.
In addition, the ASDOE staff has completed an assessment of all school bathroom facilities, and with the governor’s approval, ASDOE has ordered $100,000 worth of fixtures which are being installed to repair all school bathrooms.
Moreover, playgrounds at the Pavai’i’ai, Lupelele, Tafuna, and Fagatogo ECE centers, are completed as per federal requirements.
She further pointed out that ASDOE has four projects funded with Capital Improvement Project funds. The two buildings at Leone High School have an estimated completion date of July, 2013. The other projects are the Leone Midkiff Elementary School cafeteria, the Nu’uuli Vocational Technical High School cafeteria and bathrooms, and the Faga’itua High School vocational education building.
Under the VEHICLE ASSESSMENTS subheading, the director said that after receiving reports about the poor condition of some vehicles, the ASDOE conducted a comprehensive assessment. This included special education vehicles and school buses.
“From this, we now have a purchasing and repair plan, based on immediate needs, and are currently working on a maintenance and replacement schedule,” she said. “This will save costs, and provide safe transportation for our students. We still need buses to ease the pressure on the current bus routes, and we are working with DOI to prioritize bus purchases.”
Additionally, ASDOE has reassigned vehicles to meet the greatest needs, including providing vehicles for Aunu’u as well as Manu’a schools (Olosega and Ta’u).
In addition to the assessments, the ASDOE is in the process of implementing a program to improve the equipment and training for the Bus Garage.
Last year, ASDOE received a grant from DOI to purchase equipment and parts to repair buses, and to provide training to mechanics and drivers. This project is underway, and training will be held this summer.
Samoa News should point out that the total grant is $739,453 under the DOI’s Maintenance Assistance program.