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DOE submits Class of 2020 graduation plans to Task Force

Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — While public school students continue their education from home as well as their homework packages during the coronavirus emergency declaration, Education Director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga says the local Eduction Department’s plan is to have seniors still graduate this school year and the plan is being submitted to the ASG’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Matagi-Tofiga provided a short summary of the plan during the task force meeting Sunday in response to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s call for ASDOE to continue its current program for educating students remotely with the government providing the support that’s needed, to make sure students are not left out.

Lolo notes that some states and territories have started to close-out this current school year but he asked ASDOE and others to “provide us with options” to continue to educate students away from the classroom.

While internet is been used for school work, there are some students who don’t have access to the internet, the governor said, and reiterated his call to find options to deliver education services to students during this challenging time.

Matagi-Tofiga gave a brief summary of ASDOE’s plan, saying that the federal grantor has given approval to conduct summer programs for the Head Start Program and Special Education and she has already spoken with the grantor about ASDOE’s current planning.

She also said that only a small number of seniors are behind in on either one or two classes and these students are working with their counselors and teachers with the goal that they will still graduate during the current school year.

And if there are seniors who continue to fall behind “we still have summer school,” she said, adding that ASDOE is submitting to the task force data on the current working from home program for students as well as an update for continued instructional programs.

Responding to Samoa News follow-up inquiries, Matagi-Tofiga said in a statement late Monday afternoon that, “I would like to commend all our teachers, school leadership, support staff and parents for embracing new educational strategies — distant learning coupled with homework packets.”

“This is a new chapter in public education and there is a learning curve for students, teaches and parents,” she said. “With safety and student learning as our top priorities, we navigate this transition with everyone’s patience and understanding.”

According to the director, the first semester report for the “six public high school senior classes has indicated that a very low percentage of senior students need assistance in passing their classes. Their high school senior counselors have contacted most of these student, and assistance is being provided for these students.”

She announced that the third quarter progress report would be distributed Thursday, Apr. 16th for public elementary and high schools. Parents, when they pick up their child’s homework packet, can also pick up the students’ 3rd quarter progress report along with their meals.

“Again, I want to thank our community for staying connected during this challenging time. We are here to serve and educate and will continue to do all we can for our students, staff and families,” she said.