AdvancED team evaluates PSS

A 10-member review team from AdvancED, a non-profit organization that accredits primary and secondary schools in the U.S. and around the world, is visiting the CNMI to review, validate and assess  its public schools.

Maria I. Ojeda, AdvacED regional director for Latin America and one of the visiting review members, was at Garapan Elementary School on Wednesday morning to conduct an evaluation.

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Maria I. Ojeda, AdvancED regional director for Latin America, and AdvancED volunteer Darin Schmidt, principal of Shemzhen International American School, visited Garapan Elementary School on Wednesday morning.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

She said they have 33 standards of quality that they look for in a school or school system. “We have two types of accreditation, one for the system and another for the school.”

She said their team has also been on Tinian and Rota to look at the public schools there, from the Early Head Start center to high school.

According to Ojeda, AdvancED is an accrediting agency and their goal is to help educational institutions improve.  

AdvancED, Ojeda said, is partners with 36,000 schools in 79 different countries.

“We are looking at how leadership, learning, teaching, and resources support the educational needs of students,” she said.

 During an evaluation, Ojeda said they observe students in classrooms and how they are learning. “We want to know if the curriculum is implemented with fidelity and rigor.”

She added, “We are looking at the facilities too. We make sure that those facilities serve students well.” She said they also talk to parents, teachers and administrators.

“How friendly everybody is [in the CNMI], especially the students. They are very outspoken, dynamic. They really want to learn. There is a commitment on the part of the [Public School System]  to make education better for the kids. I was struck by that — they want to have a very good school system for the kids.”