PSS: More than half of HS graduates college-bound

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Posted on Jul 21 2016

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CNMI Public School System Federal Programs officer Tim Thornburgh delivers his report to the members of the CNMI State Board of Education in last week’s meeting held at the Napu Room of the Pacific Islands Club Saipan. (Jon Perez)

CNMI Public School System Federal Programs officer Tim Thornburgh delivers his report to the members of the CNMI State Board of Education in last week’s meeting held at the Napu Room of the Pacific Islands Club Saipan. (Jon Perez)

A large number of CNMI students under the Public School System would most likely go to college, based on a report by PSS Federal Programs officer Tim Thornburgh.

Thornburgh’s report covers recent graduates from Kagman, Marianas, Saipan Southern, Tinian, and Dr. Rita H. Inos high schools.

In the report, Thornburgh said 60 percent of CNMI high school graduates attend college, closer to the 63 percent average for high school graduates in the U.S. mainland. Thornburgh’s report is part of the Consolidated Grant for the 2016-17 school year, aligned to PSS strategic priorities.

The report said this was part of CNMI PSS’ programs in producing college and career-ready students. Kagman High School started with its Million Dollar Scholars program that helps seniors get into college and acquire scholarships from various agencies

Saipan Southern High School, meanwhile, has a nursing assistant program, while PSS also partnered with the Latte Training Academy to train and award globally recognized certificates from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.

The integration of English Language Arts, mathematics, and the use of technology instruction are some of the programs for PSS’ college and career-ready standards.

The report added that the CNMI enjoys high student performance based on the results from various competitions that they joined, whether locally or nationally. There are over 2,000 public school students who participate in different academic and non-academic competitions yearlong.

These are the Forensic Leagues, Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics, Math Court, Mock Trial, Performing Arts Show Choir and School Band, Spelling Bee, Geography Bee, JROTC, and numerous other competitions.

The MHS Aeronautical Dolphins were also mentioned after their drone design won the Real Design World Challenge national title with a five-minute video presentation to be shown in next week’s Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Aeronautical Dolphins have won two RWDC national titles and have been Pacific champions five times.

“Comprehensive Service for Early Childhood Education, middle school, and college and career technical education programs are also an evidence of high student performance,” said Thornburgh in his report.

He added that 57 percent of students from the 3rd to 10th grades scored readiness in English proficiency tests with a high of 72 percent in the 7th grade. They scored only 40 percent in the 9th grade on the Act Aspire tests—which assesses students’ readiness in English, math, reading, science, and writing—for school year 2015-16.

The CNMI has also produced 11 Millennium Gates scholars, the most number of high school graduates that received the scholarship among U.S. territories in the Pacific. Guam and American Samoa had two and one, respectively.

The states of Missouri and Hawaii had eight and three apiece, while another three came from the Federated States of Micronesia (two from Chuuk and one from Yap) and two from Palau. FSM and Palau enjoys freely associated status with the U.S.

California had the highest number of students accepted to the program with 181.

Another 15 percent of CNMI high school graduates enter the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard) compared to a 1.5-percent average in the U.S.

Twenty percent of CNMI high school graduates will also seek employment, while 5 percent are uncertain, according to Thornburgh’s report.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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