Members of the CNMI Board of Education and Northern Marianas College Board of Regents began yesterday their joint assembly with presentations of each institution's goals and priorities.
BOE chair Marylou S. Ada and regents chair Juan T. Lizama separately delivered each board's statements and visions and how they are being carried out.
Dubbed as the first assembly of both entities, participants described the “first conversation” as a success following the creation of a six-member ad-hoc committee that will identify areas where both boards can collaborate on.
Ada appointed three of her colleagues-vice chair Tanya King, Herman Guerrero, and Lucy Blanco-Maratita-as BOE's representatives to the panel. Their counterparts from the Board of Regents are vice chair Elaine Orilla, William Torres, and Andrew Orsini.
Yesterday's meeting lasted more than an hour only and discussions centered only on two issues: the goals and priorities for NMC and PSS.
Lizama initially balked at making the ad-hoc appointments yesterday, saying the NMC board could probably discuss it first among themselves and appointment could probably be made at succeeding meetings. Orsini insisted, however, citing the urgency to establish a “meaningful partnership” with PSS.
During their brief presentations, NMC president Sharon Y. Hart, Ph.D., and Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, Ph.D., enumerated the strategic priorities of their respective institutions. Data and records were also shared to give each member information on where each institution stands at present.
Sablan described yesterday's event as “very significant” in achieving and fulfilling the goals for “Students First.” According to her, about 40 to 45 percent of public high school graduates each year enroll at NMC. This translates to about 200 to 300 students being absorbed by the college from the islands' five public high schools.
Sablan said PSS wants to ensure that high school students are transitioning smoothly to NMC. Hart assured that NMC prioritizes PSS graduates as soon as they exit high school.
In discussing the role of the community college in the education of every Commonwealth student, Hart said there seems to be some overlaps between the two institutions. Sablan described these overlaps as an indication that both PSS and NMC are working on the same priority, which is to prepare students for college and beyond.
According to Hart, it is important to get PSS' input as the college embarks on a five-year strategic plan. The college president also cited some issues that the two boards may work on such as remedial education.
There was no immediate decision yesterday on when their next joint assembly will be or the first meeting of the newly created ad-hoc panel.