An international education research think-tank is set to hold its annual board of directors’ conference in the Commonwealth next week, a first-time for the group.
Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan disclosed that the Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory, or McREL, has informed the school system that the organization has voted to conduct its annual directors’ meeting on island after hearing all the news about the Commonwealth.
“The reason why they have chosen Saipan PSS [as the venue of its annual directors’ meeting] is because of all the stories they hear about us and they wanted to come here and visit our public schools,” said Sablan, adding that school principals have been notified about this visit next week.
At a recent Pacific Education Conference held on island, McREL CEO Dr. Tim Waters expressed amazement at the progress shown by the CNMI school system in meeting the educational needs of its schoolchildren. He praised the Board of Education and the PSS leadership team for inspiring other jurisdictions’ education system.
McREL is a private education research and development corporation whose mission is “to make a difference in the quality of education and learning for all through excellence in applied research, product development, and service.”
Since 1966, the organization has grown to more than a hundred employees and a wide array of clients and contracts in nearly 50 states and around the world. It has a board of directors, based in the company’s Denver, Colorado, headquarters.
According to Sablan, all 12 members of the board of directors are slated to be on island for three days, from Sept. 17 through 19, and a tour of CNMI public schools is among the group’s agenda.
According to the McREL website, its board of directors is composed of Judy Richards, Michael Middleton, Mickey Bogart, Tim Waters, C. Patrick Woods, Sue Desch, Ken Anderson, Debbie Backus, Mike Ceballos, and Jim Edwards. These members are educators, business people, and policymakers who are responsible for guiding the work of the organization and ensuring it is responsive to the needs of educators throughout the country.
PSS has been tapping the services of McREL for professional development and institutes for public school leaders and employees for several years now.
Sablan said the group is expected to arrive on Sept. 17 and plans to meet the education board the next day, along with their visit to schools. The actual directors’ meeting is slated on Sept. 19.
Also on Sunday, Sept. 15, PSS expects to welcome 75 students and school staffers from a Japanese university for the group’s annual cultural and exchange program with Marianas High School. A welcome reception is slated at 4pm at the MHS campus.