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Thursday, April 24, 2014

NMC, PSS chiefs meet to deepen partnership

Northern Marianas College president Dr. Sharon Hart and Public School System Education Commissioner Dr. Rita Sablan met this week in an effort to further strengthen ties between the two educational agencies.

In the presence of officials and representatives of the two institutions, Hart outlined President Barack Obama’s Ratings Plan for Higher Education and the potential impact this plan will have on NMC if approved and implemented.  

President Obama’s plan will measure college performance through a new ratings system so students and families have the information to select schools that provide the best value. And after this ratings system is well established, Congress can tie federal student aid to college performance so that students maximize their federal aid at institutions providing the best value.

Hart also shared The College Completion Agenda State Policy Guide developed by the College Board. It was written in collaboration with the National Conference of State Legislators as a research and innovation tool. It serves as a state policy guide to help K-12 educators, higher education leaders, and legislatures. It lists 10 recommendations for all states.  

“The College Completion Agenda needs to be central to what NMC focuses on. As K-12 is strongly linked to students’ preparedness to enter higher education, we need to work together for joint success,” Hart told Saipan Tribune yesterday.

According to her, they also reviewed and made editing changes/suggestions to the Joint Board Resolution, which is being developed between the NMC Board of Regents and the PSS Board of Education. The suggested changes will then go back to both boards for further review and then hopefully adoption.

“Significant time was also spent addressing remediation. We are now exploring new approaches to entrance testing at NMC,” Hart disclosed.

According to Leo Pangelinan, NMC dean of Student Services, “It was clear during the discussion that PSS and NMC are focused on increasing the number of graduates who place in college-level courses. PSS and NMC agreed that NMC English and math placement tests should be administered earlier to identify deficiencies and improve student preparation for college-level courses.”

“NMC plans to continue to work on recognizing alternative placement methods to include AP test scores and academic performance in high school,” added Pangelinan.

Hart also shared NMC’s draft strategic plan, “Strategic Imperative One,” with the PSS commissioner, as the first section is specific to an improved working relationship with PSS. 

“It was a very good meeting overall. We aim to continue these discussions to ensure that we are maximizing resources and opportunities for our students,” added Hart.
Also at the meeting were PSS associate commissioner Jackie Quitugua and Jackie Che and Bobbie Merfalen of NMC.

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