Full transition to new middle schools takes effect on July 1


Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan disclosed yesterday that three elementary campuses will fully transition to middle schools on July 1—the formal effective date of the PSS New Middle School Concept.

Sablan also disclosed yesterday the names of three individuals who have been selected as administrators of these new middle schools.

Ruth Calvo will be the principal of the soon-to-open Tanapag Middle School. Lynn Mendiola will head the Dandan Middle School. James Sablan will be principal of the San Antonio Middle School.

These middle schools will begin accommodating sixth to eight graders while their former primary grade students will be accommodated in cluster schools that include Koblerville, San Vicente, and Gregorio T. Camacho elementary schools.

By creating these three new middle schools on island, PSS now has a total of five middle school campuses in addition to Hopwood Junior High and Chacha Oceanview Middle School.

Hopwood is headed by principal Jonas Barcinas while Chacha has principal Vince Dela Cruz.

“July 1st is where everybody [fully] transitions. I already made the assignments [of new administrators], we have identified all our staffing needs, and we’re set to go,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune yesterday after the promotion ceremonies at Hopwood Junior High School.

The Board of Education approved the middle school concept last year, for implementation in school year 2014-2015.

Regular classes are scheduled to begin on Sept. 2 and the system anticipates about the same enrollment total of more than 10,000 on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

Before the school year ends, PSS approved the early registration for the new middle schools for smooth transition and conducted statewide professional developments and trainings for these middle schools’ personnel and administrators. Other preparations for the middle schools’ transformation, such as the construction of campus fences, are also in the works, including the transfer of collateral equipment and furniture.

Yesterday, Sablan announced before Hopwood graduates and their families that this will be the last promotions ceremony that Hopwood will host the biggest batch of graduates.

Sablan disclosed that beginning school year 2014-2015, Hopwood’s enrollment is expected to drop from the current over 1,200 students to only 700 enrollees because of the creation of additional middle school campuses.

“We’re moving our students closer to the community…and I thank our Board of Education for that mission,” said Sablan, adding that for many years, students-to-teacher ratio in the island’s biggest middle school was at a high of 30 students per class.

The PSS Middle School Project is composed of three phases. The initial phase was implemented this school year 2013-2014, which reconfigured the KagES and Chacha Oceanview Middle School. KagES accommodates kindergarten to fifth grade, while Chacha is home to sixth to eighth graders.

Phase 2 of the project include the merger of San Vicente and Dandan elementary schools, creating K-5 at SVES and transforming DES into a middle school. Also included is the merger of Koblerville and San Antonio elementary schools and the creation of a middle school in the area, and the merger of the GTC and Tanapag schools.

In Phase 3, once the Koblerville Junior High School is completed, the PSS management wants this school converted into a high school to relieve overcrowding at Marianas High School.

Moneth G. Deposa | Reporter

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