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Senate learns all Territory high schools are fully accredited

Fagaitua receives high marks, six-year accreditation
fili@samoanews.com

All public highs schools in American Samoa have received re-accreditation as the new school year is set to begin next Monday, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture has again approved funding to pay for bottled water delivery to all public and private schools in villages affected by the American Samoa Power Authority “boil water notice.”

This is according to the Department of Education director-designee Dr. Jacinta Galeai and deputy director of finance, Russell Aab, who appeared Thursday morning before the Senate Government Operations Committee to discuss, among other things, DOE’s preparation for the new school year.

HIGH SCHOOL ACCREDITATION

Responding to Sen. Mauga T. Asuega’s questions, Galeai said that as of yesterday “all high schools have gotten their accreditation,” adding that Fagaitua High School has been accredited for another six years.

In a June 28 letter to Fagaitua High principal Samasoni Asaeli the Accrediting Commission for Schools chairperson Harlan E. Lyso said the high school has been granted a “six year term accreditation, with a midterm review, expiring on June 30, 2018.”

“This action was taken after a careful study of the Visiting Committee Report which noted many laudable aspects of the school,” said Lyso in the letter obtained early this week by Samoa News. “The Commission is confident that your continuing efforts to focus on school improvement will be reinforced by prompt attention to critical areas for follow-up integrated into the action plan.”

Lyso says the midterm review consists of a written report from the school outlining progress made in implementing the school-wide action plan. Additionally the review must be completed by the end of the third year of the six-year term.

During the Senate hearing, Galeai said Samoana High School is accredited for another two years; while Tafuna and Leone high schools are each given another three-year accreditation.

Manu’a High also got its new accreditation, but Galeai didn’t say for how many years. She said Nu’uuli Vocational Technical High School got its accreditation last year.  None of the committee members asked about the number of years for which Manu’a and Nu’uuli VocTech were accredited.

Samoa News reported last September that the Accrediting Commission for Schools, a division of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, informed Nu’uuli VocTech in a July 7, 2011 letter of its accreditation for three years, ending June 30, 2014.

BOTTLED WATER

Like the last school year, Galeai said the DOE school lunch program will again provide bottled water or water coolers to public and private schools located in villages affected by ASPA’s ‘boil water’ notice.

DOE informed the committee that about $1 million has been allocated for this special project, after it was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which funds the school lunch program.

One committee member wanted to know the specific villages currently affected by the boil water notice, but Galeai said she didn’t have that information on hand but would provide it for the Senate as soon as possible.

Last November, ASPA removed more villages from the initial boil water notice while it continued to work with the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency to remove the notice completely from the territory.

Areas still on the Boil Water Notice, according to ASPA are:

•         All villages or areas East of the Antioch Assembly of God along the Iliili road, heading toward Tafuna.

•         The villages or areas East of the Futiga and Iliili junction along the main road through Pavaiai, affecting the Tafuna area all the way to Leloaloa.

Samoa News will report in Monday’s edition on conditions of schools affected by the 2009 tsunami, which completely destroyed the entire Taputapu Elementary School in Poloa.



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