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Exec Order adopts Common Core State Standards, ASDOE is implementor

Gov. Togiola Tulafono has followed up an announcement, during the American Samoa Department of Education general assembly in August, by DOE director-designee Dr. Jacinta Galea'i that DOE has adopted the Common Core State Standards for this school year.

Galea'i explained that this set of expectations provide a consistent, clear pathway of what students are expected to learn so teachers know what they need to do to help them.

Togiola signed an executive order last Wednesday, adopting the Common Core State Standards and formalizing DOE's use of these educational standards.

The executive order's preamble provides the background for the state led Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), coordinated by National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State Officers “based on the highest, most effective models from states across the United States and around the world.”

The initiative provides consistent standards to teachers and parents with appropriate benchmarks for students' progress relative to other students within the students’ same age group.

It hopes to provide a greater opportunity for states to share experiences of best practice that can lead to an improved ability to best serve young people with disabilities and language learners.

“Additionally, the K-12 English language arts and mathematics standards include information on application of the standards for English language learners and students with disability,” said Togiola.

The order designates ASDOE to ensure CCSSI is implemented in American Samoa,

•     Aligned with college and work expectations;

•         Are clear, understandable and consistent;

•         Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;

•         Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;

•         Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and

•         Remain evidence and research based.

The order states that ASDOE has authority and supervision over CCSSI's implementation in the territory’s schools for grade levels K - 12; ensure that K - 12 schools in the territory use CCSSI as a basis for their curriculums; and ASDOE may set the time period for implementing CCSSI and work to implement them in a timely manner.

By taking these actions “the American Samoa Government believes it will increase the education provided to K - 12 students in American Samoa and will prepare these students for success in college and work,” said Togiola. More information on the SSCCI is available online on the national website:

Veteran educator Paulo Salave’a is the chairman of the newly formed Common Core Standard Committee which is currently working on a timeline and plan that will guide the adoption of the standards. (See Samoa News Aug. 7 issue for more details from the ASDOE general assembly.)