Am. Samoa Educators Learn How To Combat School Bullying

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Training for school counselors provided by Federal government

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb. 7, 2016) – Bullying in public schools is one of the issues being addressed during a three-day training held this week for elementary and secondary school counselors.

Education director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau said the training is conducted by Dr. Yvonne Ryans, the chief executive officer of Education Northwest Center, one of the three centers funded by the federal government to provide technical assistant to the US Pacific territories and part of the Western Pacific area of the US.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Vaitinasa said Ryans is basically here to provide training for school counselors. "One of the issues faced in our schools is bullying. So that’s one of the issues, why she’s here," Vaitinasa explained. "Bullying is a big issue throughout the United States."

She said bullying "hinders" a student’s learning when they are afraid of other students calling them names or other students who may be doing things to distract them and make them feel less important.

In addition to bullying, "we’ve also asked her to do follow up training with regards to making sure our counselors are trained on how to help our children, select a career or college."

"Often time you talk with children as they move from 8th grade to 9th grade, but they still haven’t made up their mind whether they want to go to work after high school or they want to go to college," Vaitinasa points out.

"We hope the kids at least go for 2-year college before they go to work because it’s very demanding in the employment market now," she said. "So, this is one of the areas we’re asking Education Northwest to help us train the counselors to look at ways to help children make decisions in terms of career or college.

She said the training is free for ASDOE since Education Northwest is federally funded.

Meanwhile, Vaitinasa said in her weekly newsletter that members of the newly formed organization, American Samoa Association of Committed Educators-ASACEs, attended a workshop last Saturday at Nu’uuli Voc-Tech High School, facilitated by Ryans.

Representation from ASCC, the private and public schools were engaged in information sharing, participated in activities and talked on an array of topics from dealing with at-risk students, promoting positive classroom culture/climate to involving parents in their child’s education.

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