Six American Samoa Elementary Schools Receive Accreditation For First Time

Initial 3 year WASC accreditation achieved

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, July 12, 2016) – The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has given — for the first time here in the territory — accreditation to six-public elementary schools, following a WASC team visit in May this year.

A report distributed by the local Education Department in November shows that the six elementary schools targeted for accreditation were Leone Midkiff, Manulele, Leatele, Afonotele, Masefau and Alofau.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, ASDOE acting assistant director for Elementary Education division, Siauini Ta’ala confirmed that these six schools have been granted the “initial accreditation” of three-years for each school, and this accreditation expires in 2019.

“This is both excellent and great news not only for the Education Department but the territory as a whole, because this is something new for public elementary schools — getting accredited after going through the accreditation process,” Ta’ala told Samoa News yesterday. “Public high schools have been going through this process for many years and now it’s our elementary schools.”

He explained that the “initial accreditation” is for three years, and before the expiration, the same six schools will then go through a “full accreditation process” in which a large number of team members from WASC will again visit these schools.

“And although the initial accreditation is for six elementary schools, it’s still a great  achievement for each school,” he said proudly.

A Samoa News search online on the WASC Accrediting Commission for Schools (ACS), shows that all six elementary schools have been given the “accredited” designation, but no other information is available on its website, which also states that, “Initial accreditation is for schools that meet the ACS WASC criteria for full accreditation and have a history and support system indicating a high-quality program that can be sustained into the foreseeable future.”

Ta’ala explained to Samoa News that getting these schools accredited involved “all stakeholders” not just the school principal, but teachers, administrators, cooks, maintenance, janitors, members of the Parents and Teachers Associations, as well as members of the community — including parents — who all have important input for the accreditation process.

“This is an accomplishment of the community where the schools are located and it’s been made possible with everyone’s involvement,” he said.

Ta’ala said the next six elementary schools to undergo accreditation are: Mt. Alava, Matafao, Siliaga, Pavaiai, Faleasao and Matatula. He says the WASC accreditation team visitations for these schools will begin next year.

Education director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau, who was off island as of yesterday attending meetings, told reporters last November that the goal for accreditation is to have the WASC go through a full review of the schools and make recommendations of needed corrective actions or improvements — from classroom instructions to school facilities.

WASC will then write up a complete report for each specific school, on plans for that school going forward, looking at instruction, teachers training, the role of parents at the school — just like the high schools, she explained.

The Samoa News
Copyright © 2016. The Samoa News. All Rights Reserved

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