WITH the 4-block schedule issue snowballing out of the schools into the community, Speaker Judi Won Pat said she will set up a meeting with the Guam Education Board to discuss the schedule.
“The teachers are all concerned about what was going on with the board and with this change from the scheduling,” Won Pat said.
When the whole discussion about the bell schedule started, Won Pat said she spoke with GEB chairman Francis Santos and some members of the board and the acting Guam Department of Education superintendent. Won Pat asked them to consult with stakeholders, specifically the teachers, before making any decisions.
“I told them: Don’t make any decision in three months or two months or even six months. You have to talk to the teachers. You got to plan. More importantly, you’ve got to get them to buy into this if you want it to work,” Won Pat stated.
She added: “I understand there will be one more meeting with the schools. I will sit with the board. I will sit with them even before they go into their next meeting and get ideas as to where they are going with this.”
A memo was circulated by GEB last March 6, indicating the adoption of the new 4-block schedule. Once implemented next year, the schedule will effectively reduce instruction time to core classes such as math, science and English and add two alternative classes to the current curriculum implemented in the high schools. In addition, it will add hours to teachers’ work schedules.
Won Pat, in her weekly Speaker’s address, also thanked the teachers, administrators, support staff and parents for a great school year, acknowledging their role in educating and nurturing students.
Won Pat, in particular, focused on the role of the teacher as the “center of the educational process” and thanked them for choosing to educate and help nurture students so they may realize their potential, learn about the world in which they live, and grow into becoming responsible and productive members of society.”
She stated: “Teachers, thank you for investing the extra time and effort outside of work in order to provide timely feedback on assignments; for coaching a school or village team; for serving as a club adviser; for communicating with parents via email or on student planners; for attending sports games or parent-teacher-association meetings; for cleaning your classrooms and helping to maintain campus grounds and facilities; and for spending your time, money and energy to get the supplies needed to effectively carry out your lesson plan. I know the sacrifices because for over 20 years, I, too, was a professional educator just like you.”
The Speaker also touched on the efforts made by the Legislature to address the need for new and improved school facilities. The Legislature, she said, “saw the need for safer schools and worked closely with the education board, the Judiciary, and the administration.”
In addition, she said “the Guam Legislature also responded to requests to strengthen the curriculum and preserve the Chamorro language and culture.”
Won Pat also mentioned working with “GDOE policy makers, the Office of Public Accountability and the Attorney General’s Office to author legislation to maximize and protect ARRA funding and to change its senior management structure to best suit the department’s needs.”
She also mentioned that she agreed with the comprehensive strategic document released by the governor’s education task force promoting instructional leadership, operational efficiencies, and parental and community support as the foundational pillars for education reform.