Oleai Elementary School (OES) is located in San Jose, Saipan, approximately 450 students served by 45 staff members on a daily basis. Demographic data from AdminPlus shows that 42% of our student population are Filipino, 21% are Chamorro, 16% are Carolinian, and 2% are Chamolinian. The rest include 6% other Asians and 10.8% from our Micronesian neighbors. Despite challenges with funding, we are able to work with the different staffing positions that play a critical role in day-to-day responsibilities. Current OES faculty and staff include 2 administrators, 1 counselor, 1 librarian aide, 1 admin. assistant, 1 maintenance, 1 custodial worker, 21 classroom teachers, 2 SPED teachers, 7 teacher aides, 2 CCLHS teachers, 2 Title I teachers, and 1 Literacy Coach.
OES’s school zone include the villages south of Gualo Rai, Chalan Kiya, San Jose, Chalan Laulau, south-bound Beach Road, lower As Terlaje, and Kannat Tabla. The transition of our 6th grade classes to middle school happened at the end of SY15-16. Despite the expected decrease, our student population remained the same due to the addition of Kannat Tabla to our zone.
This year marks the 60th year since the founding of Oleai Elementary School. Significant changes in its structure, population, culture, administration, and curriculum are carved into its timeline; however, the school continues to show resilience and adaptability to changes in the community and to educational mandates that have changed over time. The following events occurred within the last three years and have significantly impacted the school:
● Uniform policy was enacted by our PTSA in 2015 mainly for student safety and school pride.
● Typhoon Soudelor in July of 2015 destroyed the island. The impact of the destruction affected teaching and learning throughout that school year; for some of our families, the storm had permanently changed their lives (e.g., relocation).
● Through the combined resources and effort of our school’s PTSA, Finance and FDM, much-needed renovations to our facilities (drop-off zone, restrooms, roofing, etc.) is now mostly complete.
● Public Law 06-10 mandated all children at the age of 5 to attend school. Beginning this school year, our total number of Kindergarten students rose from 45 to 62 and is expected to continue. Due to this increase, the need for an additional FTE is crucial to lower our current student-teacher ratio.
The school’s Vision and Mission statements have been the foundation upon which many of our programs and decisions are justifiably made. The education of our students require authentic experiences to enrich contents learned in the classrooms. Use of
manipulatives, media, field experts, etc. are widely used by teachers and staff. OES also encourages active participation in curricular and extracurricular activities of both our students and staff to “support the total development of EACH student.” To increase staff competence in carrying out their duties and responsibilities which support these statements, the school has ensured proper staffing and also put in place school-wide procedures and ongoing professional development trainings.
Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement
However, the true measurement of the school’s success in meeting our Vision and Mission lie in our students’ academic performance data. Since the inception of the Trilateral Plan three years ago, which focused on increasing reading levels by .5 or more in STAR Reading, we have seen great gains in our reading scores. Based on the SY17-18 ACT Aspire results, all assessed grade levels (3-5) in OES met their annual percentage growth rate for Reading and English as measured by the district’s average model. OES attributes its success to the Trilateral Plan and therefore, due to the declining math scores in ACT Aspire, OES plans to include Math in the Trilateral Plan, to utilize the same trilateral planning as a tool to drive our actions.
In the table below, we can clearly see the consistent gain each year. Staff reflections have revealed the influence of a data-driven culture that is definitely growing on our campus, as staff, students, and their families become familiar with goal-setting practices and consistently monitor and communicate student progress with stakeholders.
For SY18-19, OES is shifting its method of monitoring student progress (IRL) to Projected Scaled Score, following the methods used by the model schools in the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP). Our Trilateral goal is now “By the end of SY18-19, 75% of our students will meet their Projected Scaled Score as measured by STAR Reading and STAR Math.” In addition, grade levels teams are monitored for fidelity implementation practices of supplemental online programs such as KidBiz 3000, Smarty Ants, Accelerated Reader, etc.
Other notable achievements worth mentioning include:
● OES continues to be an active contender in state-level and community-sponsored events.
Below are exceptional recognitions for SY17-18:
● American Red Cross Walkathon: Our crowning glory has been for several years the American Red Cross Walkathon, an annual fundraising event in which OES continues to top the chart, pushing its school community to raise the most funds and enter the most walkers. This past school year, OES raised over $16, 000 and had over 200 walkers participate in the event.
● CNMI Statewide Spelling Bee: OES participant, Latisha De Jesus, won 1st place and represented CNMI at the Scripps Spelling Bee Regional competition in Guam where she was able to make it to Top 10 out of over 80 participants from around the Micronesia.
● Achieve 3000 All Stars: Two of our 4th grade teachers and one 4th grade student were recognized at the Achieve 3000 All Stars recognition ceremony. These individuals showed the most gain in the program, resulting in significant gain in lexile points across all 4th grade classes.
● OES inducted 16 deserving students into the 2018 National Elementary Honor Society Turtle Chapter.
● Teachers and staff continue to seek personal and professional growth to meet the demands of 21st century teaching and learning. CNMI teachers are also now in full implementation of brand new curriculum resources for every core subjects which prompts more trainings from our Office of Curriculum and Instruction and within the school’s personnel. The Literacy Coach program has been tasked to support teachers specifically in the implementation of guided reading. This began with a yearlong training as part of the SSIP last school year. This year, three other teachers have been identified to go through the same training due to their desire for a refresher to improve their guided reading implementation.
Beginning last school year, our school’s School-wide Improvement Plan (SWP) was revamped to cover and align with the District’s Six Strategic Priorities. The new format ensures the school is accountable and has a clear direction of what areas need to be improved in a school year.
This year we are adding in monitoring capacity of our SWP goals through our Principal’s Leadership Team (PLT) to allow for shared leadership. SWP has three progress updates to allow for progress monitoring, reflection, and revisions as needed to guarantee achievement of its goals and objectives and determine next steps for continuous improvement.