Dandan Middle School (DMS) is located in Dandan, that is a village the southern area of the Saipan. Dandan Middle School was formerly known as Dandan Elementary School, which was established back in 1999. The transition for Dandan Elementary School to become a Middle School happened during the school year of 2014-2015. The purpose of this transition was to help alleviate the huge student population in the one and only junior high school then, which was Hopwood Junior High School. This transition included two other elementary schools that transitioned to a middle school, these schools are Francisco Sablan Middle School, Tanapag Middle School. The population of each middle school seems to be increasing throughout the years. DMS opened this School year 2018-2019 with 362 students and serves the villages of Dandan, San Vicente, Airport Road, Fina Sisu, As Lito, Kannat Tabla and Papago.
DMS serves families from diverse ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. At the end of school year 2017-18, 73% of DMS students qualified for the free meal program, while the rest benefited from the reduced meal program. About 40% of our student population are of Chamorro descent, 30% are Filipino, 6% are Carolinian, 3% are Palauan and the smaller percentages include students of Caucasian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Chuukese, Russian and Pohnpeian. In school year 2017-2018, 14% of student population were identified as English Language Learners, and 9% were students receiving Special Education services.
The school teaching staff and support staff are dedicated to provided quality and effective learning opportunities and helping students achieve their goals and fullest potential. Our teaching staff consists of 21 individuals that vary from classroom teachers and instructors. Fifty-three percent of our teaching staff are of Filipino descent, 39% are Chamorro, 9% are African American, and 4% are of Korean descent. The school administration consists of a Principal and a Vice Principal. Our support staff include an administrative officer, school aide, librarian, school guidance counselor, building maintenance and tradesman. Our teaching staff includes 2 special education teachers, and four teacher aides. Twenty-two percent of our teaching staff are Master Degree holders. About 87% of our teachers, including Special Education, are certified by the CNMI Board of Education. The school counselor, principal, vice principal, and leadership instructors are also certified by our Board of Education.
Dandan Middle School’s vision, mission and purpose are aligned with the CNMI Public School System’s Mission and Vision, which are:
- Children will enter school ready to learn
- Children will develop into happy, self-respecting, understanding, and contributing members of society;
- Students graduating from high school will be able to compete and excel in an increasingly global marketplace;
- CNMI Public School System faculty and staff will be certified, qualified, and effective;
- CNMI Public School System and related facilities will be safe, disciplined, drug free and accessible to all;
- CNMI Public School System will advocate for financial resources to ensure quality; and education
- Parents and communities will partner with schools and programs to improve the education of our Children
- To offer equal educational opportunity for all students by providing optimum curriculum, instruction, community service, and work experience in academic and career–technical education so that they become productive and contributing members of the Commonwealth and the global world;
- To provide certified, qualified, and effective faculty and staff;
- To plan, build, and maintain school facilities conducive to learning, safe, orderly, and accessible to all;
- To establish effective communications and collaboration of all stakeholders for meaningful and productive partnerships;
- To allocate financial and technical resources to meet the educational needs of all students
Our purpose at Dandan Middle School is to provide a safe and orderly school that prepares our students to be physically, emotionally, socially and academically ready for high-school where they continue to grow and become college and career ready individuals. We also take pride in preparing our students to be technology savvy and to have the 21st-century skills that makes them a significant candidate in our competitive workforce.
Dandan Middle School has launched several pilot programs for the public school system. We launched the Natural Helpers, PREP Afterschool Programs, Pure Edge and many other programs that promote social emotional learning and health and wellness practices. Our school guidance counselor supports social and emotional growth of all students and collaborates with school staff, student, our student council organization and our school administrators to conduct classroom guidance lessons. Our school counselor uses the Second Step Curriculum, Mindful Lifestyle lessons, and other resources that integrates with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) standards.
The Title I Consolidated Grant, Local Operations Allocation, Wellness Allocation, Career and Technical Education and Parent Involvement funding gives us the opportunity to allocate and procure instructional materials, resources, and training needed to support studentlearning. We have several initiatives that target our Reading, Math, and Technology skills. Our leadership team develop action plans and helps implement our initiative and does consistent tracking and monitoring to make sure our initiative actions are being followed through. This year’s School-wide Improvement Plan is aligned to the following CNMI Public School System’s Strategic Priorities: High Student Performance, Highly Qualified and Effective Personnel, and High Performing and High Reliability Systems. At the end of each school year, all DMS staff collaborate to analyze student performance data, determining areas of concerns to be addressed for the next school year. For this school year, we have plans to hold a quarterly data dialogue with our staff to consistently track our data and see if any actions need to be amended to help the success rate of each initiative. DMS teachers and staff continues to improve efforts to integrate teacher and student-directed technology, increase reading and math individual grade levels and prepare our students to for high school.
Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement
Dandan Middle School takes pride in being the only school in the CNMI Public School System that has a one-to-one laptop program on campus. As a Future Ready School, our goal is to provide technology enhanced lessons and prepare our students attain 21st- Century Skills and be college and career-ready when they reach high school.
Dandan Middle School has consistently demonstrated growth in the ACT Aspire Interim and Summative Assessments, CNMI Standards Based Assessment as well has the STAR Assessments. We’ve thrived and participated in interscholastic sports and academic competitions such as the National Junior Speech and Debate Association (NJSDA), Valentine Sengabau Poetry Competition, Mock Trial, Academic Challenge Bowl, Science, Island-wide STEM Fair, CCLHS Language Competition, Spelling Bee, Math Court, and many interscholastic sports competitions. We’ve also won several district level competition such as the Library Month Book Trailer competition, which we won for two consecutive years, and the Annual Education Day Logo Competition that we’ve won for four straight years consecutively. Our students, who are active participants of the NJSDA had competed in national competitions in the mainland and have brought home gold and silver awards for the past three years. This also includes the highest achievement for the national middle school level.
Our PTSA Officers and Committee are also very instrumental in the successes that we’ve had as a school. Their continuous support has provided us with necessary resources we need to provide a safe and orderly learning environment for our students. One successful project that they did was the school basketball court that they fundraised and built for our students. This was a two year fundraising effort, and is now being utilized by our students and community members. The PTSA plays a significant role on the improvement of our infrastructure and school initiative incentives. Our school has several community partners who support the school through special presentations, donations, and providing competitive opportunities for our students, especially in the area of art. Significant improvements have been made to address areas found lacking during the self-assessment process. Some of which included having a more active leadership team, implementing a formal data analysis.
Dandan Middle School has adopted the Data-Driven Decision-Making process introduced to school principals provided by consultants from McRel. Our content department teams utilize the process each quarter after analyzing student performance data. Data-driven action plans are developed, implemented, and monitored by teams to help bridge gaps in student achievement. During Half Day sessions, department teams are given time to meet for collaboration, instructional planning, progress-monitoring, sharing of strategies and resources. Procedures, guiding questions and expectations for team meetings provided and feedback is recorded for better planning and improvement. This practice has allowed our school to become a more purposeful community. Each staff member plays a major role and they understand that their participation and input is important as we plan to meet our goals.
We will continue to strive for student improvement in all academic areas. The data we gathered from our School Quality Factors Diagnostic indicates that there are some areas that still need improvement, and we will continue to address and improve.