Marianas High School, located in the Susupe village on the island of Saipan, was founded in 1969 as the first public high school in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Over the past three years, MHS has experienced significant growth in student population, from approximately 1480 students in 2015-2016 to over 1600 in 2017-2018. This rise in student population has arrived concurrently with increased teaching, administrative, and support staff, from 68 in 2014 to 80 in 2018, and a increase in our overall budget for daily operations. Senior management has remained largely stable over the past seven years with the principal remaining the same and vice principals always having at least one year experience in the positions.
Our diverse population of students and staff includes stakeholders from over twenty one different ethnic and language groups. MHS faces challenges: 59% of our student population falls below the per household poverty guideline (according to our Federal Free Lunch data). At the same time, the economic environment is improving. Local budgets have risen to record levels, and MHS’s operations budget is the highest it’s ever been. Still, labor challenges remain, and with those challenges come emotional difficulties for students as the employment situations of their parents are fragile and unstable. Student teacher ratios have risen for three consecutive years and remain higher than any other school in the CNMI.
The unique features of the communities associated with MHS include large and close knit extended family networks, a high percentage of non-native English speaking parents, an itinerant and mobile population with large numbers of non-immigrant workers, and a sense of generosity, care, and concern for the school and the attending students.
Marianas High School is located on the island of Saipan, which is part of a 15 island chain that makes up the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, located in the Western Pacific. It is the oldest public secondary institution. Marianas High School is proud of the cultural diversity within its campus. Although the indigenous people, the Chamorros and Carolinians, comprise the largest ethnic groups, Marianas High School is also influenced by a blend of students from the various Micronesian island states, the Republic of Palau and Marshall Islands, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Bangladesh, and the U.S. Mainland. The English language is the link that bonds the education process in the school environment.
Marianas High School is a community of learners; students, staff and the community-at-large work with each other to develop our intellectual, social, and cultural potential. Our potential is unlimited, and therefore, MHS will take the risks inherent in the learning process, make quality-learning experiences accessible to all, and work together to find solutions to further prepare students for success after high school. Our diversity and belief in mutual respect unifies us in our "Team Effort Towards Excellence."
Marianas High School opened in the fall of 1969 and graduated its first senior class in the spring of 1970. Marianas High School is accredited by North Central Association and holds membership in the College Board. The academic program is organized on a rotating block schedule. Four (4) credits per semester is the maximum course load.
Students take four 75-minute block classes with four regular classes daily. Language Arts and Math classes are year-long. Block Scheduling was instituted in 2001. MHS offers eight Advanced Placement® courses in the following: AP Chemistry, AP Calculus, AP English Language, AP English Literature, AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP United States History, AP World History. AP is an open-enrollment program wherein interested students have equity and access to the courses; additional classes such as AP Economics, AP Human Geography, AP Art Courses are under consideration for additional future offerings.
All of our teaching staff must possess at least a bachelor's degree, be state certified, and demonstrate competency in their subject area by passing a rigorous content area test known as PRAXIS. Additionally, to maintain their state certification, teachers are required to complete 60 hours of professional development annually.
In order for students to qualify for top ten educational awards, Board of Education Regulations state "The students' completed courses must include a minimum of fifty percent (50%) honor or AP courses in the core subject areas of language arts, math, science and social studies offered during the students enrollment with the high school unless such courses are not offered," in addition to having the highest percentile grade point averages (GPA). GPA Calculation GPA is computed using the above quality points. Beginning with grade 9, all subjects, whether passed or failed, are included in the computation. A minimum of 28 credits is required for graduation. In addition to the required 28 credits, each student must complete 40 hours of community service and submit an Electronic Portfolio at the end of their Senior Year .AP and Honors classes are weighted. Grades are recorded on the transcript and grade point averages are computed at the end of each term.
Marianas High School is dedicated to giving young people opportunities to continue to develop into happy, self-respecting, and contributing members of society with college or career readiness. Thus, students are provided with a well-rounded education in both academic and career technical education courses as well as in co-curricular programs which foster enthusiasm for developing reasoning skills and assuming individual responsibility. These programs must be accessible to all, must meet individual needs, and must foster an understanding not only the culture of the commonwealth but also of the cultures of the people and nations that make up our stakeholder community.
The mission of the MHS community is to establish, maintain, and sustain a learning environment in which all students have the opportunity to develop the competencies and the confidence necessary to enter and succeed in a global society. MHS's motto, Team Effort Towards Excellence, describes both our goals and the means to achieve our goals. Unity and diversity are our strengths; by sharing knowledge and skills, we strengthen one another and the whole.
Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement
At Marianas High School, any discussion of notable achievements and areas where solid and steady improvement has been made over the last three years must begin with our work on improving reading ability; at MHS, we've hitched our progress meter and efforts to improve reading abilities onto the critically researched and acclaimed program, Achieve3000. We set as a school goal our School Wide Initiative that 75% of our total student body could each attain at least a 50 Lexile increase in a single school year; for three years running, our expectations, beliefs, and school goal have been met. In fact for SY 2017-2018, our approximately 1600 students completed over 78,000 Achieve 3000 activities and gained an average increase of 102 Lexiles, far surpassing our 50 Lexile goal.
STEM programs also drive excellence at MHS, and the straw that stirs the STEM drink at MHS is our Real World Design Challenge Team, an extra-curricular group that, since founded, has won two National Championships and whose members spend the equivalent of a full-time job with overtime when preparing for the rigors of the competition. While dominating local and regional competition for the past seven years , the RWDC team also won an award in 2016 for best use of mentors. At last year's national championship, the Aeronautical Dolphins once again returned to the award stage with a 2nd place overall finish.
A second area of STEM excellence at MHS is encompassed in our Arc Architects, a forward-thinking team of student architects who compete in state and regional environmentally-friendly architectural design competitions. In the last three years of this event, MHS has shown to be steadily competitive: it took 1st Place in 2016, 3rd place in 2017, and 1st place again in 2018 in the Island Sustainability Green Dream Project Competition held in Guam. In addition, for the past two years, the team has won the People's Choice award.
MHS students are not limited in expertise only to math and science; the school's performing artists, - actors, singers, musicians, and dancers - also prove to be exemplary in local, state, national, and international competitions. Steadily dominant in Pacific regional finals, in the last three years, approximately thirty MHS students have annually participated in the International Thespians Festival in Nebraska. Additionally, MHS students compete annually in the Tumon Bay Music Festival, bringing home numerous Superior rankings, Best of Show, and People's Choice awards. Over the past seven years, the MHS Rhythm N Harmony Glee Club has won the Command Performance, or overall award six times.
Culturally, MHS continues to represent and develop the Chamorro and Carolinian Language and Heritage Program at the high school level through performances in speech, song, dance, dramatic performances, and persuasive speech at local and regional competitions. In fact, the MHS POLKSAI Chamorro Club has continued to dominate the University of Guam’s Chamorro Language competition annually for the past fifteen years. Out of the 30 awards given, MHS continues to win about 90% of all Gold Medals at this competition.
Marianas High School continues to work towards increasing stakeholder involvement at all levels. Our Parent Teachers Association (PTA) has been rejuvenated by concerned parents and actively supports schools functions at all levels. Our administrators and faculty work closely with the PTA to support student work at home, offering sessions on such varied topics as literacy, safe and effective computer usage, and the school process for parents and community members in after school seminars and presentations. Community sponsors, such as the Saipan World Resort, DFS Saipan, Joeten Enterprises and other local businesses provide support for a number of school functions, including the donation of musical instruments and the provision of coaching and instruction in areas as varied as choir, the visual arts, and athletics. Our PSS Central Office also readily supports our classes with increased physical and financial resources, guest speakers, curriculum guidance, and operational assistance.