Saipan Southern High School (SSHS) opened its doors on August 16, 2002, and has remained a vanguard of excellence in education in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). SSHS is one of the three public high schools on the island of Saipan, and serves the village communities of Koblerville, San Antonio, and Dandan. Compared to the opening of the school, currently our student population is at 747. With the increase in demand of offering many more classes that will help the students’ college and career readiness, we must look into building more classrooms to better serve our students and community.
SSHS has become a symbol of pride for the CNMI. Our students have represented the Commonwealth in national and international competitions. Since the school opening, our Manta Band has traveled to New York to compete and performed at 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England. Our students matriculate at colleges and universities across the United States and around the world, and they also serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“Un Eskuela, Un Korason. One School. One Heart.” Is our school motto. Each day every member of our school family strives to live this motto. These words resonate with administrators, counselors, teachers, staff members and the students who remain at our campus and those who have passed through this campus and have moved on to other ventures.
Our students come from many parts of Asia and from many of the island territories and nations of the Pacific. The students we serve come from families who have come to the CNMI to work and many more who now call the CNMI home. Because SSHS’ high academic standards, many in our community have come to associate our school with prestige and honor. Many of our students come from the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, and SSHS stands equipped to serve them regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
Many Members of our teaching staff are local hires, while many still come from the U.S. We also have 7 alumni who teach in the English and Math departments. They are testament to the work that SSHS has done and the work that SSHS will continue to do with our current students.
SSHS has one administrative office which houses the offices of the principal, vice principal, administrative officer, secretary and computer network room. The school conference room is also in this building. The counseling building holds the counseling offices for our three school counselors, the registrar’s office, the nursing station and Manta Student Pride store.
SSHS has nine classroom buildings. Building A has four classrooms and two special education resource classrooms. Building B houses two JROTC classrooms and five classrooms. Building C has six classrooms, and Building D has five classrooms. Building E houses the Art classroom, Building F has Woodworking and Physical Education classroom, Building G has the band classroom, and building H is the ceramics classroom. Building I holds four classrooms. Adjacent to Building I is the library. The library provides students with over 5,000 books, references, magazines and internet research area. The JROTC training pad is located on the east side of the campus across the Manta Stage which hosts many student activities around the school year. Manta Stage was added to our site in 2015 with the tremendous help from our PTSA and community members. The basketball and volleyball courts are adjacent to the Building H.
Our first full Western Association for Accrediting Schools and Colleges accreditation self-study resulted in a six-year accreditation with a midterm visit, and as such, we have maintained the highest expectations of ourselves and our students in ensuring that we provide all our students with every opportunity to excel. With a few recommendations from the mid-term visit, we continue to work towards making our school the best it can possibly be to the best of our abilities.
Armed with a “Students First” work ethic and collaborative spirit, the Manta Ray faculty and staff continue to work towards their goal of achieving a full affirmation of the school’s accreditation status through the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, AdvanceED.
Through shared leadership and collaboration with all stakeholders, the SSHS Leadership Team facilitated the revision of the school’s Mission, Vision, Philosophies, Belief Statements, and Expected School-wide Learning Results to reflect the changing needs of our student population and community.
The mission of Saipan Southern High School in the 21st century is to develop students into academically fit, ethically guided, culturally award, socially responsible, independently articulate, and technologically literate individuals.
Through learning, we strive for virtue and greatness with the purpose of serving the community.
Philosophy: As a community, we share the responsibility of educating our students in a challenging and nurturing environment. By accommodating different learning styles within a diverse community, we seek to foster motivation for life-long learning in each student.
- Each member of our school community plays an integral part in fostering student success.
- With the proper resources and opportunities, all students will become critical thinkers, effective communicators, technologically literate, and socially responsible.
- Our school provides an environment where all students are supported in reaching their fullest potential.
- As a diverse community, we promote and exhibit tolerance, understanding, and compassion.
- We have pleasant and environmentally conscious educational community.
Expected Schoolwide Learning Results (ESLRs)
M = Master Curriculum and Maximize Critical Thinking
A = Achieve Effective Communication
N = Neutralize Cultural Barriers
T = Take Technology into Future
A = Aspire to be Socially Responsible
S = Strive to be a Lifelong Learner
Students are encouraged to embrace the mission, vision and philosophy of SSHS in a variety of ways. ESLRs are incorporated into lesson plans, many of which utilize cooperative learning opportunities and provide outlets for “thinking outside the box.” We also offer students the chance to apply their knowledge and skills in real-life situations such as raising money to participate in The Olympics because we acknowledge and respect students as stakeholders in their education and that education is not relegated to four walls in a school. Perhaps our greatest means of embodying our school’s purpose is the continued growth of programs that challenge our students, such as the Teacher Academy as part of Career Pathway project. This is a vital aspect of our school’s purpose of raising the bar, so that students continue to reach and surpass expectations of the school, community and self.
Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement
Course Offerings - School year 2018 - 2019 opened its doors with multiple new courses for students. AP Computer Science is an equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in Computer Science.
Student Leadership course goal is to improve the character and leadership skills of students. Immerse students with 18 commonly valued traits and improve reading, writing, public speaking and higher order of thinking. Woodworking Class will help develop the fundamentals of carpentry for students who are aiming to improve their trades skills. Journalism class will cover the fundamentals of Journalism. Students will be able to study journalism as they take a closer look at media and various media mediums that they as consumers encounter on a daily basis.
Arts Collaboration – On annual basis, the fine arts instructors and their students collaborate to present the school community with a holiday extravaganza that includes musical performances, visual arts displays and backdrops, ceramics creations and other student-created handicrafts. In the past year, our school’s ceramics program and musical program restarted due to hire of new teachers and with pride, we believe that the program will continue to excel as we always did.
The arts programs in conjunction with other student organization (STUCO, NHS, Interact Club) participates in community-wide events that occur annually such as the Christmas in the Marianas, Japanese Autumn Festival, Flame Tree Arts Festival, and other artistic endeavors and competitions. In the past school year, our Arts program produced two very talented students who won a Bridge Capital’s Art Contest (open to all CNMI schools) and another was named as Congressional Arts winner.
Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) – SSHS’ JROTC program is an elite program that has received numerous achievements every school year. Instructors believe in the student leaders and with pride can say that we have a great program for the students.
Student Athletics - Although we lack the facility for the athletics program, SSHS’ Interscholastic competitors have received many awards in the past year. Interscholastic league was halted due to Typhoon Soudelor for few years, but with the resumption of the league, our athletes with pride took many competitions under their wings and excelled in the competition. Many of our field athletes competed in the National level and represented the island at the recent Micro Games held in Yap.
Extra Curricular - SSHS Student Council, Youth Advisory Panel, National Honor Society, Interact Club (Rotary), My Wave, Environmental Club, Youth Environment Ambassador, have participated in numerous community organization. Whether it is for awareness or for the environment, the students and faculty have dedicated their time after school or on the weekends to promote the well being of the community or the environment. Members of these clubs take pride and believe in positivity the bring to the school and the community.
Technology Upgrade - In February 2018, a 100 Mbps connection was installed in SSHS to improve access to the Internet to support instruction and student assessments. ACT Aspire, Renaissance, and Achieve 3000 are some of the cloud applications that are supported by the improved bandit. Also, PSS central has added 1000 Mbps in August 2018 to support SSHS as part of their E-Rate services renewal. Additional computers will be added to improve the student access in the library and individual classrooms.
Our school additionally understand and value the partnerships with the community. We recognize all our students and work extra hard with students who struggle with traditional instruction. We have created a bond with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Workforce Investment Agency, Northern Marianas College University Center for Excellence and CNMI Youth Affairs office. As a result, many of our students under the Special Education Program have more opportunities to seek and secure employment.
Emphasizing the bond between the community organization, we have a partnership with Marianas Island Nature Alliance (MINA). Our school’s Youth Environment Ambassador and Environmental Club both take part with this organization to clean the beaches, create public information brochures and support MINA endeavors. Recycling contest, Coral Watch Programs and many other programs creates an opportunity for the students to connect with Division of Environmental Quality. SSHS’ students has a first-hand experience with the workforce as well as career option after they graduate.
Community involvement and volunteerism is emphasized in students day to day life. Students are given multiple opportunities to volunteer in community activities. As they experience these community activities, students become more aware of the surroundings they are in.
SSHS has always encouraged its educators to attend Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings according to their respective subject areas, where they work together to analyze and improve classroom practices. Each department has a delegate to attend these meetings where ongoing cycles of questions and answer to promote team learning. In turn, these delegates come back to the school and share what was discussed to their relevant departments and may also share with the rest of the school’s administrators and educators during staff meetings and school wide professional development days.
Leadership team which is made up of teachers from each department takes part in the decision making process. Discussions take place during staff meetings and department meetings and concerns or recommendation gathered will be shared at leadership meetings. This ensures participation of all stakeholders.
Extra help for students are provided during lunch time or after school by multiple teachers in different subjects as well as Tutoring club where students are able to work with peers who excel in the subject. This ensure student success that empowers students to work with other students, peer tutoring is being used to accomplish the goal. Students are encouraged to take part in this to help fellow students that need assistance in certain subject areas.
Multiple collaborative training with the Public School System is offered to our faculty and staff. Theses trainings are then shared at staff meetings or staff professional development days where new strategies are promoted and utilized by the faculty. Summer trainings are also promoted to faculty and staff to ensure that they have the opportunity to professionally develop because we believe in “more room for improvement”.