An educated citizenry is the key to breaking the cycle of disempowerment among the people in the Northwest region in Chuuk. No single issue deserves top priority in the outer islands today than the ensuring of adequate education for our children. It is imperative that our young generations of outer islanders are given all the available resources to survive in a globalized and fast-changing world. Without adequate education, the future of our State and its place in the global community will further decline into hopelessness.
At the Northwest Education Leadership Summit held on Onoun Island during the week of July 2-7, 2012, the participants unanimously adopted a resolution creating the Northwest Unified Schools. Participants included teachers, principals, mayors, municipal council presidents, traditional chiefs, and other concerned parents. The decision is part of the statewide educational reform plan in which the Chuuk State School System (CSSS) is launching a decentralization effort to empower the various geographical regions in the State. The Fanapi Foundation supports the Northwest Unified Schools (NUS) by developing capacity and leadership development.
To prepare for the Statewide decentralization plans and help formulate the common goals and high expectations of the Northwest Unified Schools, the Foundation proposes to bring together all the principals and teachers from the Northwest public elementary and secondary schools to undergo a week-long leadership development workshop. Participants will learn the essentials of educational leadership, curriculum design, instructional improvement, staff development programs, team leadership, and other areas of leadership. The principals will have opportunities to plan the academic year to ensure common goals and strategies are met. The Foundation will work closely with other non-governmental education organizations, Northwest municipal, state, and national leadership, and other funding stakeholders for planning, funding, and implementation of the Northwest Educators Conference.
Inspired by “paluwlap,” the Fanapi word for seafaring master navigators who are world renowned for sailing the vast Pacific ocean by traditional navigational stars and waves, the Fanapi Foundation seeks funding to train and implement a mobile leadership team to travel throughout the outer islands to lead teacher training workshops, community discussions, and leadership retreats among the various stakeholders on each island to engage in educational improvement in the Northwest Unified Schools. Trained by a Fanapi Foundation team of consultants who understand the unique educational and leadership realities in the remote islands, the Paluwlap Leadership Training Team would comprise of the Northwest area supervisor, Steve Johnny, a representative from DOE, and 1-2 experienced educators. Given the geographical distance of these remote islands, funds are needed to pay for expenses related to the consultants, the training program and supplies, and transportation cost for the mobile team to travel to all the schools in the three Fanapi regions of Pattiw, Pafeng, and Namonweito atolls in the Northwest region.
Until the Northwest Unified Schools are fully staffed with fully certified and trained local teachers, the Foundation will help recruit college graduates from Fanapi citizens living abroad and from college institutions in the United States to dedicate one year of volunteer teaching in the outer island schools. American volunteers will live with local host families and engage in cross-cultural learning opportunities such as canoe-building and other local crafts while teaching.
The Fanapi College Preparatory (FCP) is a year-long charter school for the most academically advanced students from the outer island high schools (Pattiw, Weipat, Pafeng) to prepare them for the academic and social demands of college life. Located on Weno, FCP will enable fanapi graduates who have a strong aptitude for college success to take college-level courses, provided with academic support services, participating in hands-on workshops that prepare them for college. The year-long academy will start with a Summer Bridge Program on the Xavier High School campus in collaboration with the Jesuits of Micronesia, Jesuit Volunteers International, the Mercy Sisters, University of Guam, and University of Hawaii-Hilo. Participants will live on campus and undergo a rigorous academic program using the Xavier High School curriculum taught by a team of volunteer faculty with bachelors degrees or masters degree. In addition to rigorous coursework, the FCP will include academic support services and leadership workshops.
Opportunities for high school students from the Fanapi islands to receive college counseling in choosing and applying for college, information on financial aid opportunities. A college success course will be taught at the Foundation for Fanapi students at the College of Micronesia to prepare them for college.
Reading Expands And Develops Unexplored Potential (R.E.A.D U.P!) is a program to build libraries in the Fanapi schools and to solicit book donations from abroad. To encourage students, principals, and teachers to read interesting books, READ UP! will institute an hour during the day when the whole school observes an hour of complete silence while students, teachers, and the principal spend the time reading a book of their choice. The Foundation will partner with international NGOs such as California-based Room to Read (www.roomtoread.org) organization to help build libraries and provide books for the Fanapi island schools.