My Dear People of Guam,
Buenas yan Hafa Adai!
Thank you teachers, administrators, support staff and parents for a great school year.
You each played an important role in educating and nurturing our children this school year and we thank you. That’s what brings me to this topic. Teachers are at the center of the educational process. It is the teacher who serves as the instructional guide, counselor, cheerleader, role model and parent for many if not all of our students.
Teachers, thank you for choosing to educate and help nurture our students so that they may realize their potential, learn about the world in which they live, and grow into becoming responsible and productive members of society.
Teachers, thank you for investing the extra time and effort outside of work in order to provide timely feedback on assignments, for coaching a school or village team, for serving as a club adviser, for communicating with parents via email or on student planners, for attending sports games or parent-teacher-association meetings, for cleaning your classrooms and helping to maintain campus grounds and facilities, and for spending your time, money, and energy to get the supplies needed to effectively carry out your lesson plan. I know the sacrifices because for over twenty years I too was a professional educator just like you.
I want to share our heartfelt appreciation in all that you do for our students and for Guam.
On both sides of the aisle the Guam Legislature has worked hard to address the need for new and improved school facilities. We saw the need for safer schools and worked closely with the Board of Education, the Judiciary, and the administration to ensure that we were cognizant and responsive to those needs. The Guam Legislature also responded to requests to strengthen the curriculum and the preservation of our Chamorro language and culture. We also worked with DOE policy makers, the Office of Public Accountability and the Attorney General's Office to author legislation that gave the department the tools it needed to maximize and protect ARA funding and to change its senior management structure to best suit the department’s needs.
New and improved facilities, a revamped management structure, and a common core curriculum that puts everyone on the same page are great. But at the end of the day, at the center of the education enterprise is the teacher and the student.
A new superintendent will be in place soon and the Governor’s Education Task Force released a comprehensive strategic document that establishes instructional leadership, operational efficiencies, and parental and community supports as the foundational pillars for education reform. I couldn’t agree more. These three tenets are important and will be most effective when they are constructed and implemented in such a way that the teacher, with the student, are at the center.
Teachers, parents, support staff and administrators, thank you once again for playing an important role in educating and nurturing our children this school year. And teachers, the heart of any successful reform model is found in the classroom, with you at the center of it all. Have a wonderful and rewarding summer. You deserve it!