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FSM's New Initiative for Early Literacy

Kolonia, Pohnpei, January 13-17, 2014 The FSM Response to Intervention Initiative (RtI) takes its first steps to improve language and reading skills for ALL students in the FSM. During the week, the FSM Department of Education conducted a kickoff meeting of intensive training to initiate a new program designed to improve language and reading skills for children in grades Early Childhood Education to 3. This project is now referred to as FSM Project Literacy Intervention for FSM leaders of Tomorrow, or FSM Project LIFT.

Secretary Rufino Mauricio opened the session addressing the Leadership Teams, including the Directors of Education from each State, and the National Department of Education staffs who joined together to learn new skills in providing effective reading instruction. 

Consultants from the University of Oregon provided training and hands on experience for the Project LIFT Coaches with students at Sekere Elementary School. The consultants will continue to provide training and support for the implementation of the initiative. On-site visits for each State pilot school have been scheduled with the goal of preparing each school for the implementation of Project LIFT in school year 2014-15.

The FSM Project LIFT is being implemented in one pilot school from each State. The pilot schools are: Iras Elementary School, Chuuk; Tafunsak Elementary School, Kosrae; Sekere Elementary School, Pohnpei; and Gaanelay Elementary School, Yap. The school Principal (P) and Coach (C) at pilot schools are: Joseph Nakamura (P) and Maria Paz Saimon (C) from Chuuk; Clarenson Nena (P) and McNald Jonah (C) from Kosrae; Herry Wichep (Acting P) and Pressler Martin (C) and Akilihna Soram (C) from Pohnpei; and Miner Olngellel (P) and Helen Leebay (C) from Yap.

The initiative focuses on effective core instruction in language development and reading, frequent screening of students for early identification of reading problems, focused instructional interventions for struggling students, and targeted professional development and coaching for teachers. The key is early identification and early intervention for students who are struggling to learn to read. 

The goal of the initiative is to ensure that, within five years, 60% percent of all students will score at the proficient level in reading on the National Minimum Competency Test (NMCT). This is based on to the current level of less than 25% scoring at the proficient level in reading proficiency. 

As implementation of the initiative continues, organizers emphasize the importance of community and parent support in joining the effort to ensure ALL students are proficient readers by the end of the 6th grade. 

For more information please contact Wayne Mendiola or Arthur Albert at the National Department of Education.