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Ala (Pathway) for All Learners in American Samoa

Pacific | April 08, 2024

An Overarching Goal to Build a Culture of Data Use

In 2023, the American Samoa Department of Education and REL Pacific established the Ala (Pathway) for All Learners in American Samoa partnership to support the continuing development of ASDOE's culture of data use for improving student outcomes. This aligns with the department-wide initiative led by ASDOE Director Talauega Dr. Samasoni Asaeli—Ia tatou faia mea sili mo fanau aoga "Our students deserve our best"—by seeking to make more data-informed decisions to benefit students and teachers.

By expanding the use of relevant data, ASDOE leaders hope to catalyze education beyond compliance, creating an environment of innovation where educators approach data with curiosity and a growth mindset that will benefit students and teachers alike. To support this goal, REL Pacific is working closely with ASDOE central office staff, school leaders, and the Teacher Quality Office.

Seeking to Understand Teacher Attrition and Retention

Eight core partnership members of the American Samoa partnership

American Samoa core partnership members (left to right) Fa'afetai (Tasha) Atio'o, Dr. Herbert Boat, Dr. Dottie Aga-Tuisamatatele, Dr. Natasha Saelua, Dr. Christina Tydeman, Dr. Jeanette King, Dr. Teresa Le'iato Atuatasi, and Samalaulu Elaine Lameta-Malele

ASDOE leaders have noted a decline in the past two years of the number of local teacher candidates who are enrolling in preparation programs at American Samoa Community College (ASCC) and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, which are the two main teacher education programs for American Samoa educators. Additionally, leaders have observed an increase in the number of new teachers who decide to leave the profession. ASDOE requested REL Pacific's focused coaching and training support to better understand and address the department's teacher workforce challenge and develop a sustainable evidence-based data collection process on teacher attrition and retention.

In the first of two planned partnership projects, the REL Pacific team is working with central office leaders and staff from the Teacher Quality Office, who report teacher workforce data to ASDOE leadership to guide decision making and professional development.

  • In Session 1 (January 2024), participants learned about best practices for publicizing teacher workforce data and assessed their organizational readiness to adopt best practices. They also identified desired outcomes for addressing teacher attrition and retention.
  • In Session 2 (February 2024) participants created an inventory of teacher workforce data and began discussing best practices for survey development and data collection.
  • In Session 3 (April 2024), participants will continue the conversation on available teacher workforce data and shift focus to planning for survey administration.
  • In Session 4 (June 2024), the project participants will learn about cleaning and analyzing survey data. REL Pacific staff will also provide coaching on data reporting to ASDOE and community stakeholders. Finally, participants will revisit outcomes for addressing teacher attrition and retention and develop a plan for sustaining efforts going forward.

In a related communication outreach project, REL Pacific completed a two-part webinar series that introduced practitioner-friendly tools for collecting and acting on data to better understand and support teacher concerns, well-being, and professional growth. The series Strategies for Gaining Insight Into Teacher Well-Being: A Webinar Workshop for School and Change Leaders shared tools from the Concerns-Based Adoption Model for assessing educators' Stages of Concern (Part 1) and Levels of Use (Part 2). The series topic aligns with the goals of the American Samoa partnership and the Palau Partnership to Support Teacher Effectiveness which are both focusing on practices to support teacher effectiveness and teacher retention.

Supporting School Leaders' Data-Driven Decision Making

The second training and coaching project, to begin in the fall of 2024, will strengthen the capacity of school leaders (principals, other administrators, and school-level support staff) in developing a culture of data use at their schools. The goal of this project is to deepen school leaders' understanding of data-driven decision making and provide tools, research, strategies, and best practices for encouraging teachers and school staff to use data consistently.

Moving Forward

REL Pacific is proud to partner with ASDOE and support their mission to "provide highly effective educators, appropriate resources and promote community partnership to ensure meaningful learning opportunities."

A map of American Samoa

American Samoa is the southern-most U.S. territory and comprises five islands and two coral atolls. The American Samoa Department of Education (ASDOE) is the unitary state and local education agency, operating 22 early childhood, 23 elementary, and six secondary public schools that serve more than 12,000 students."

Author(s)

Siomara  Valladares

Siomara Valladares

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