Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mechitiw Village Got it Right

Mechitiw Elementary School has it right. Drive past the school and you will see a clean, graffiti-free shining white school with a new fence, water tank and toilets. How, you may ask, is this possible?

The answer is community pride, cooperation and a vision for the children of Mechitiw Village. Mechitiw landowners made a decision to provide land for their elementary school. This resulted in funds being available to remodel and renovate.

Drive by and take a look. Very impressive!

The Camel in Biblical Times & the CHS Student Today

Long ago in Biblical times the cities were protected with strong walls. There was a main gate to a city, guarded during the day and locked at night to protect inhabitants from attack.

Reaching the city at night, a traveler and his camel could only enter the city through a very small entryway, so small that it required one to bend down and move slowly, so narrow that only one person at a time could fit. A camel, being much larger than a man, had a truly difficult time negotiating this small entry. Because the entrance was so small people referred to it as the “eye of the needle.”

This small entry gave birth to the Biblical saying, “It is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to get through the eye of a needle.”

One might compare the plight of the camel to the predicament of a Chuuk High School (CHS) student wishing to get a copy of her/his transcript. Because if you had a choice between being the camel struggling in the dark to squeeze your large frame into the “eye of the needle,” you might find it easier than trying to get a copy your CHS transcript.

It is the legal right of a student to get a transcript; the transcript belongs to the student and is held in trust by the school. The school may not deny the student a transcript – as recently happened at CHS. The school may charge a student a reasonable fee to obtain a copy of the transcript and a copy must be provided to the student in a reasonable amount of time.

Well, hold on folks, the CSSS and CHS play by different rules. According to their rules the person who holds the keys to the transcripts can deny you a copy of your transcript, or make you beg and return numerous times, genuflect, and/or pay homage before getting it. And no one at the CSSS or CHS will ever ask, “Where does the money collected for the transcripts go?"

This has been going on for a long time with no end in sight. The CSSS and CHS administrations are aware of the continuing sage of the student trying to negotiate the “eye of the needle” – AKA "Transcript Hell” - and have done nothing about it.

The heavily bible-touting CSSS administrators should prevent cruelty to students; make certain the student suffers less than the camel trying to enter the city at night, or be prepared for Biblical comparisons such as:

“It is harder for a CHS student to get a transcript than for a camel to get through the eye of a needle.”

Appropriate Public Education

Last year Special Education and Chuuk State were warned that they are in violation of IDEA, FAPE and other laws and standards required by schools and organizations receiving special education funding. The U.S. government advised FSM Special Education that unless it took steps to rectify the lack of compliance, that special education funds would be withdrawn.

This demand by those involved in special education is the tail wagging the dog, because many schools in Chuuk State fail to meet the most basic standards for children: they lack sanitary facilities and supplies (appropriate textbooks, desks, et al) necessary to provide a basic education.

A good example of this problem is Chuuk High School (CHS). During the 2007-2008 school year the Chuuk State School System (CSSS) was notified, in writing and verbally, that the sanitary conditions and lack of potable water at Chuuk High School (CHS) seriously endangered the health and well being of the students and was a factor in poor academic performance.

Now, during the week of August 11 -August 15, 2008, CHS is registering students for the 2008-2009 academic year. The question must be asked, “Since the end of school in May, was anything done to resolve the lack of toilets and drinking water at the school?”

To make matters more serious, it has been discovered that there are many other schools without toilets and drinking water.

Mwan Elementary School is one example of sanitation problems. For months raw sewage has been flowing at the entrance to the school grounds. Students often waded through this polluted unsanitary foul water. Have their been any illnesses in the village as a result?

The Office of Insular Affairs (Honolulu), the FSM Department of Education, the Chuuk State School System (CSSS), FSM Special Education knows, and there are parents and community leaders that know. What will they do?

Will they assure decent, Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) services, or will they ignore these serious omissions? Will the departments responsible for providing appropriate facilities continue to ignore these serious problems? Will FSM Special Education (FSM SPED) allow their students to attend classes at schools without the most basic sanitary facilities, which appears to clearly be a violation of all special education legislation? Should they not demand positive steps be taken to improve conditions both for SPED participants and all students?

Will parents and community leaders, FSM and Chuuk education departments, the United States’ OIA continue to look the other way while schools fail to provide the most basic facilities for Chuuk’s children? It has been happening for a very long time. When will it end? When will Chuukese children have free appropriate public education?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What will this school year bring?

Summer is almost over, so what lies in store for the numerous high schools students of Chuuk State?

The COM Entrance Test (COMET) results are out.
Five of the six lowest FSM high schools are from Chuuk. The three lowest high schools scored ar "random" (less than 300 on the test). That means if you took a six year old and had him randomly fill in a circle for each question on the COMET test, that six year old's score would be about the same as the graduating seniors of Faichuuk High School (FHS), Southern Namoneas High School (SNHS) and Southern Namoneas High School Fefan (SNHSF).

Chuuk High School (CHS) and Weno High School (WHS) are the other low scoring schools in Chuuk. The average score for these two schools was around 400.

So, as parents you have only a few choices:
1) Stand idly by and do nothing while your child wastes 12 years of his or her life in Chuuk's public education system. It could soon become 13 years of wasted time should the Early Chldhood Education (ECE) program become part of the public school system.

2) Stand up for what is right. Speak out and become proactiive for your child.

The recent letter to President Mori from 10 United States Congressmen, three from Hawaii and one from Guam, should be a wake-up call. Not only does it speak of misuse of money, but it talks of modifying emigration to the US because of the failure of the FSM to take positive steps to see that its people are educated and have decent health care.

The new Secretary of FSM Education has told the Chuuk State School System (CSSS) that a school cannot open if it doesn't have potable water and toilets. Will this actually be enforced? Stay tuned!

Although no one wishes this, it is possible that this year could be worse than the last. Lets hope not! But unless steps are taken - serious steps to improve instruction and force high schools to focus on students - it could get worse.

SHIP/HOOPS works with Chuukese youth and it is concerned that the education system continues to fail! This is NOT acceptable and cannot be allowed to go on indefinately.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Andrew Kerr Installs Apple Air Port Wi Fi at CHS

Once again Andrew Kerr of Learning Currents International (LCI) has volunteered his time and expertise to come to Chuuk. This time he brought a special gift: an Apple Airport Router (Wi Fi) that connects several computers to the Internet at the same time.

SHIP/HOOPS's classroom is the the only public school classroom in Chuuk State to be have Internet accesss and now the first public school in Chuuk State to have Air Port (Wi Fi).

But Andy didn't just bring us equipment and then leave. He stayed and taught several classes. Students learned more about computer use, the Internet and Email. Andy took time to explain to all participants the importance of protecting your identity and self when communicating on the World Wide Web. He told students to be careful about the sites they visited, do not share personal informaiton (mother's name, your place and date of birth, your social security number, or other private data) with web sites or strangers.

Andy also discussed and taught more about making audio-visual presentations. Several students completed presentations on Substance Use at CHS, Challenges at CHS, and other topics.

On behalf of the film class, SHIP/HOOPS, the students who will benefit from this gift of equipment, expertise and love, "Thank you Andy and Thank You Learning Currents International (LCI)!"

Saturday, April 5, 2008

CHS Report Cards & Official Transcripts are Being Changed!

Students and Parents: when you get the CHS report card is it correct? You need to check and you need to ask the following questions:

1) Are the classes listed on the report card really the classes the student is taking?
2) Are the grades correct?
3) Is the Grade Point Average (GPA) right?

One teacher discovered that his students’ grades have been changed, grades deleted, courses changed – crossed out and written over - and that one student was given the wrong GPA: the record showed the student’s GPA was 1.8 when actually it was 2.1.

Is this what you want for the children of Chuuk?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

1966 The First Peace Corp Teacher on Pulap Island

Henry Block went to Pulap with Micro I (the very first Peace Corp Volunteers in Micronesia). Micro I trained in Key West, Florida. Henry went to Pulap as a TESL teacher. But, as Henry and many other PCVs admitted, "We learned much more than we taught!"

In those days the Department of Education strongy advised outer island teachers, and the Peace Corps Volunteers were also told, not to come to Weno wearing a loincloth. Good luck, the ship shows up at the Moen (now Weno) dock and Henry, Bill Ryder (Hok 1966-68), Phil Bogetto (Puluwat 1966-68) step off the "Truk Islander" wearing - yes, of course - a loincloth.

Of course, one of the funny things about PCVs in loincloths were the occasional white buttocks and legs (As you can see in this photo of Henry). But, if Henry was white on the outside, he was definitely brown on the inside. He loved Pulap and never forgot it!

Henry Block: Peace Corp Pulap 1966-1968

Henry Block was the first Peace Corps Volunteer on Pulap Island. To say that he loved Pulap is an understatement. His life, view of life, the way he lived his life; it all changed as a result of his living and teaching there from 1966 - 1968.

Henry loved to sail and, ignoring Peace Corps Rules & Regulations, sailed with Pulapese to Pik to get turtles for the island. Some might say that Pulap was Henry's second home, but that would be understating the experience. Pulap became Henry's "spiritual home" - as it did for many of the first Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) who were fortunate enough to have the gift of living in remote islands with knowledgable people who were kind and gracious.

Yesterday I learned that Henry is very ill with cancer. Ironically the wife of a young Pulap man (his family took care of Henry on Pulap) recently passed on because of cancer. I ask that we continue to pray for both of these people and hold them close to our hearts, as they held Pulap close to theirs.

If you want to write Henry or upload pictures, go to this site and register:

Thank you,
Clark Graham
Volunteer Teacher at CHS

Monday, March 17, 2008

CHS Student Does Community Service Work

Approximately 300 kids from Faichuk, Fefan and Weno participated in the March 15th "Kids Track Meet" at Andersen Field. The meet was organized and run by the Chuuk Athletic Association and SHIP/HOOPS.

Mandy, a 12th grader at CHS, volunteered to work at the Kids Track Meet. He worked with the Penia/Sapuk team. Student service is important and should be a part of every student's educational experience.

Photographer’s Gunther Deichmann’s February Visit to CHS: A Student’s View

When my teacher told my classmates and I that we were going to have a photographer visit our class the next day I was really happy. I don’t know about my classmates, but me I can’t wait to see him.

The next day, my classmates and I were doing our power point presentations. While I was doing mine I always looked out the window to see when he was going to come to our class.

A few minutes later, two men entered our class. The tall one was carrying a camera. They walked in and looked at our work. The man with the camera introduced himself to us. Then we introduced ourselves to him.

He said his name was Gunther Deichmann but we should call him GD. Then he took some pictures of us. After that our teacher showed him around. They walked around and then they came back to our classroom.

Then GD said he wanted us to walk with him for a while. So we walked. He told us to look around and if we see something beautiful we ‘re going to take a picture of it. He told us that our eyes are the most important lens. To become a photographer you had to use your eyes.

He saw my skirt and told me to go walk on the sidewalk so he could take some pictures of my skirt, a wall and me. When we finished we walked back to our class. Our teacher download our pictures and then we looked at them. GD looked at the pictures with us ad helped us see how to make our photographs better. He reminded us again that the most important lens is our eyes.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Marching to Their Own Drummer

1. Sueann, 2. Melva, 3. Susaleen, 4. Roseann, 5. Brian, 6. Rocklyn, 7. Lauisa, 8. Roxann, 9. Larry, 10. Iron, 11. DJ, 12. Moses, 13. Joean, 14. Bernor, 15. Maywii, 16. Nowel, 17. Sayuri, 18. Traeelyn, 19. Yeleen, 20. Marcela, 21. Elisa, 22. Norme, 23. Rackr
24. Flyona, 25. Danevich

A big shout of appreciation to all the students that helped clean up the area. It shows what a small but dedicated number of people can do. Hopefully there will be more students next time.

CHS Students Pick Up Trash to Earn Money for Drinking Water

Two of 25 CHS students who have joined the Social Issues Committee Kids (SICK). These are students who decided that they would work to earn money to buy drinking water for the students at CHS. CHUUK PRIDE! Without leadership and adults who care, we get sick.

What Can Be Done to Make Chuuk High a Better School

Students, parents, teachers, principal, and counselors need to work together for CHS to become a better school. Students need to come to school everyday, not just hanging around. The principal needs to make sure that the security people to do their job, watching students so they don’t escape or break other rules.

To solve the problem at CHS students need meet and plan how to change the school. Our plan is to provide new toilets to replace the old toilets, and provide a fiberglass tank so there is water for our bathrooms. And we need to paint our School. We also need to provide a cafeteria for CHS, and WHS. Students need many things to solve the problems at CHS. We need to provide textbooks, computers, and other equipment for CHS.

Students need to work together and ask their representatives in the government to help solve the problems at CHS.

But maybe it's very hard do to, because money is a problem. Yes we have money, but sometimes school system money is misused, and that causes trouble and it happened at Chuuk High School.

But if we want to make solve our problems student have to try their best. Students need to
• have leadership at CHS
• clean up our campus, and paint our school
• stop writing graffiti on our school
• come to school and wear their uniform
• if there is no teacher students need to go to the library, and study
• be on time
• bring books, pens, pencils, water and food

The school needs to
• paint the walls
• teachers need to come and teach us everyday
• fix the windows
• fix the fence where students escape
• have counselors help the students get into college, and help them do better in their classes

Students and the school needs to do all these things for CHS to become a better high school. And they have to think and care about our school. If students and the school does these things CHS will become a better school.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Thanks to Richard & Mary Kerr For Their Gift and Support

We the film class students would like to thank Richard and Mary Kerr for donating a digital camera to our class. The picture was taken with their camera.

We appreciate your gift; it will be helpful to us to do our projects and assignments. We also want to thank Andy for spending his time to come all the way from Guam to Chuuk High School to teach us.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

200+ Students Expelled

Around 260 students have been expelled, this month (February)! Can you believe that? Just because they have low GPAs, and some because they just don't take school seriously.

In my opinion, I really don't agree with this act! What happened to "No Child Left Behind"? I know most of the students have talents, don't they deserve a second chance for the sake of there future?

Only the students that participate in the special education program were safe. They get to stay. Is it just or unjust? some of the students that were expelled were just slow learners. Isn't it that what schools are for: to educate students more, try harder to get something in the students brains? I guess not because they just got rit of all those students.

First they get rid of freshmen, and now they are getting rid of some more students. I wonder what the next move will be?

What is there for the students in the future? What is there to dream of? Education is the key to a better life. No education no future!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

School Day Cut in Half - Now Not Enough Time in Class

Students at CHS are not receiving the required number of hours of instruction.

Old CHS Schedule of Classes
Block Schedule: 8 blocks
• Monday, Wednesday: blocks 1-4 met for 90 minutes each
• Tuesday, Thursday: blocks 6-8 met for 90 minutes each
• Friday: blocks 1-8 met for 45 minutes each

CHS’s Schedule of Classes Today
No more blocks – just shortened classes
• Monday, Wednesday: blocks 1-4 meet for 45 minutes each
• Tuesday, Thursday: blocks 6-8 met for 45 minutes each
• Friday: blocks 1-8 met for 30 minutes each

Class time is one half of what it should be! We have been told that the Board of Education Policy Handbook requires every class to have 225 minutes of classroom instruction every week. Now students get only 120 minutes every week. The students are not getting enough instruction time. This is wrong!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Student Marcela Manuel

Last year Marcela, pictured above on the far left, was one of four young women to learn traditional Chuukese dances. She was one of the CHS dancers that welcomed the Polynesia Voyaging Society's sailing canoes Hokulea and Alingano Maisu when they visited Chuuk on their historic voyage through this islands.

More about Marcela...

But what many people do not know is that Marcela is an athlete. Last year she ran in sprints and relays during the Chuuk State High School Field Day. Her effort, along with her teammates led to CHS winning the championship.

Although Marcela is a quiet and sometimes shy, she is an extremely bright young women who is enrolled in the Film, Culture & Social Issues class.

Recently Marcela completed a very moving multi-media presentation about Chuuk High School (CHS). This presentation was recently shared with one of Guam’s Rotary Clubs and was well received.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Episcopal Archdeacon Ben Helmer Visits CHS

In January the students in Clark’s film class had the opportunity to meet and interact with Archdeacon Ben Helmer of the Episcopal Church in Micronesia (ECIM). Archdeacon Helmer lives in Guam and came to Chuuk with Andrew Kerr of Learning Currents International.

In the photo Archdeacon Helmer is helping Danevich with his computer project. We are grateful for his visit, for working with the students, and for his concern for Chuukese students and people.

The Episcopal Church in Micronesia (ECIM) has been responsible for helping SHIP/HOOPS get equipment and supplies donated to our projects. The church continues to support SHIP/HOOPS’ efforts.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Photographer Gunther Deichmann Visits CHS

Professional Photographer Gunther Deighmann came to CHS and conducted a photography class for students. He went around the campus with the students having them take photos and then he also took photos. Returning to the classroom the pictures were downloaded onto a Macbook and then projected onto the wall. Gunther then talked to the students about each photograph and how to take better pictures.

Gunther saw a problem and saw a need, and he did something about it. When good people decide to get involved, which is something Gunther did at CHS with students, positive things happen. And... sure enough, things are starting to move forward: His business associates and friends stepped in and helped by donating equipment and software.

His visit and time with my students resulted in their learning more about photography but, of even greater value, they came to realize that someone cared and that they were of value. Many thanks to Gunther Deichmann.

His blog story "The Forgotten Ones" has had an important positive impact on the students. To read this story and look at his outstanding photos visit Gunther's blog.
Gunther Deichmann's Blog
Scroll down to the CHS story entitled:
The Forgotten Ones

Friday, February 15, 2008

CHS's Keitani Graham Wrestles in Olympic Qualifier

On February 8-10 Keitani Graham, Chuuk High School’s past Athletic Director, Instructor & Coach competed in Canberra, Australia at the at the Oceania Championships, an Olympic qualifier.

Keitani won a silver medal in Greco-Roman and another silver in Freestyle.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Clark Gathers Lifestyle Information in Guam

Clark Graham picked up substance, lifestyle and health materials from Public Health's Bobbie Benavente. Mrs. Benavente was in Chuuk last year for a SAMHSA workshop where Clark made a presentation.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Results of our Student Polls:

Students were asked if the following were true:

Will it be hard for you to find a job? 43% said yes.
Sometimes I am hungry: 37%
No one loves me: 43%
My education is not good: 68% agreed
My life will be hard in the future: 62%
Someone in my family uses betel nut, cigarettes, alcohol: 50%
There are not enough things to do in Chuuk: 56%
There is violence in my community: 62%

What do you plan to do after high school?
Go to COMFSM or Chuuk Campus: 15%
Go to college outside FSM: 38%
Get a job in the FSM: 0%
Leave FSM & get a job: 0%
I don’t know: 46%

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What a Day

Today is Tuesday and not a very good day. Last week we just came back from our vacation and we were glad to be back. Wednesday came and our teacher’s told us that we need to be prepare for the final for this week, and we only had to days to review and 8 different subject, can you imagine how are we going to do well with two days to prepare and with 8 different subject with one hour for one class. and mostly all the teachers weren’t even here and some of them don’t even know that this week was our final week. I wonder if this problem is going to keep going. Now some of us the students are wondering if were going to be able to pass our final exam.

Also today is the day of starting our final Exam and I only studied for only one class. And the rest I don’t know if I’m going to pass or fail. Just hope that I pass all of it and get good grades this semester, so that my parents can be very proud of me. But I don’t think I’ll pass some of it, because some of my teachers weren’t here during exam reviews.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Final Week

January 14 – 18
• Monday and Tuesday: esewor fifi. Ekkewe bathrooms a wesewesen ngaw. Rese limoch. Ese pwan or unumen chon sukun konik.

• Monday: review chok
• Tuesday: Final tests ren classes 1-4
• Wednesday: Final tests classes 5-8
• Thursday: Makeup
• Friday: No school, grading day

First Week of School 2008

January 7 tori January 11
Mei wor sukun CHS. Nge, a chok osukosuk chon sukun.
• Mei wor senei rese war (Some teachers absent)
• Ekkoch chon sukun rese war (Some students absent)
• Ese wor konik (No drinking water)
• Ese wor mongo (No lunch)
• January 10: Period 4, a chok 4 sensi ra non nom classroom (Period 4: Only 4 teachers in classes)
• Ei wik itan Review Week. Nge chon sukun rese togeni review pun chommong class rese fis.

Monday, January 7, 2008

First Day of School in 2008

First Period; Approximately 15 teachers (42%) present.
Then Assembly: speeches and then school dismissed

Friday, January 4, 2008

Welcome to 2008

School starts Monday, January 7, 2008

Assignments Due Monday, January 7th:
• “Fiddler on the Roof” Essay
• Power Point storyboard & plan

Next Film:
• “Schildler’s List”

New Assignment:
What do you want to see happen in 2008?

Assignment Due Tuesday, January 8th:
• Chuukese Research Paper: first draft