November 30, 2022

Senators hear bills that waive teaching days and service-learning requirements | Guam News

Lawmakers spent Monday morning hearing testimony on two measures related to the school year.

Bill 286-36 would remove the 180-day instructional requirement for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, while Bill 287-36 would remove the service-learning requirement for secondary school students in the 2021-2022 school year.

The bills were introduced by Senator Telena Nelson, who is the Legislative Chair on Education, at the request of the Guam Department of Education.

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez acknowledged there were “many” issues associated with waiving warrants, but said the department must also consider the needs of students and teachers.

“Some may say that by doing this you are lowering the standard or lessening the burden on teachers or students who have to be on task in order to achieve learning recovery. But there is so much going on at the same time “Fernandez said as he testified in support of both bills.

Not only do students have social and emotional needs in addition to their academic needs, but teachers also burn out when discussing extending the school year or increasing their workload in order to meet the challenges. challenges of COVID-19, he added.

“We need time to think about this, to be more flexible, to give more time for this recovery to happen,” Fernandez said.

The superintendent said the waiver would not mean there would be no more work to do this year. On the contrary, the work has been more intense, he added.

“We set out to update and renew our strategic plan in the midst of coming out of this pandemic so that we can understand where we were and what we need to do to get our students back on track with regards to their learning recovery and their study progress,” Fernandez said.

A challenge in the past two years of the pandemic is that the GDOE has been unable to “truly assess” students and their progress, and is only just getting back to the point where they can assess students, Fernandez said.

“There may be students who … do not need this additional intervention. Our job is to identify those who need this intervention and then put in place the interventions to deal with their situation,” Fernandez added. , recalling that extracurricular activities and summer school programs must be expanded to support students this summer and beyond.

The GDOE strategic plan must also be approved by the Guam Board of Education today, according to Fernandez.