As part of the Northern Marianas College’s efforts to bolster the workforce and provide quality educators for the local community, NMC’s Community Development Institute and School of Education, along with the CNMI Public School System’s Career and Technical Education Program have helped pave the way for numerous high school students looking to become teachers and counselors through its ongoing Teacher Academy Program.
Over the course of the five-weeks, the students participated in the Teacher Summer Academy Program – the prerequisite to the Teacher Academy Program set to begin this fall semester. During the summer program, they received rigorous core education academic classes with industry-related, project based learning that focuses on career awareness, exploration, preparation and application. Students were able to expand their knowledge on the fundamentals of teaching and counseling, including special, early childhood and elementary education, and rehabilitation and human services.
The students who participated in the program were Miracle Aldan, Chris Amaro, Keya Das, Danielle Formalejo, Mefi Lorech-Lazaro, Nicole Llaga, Ria Rengiil, Keoni Santos, Keth Soriano, and Hong Zhang. They were paired with student mentors from NMC: Danielle Pineda, Dhalian Salas, Ye Lee Cha, Michael Dasco, Brent Espineda, Joselito Gomez, Amy Soliman, and Jerilynn Bluu Haruo.
“I saw this program as an opportunity to gain a clear understanding of the field of education and gain insights into my possible future career,” Teacher Academy participant and Marianas High School student Keth Soriano said. “I thank NMC and PSS for allowing us to participate in the Teacher Academy Program, which inspired us to pursue our interests, experience hands-on learning environments, show us the importance of education, and by giving us this opportunity to make a positive impact.”
“I hope the community sees how important Teacher Academy is for us as much as it is for everyone else, and that other students also have this opportunity to make a difference within the field of education,” Soriano added.
NMC School of Education director Roland Merar said that the College has always been at the forefront of empowering the next generation of educators in the Marianas.
“With the teacher academy, we aim to foster a community of dedicated educators who will help shape and inspire young minds,” Merar said. “I am confident that these students will follow through in their academic journey to become teachers and counselors, and they will soon help elevate the standards of education.”
PSS Career and Technical education director Dr. Jessica Taylor is thankful for the partnership between the College and PSS.
“NMC and the Public School System have always collaborated well when it comes to helping PSS students prepare for their future careers,” Taylor said. “I am grateful for our joint effort, and I wish the best of luck for these students as they continue their studies in being educators.”
In his remarks at the program’s completion ceremony on Friday, July 28, 2023, PSS Commissioner of Education Dr. Alfred B. Ada praised both educational institution’s strong partnership, and, in particular, for initiating programs that help build local capacity.
“To our students, your dedication to learning and your openness to the knowledge and experience during this program demonstrates the potential you carry with you,” Ada said.
The Academy Program is funded by the PSS-CTE Program. The PSS-CTE Career Pathways Program, including the Teacher Academy Program, received funding support when the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was enacted.
The ARP 2021 allows for all states and school districts in the nation to “identify and expand career pathways, such as integrated programs and services intended to develop students’ core academic, technical, and employability skills; provide them with continuous education and training; and place them in high-demand, high-opportunity jobs.”
It is also part of the U.S. Department of Education’s “raise the bar initiative” to support career pathways and is aimed at increasing and expanding access to high-quality training programs, such as NMC-PSS Teacher Academy Program, to help young Americans pursue jobs in today’s competitive and in-demand job market and be prepared for future careers.
The graduates and mentors of this year's Teacher Academy Program, which is held in partnership with the Northern Marianas College and the CNMI Public School System.