Chief Education Advisor to follow up on solutions; Calvo impressed by community-driven solutions already implemented
February 7, 2012
Vicente Benavente Middle School is in disrepair, yet student morale seems strong and the Dededo parent and teacher community has been providing solutions to increase test scores and decrease vandalism.
Governor Eddie Baza Calvo and Sen. Aline Yamashita, Ph.D. visited the campus today. Principal Dexter Fullo took the Governor and the Senator on the tour.
“A lot of what our teachers do is about recognizing that half the battle is about getting students interested, and then providing good teaching,” Principal Fullo told the Governor. “Everything we do has to be centered around students. Most of our teachers know that. They know that teaching is about more than an 8 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.) job. They make students know that they care about them, otherwise, there’s no amount of good teaching that’s gonna turn into learning.”
“This school needs a lot of help, but the faculty, administration, parents and students didn’t wait for help to come,” Governor Calvo said. “I am so impressed with what this school community has been able to do with so little.”
The Governor was referring to several improvements the school community made. One of these is the marked decrease in vandalism. The Dededo campus was a prime target for vandals until the principal brought parents and teachers together to find a solution. The solution they found was a $4,000 investment into surveillance cameras, which the principal monitors himself in his office.
Another area of improvement is student test scores. Last year, Fullo challenged teachers to collaborate with each other and employ certain best practices to ensure tangible results for each student’s achievement needs and help students to achieve. The method worked.
“This year, the students of those teachers who accepted my challenge scored the highest reading and language scores ever in this school,” Fullo told the Governor.
Fullo also said everything must be built around student achievement and students’ rights.
“I wish we could clone you,” Governor Calvo told Fullo.
Some solutions that Governor’s Chief Education Advisor Vince Leon Guerrero will be exploring include:

  1. The repair of the gymnasium, where a ceiling lamp post recently fell to the ground (no one was injured)
  2. The chipped paint and broken louvers on almost every surface of the exterior
  3. The condition of the cafeteria, which caught Sen. Yamashita’s attention immediately
  4. The walkways from the main building to the posterior buildings, where there is no protection from rain
  5. The inadequate training and staffing to identify students with learning and behavioral disorders so their disabilities can be addressed
  6. The non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  7. The dire need for collateral equipment, learning tools
  8. The need for a bell system and fire alarm system
  9. Expansion of the parent-funded security camera system.

“Thank you, Mr. Fullo. Thank you so much for caring about the kids and for doing what you can to make the difference,” Sen. Yamashita told Fullo. The two were colleagues when Sen. Yamashita was in DOE.
Contact Natalie Quinata at 475-9213 or 488-6013 for more information.

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