By Lori Lyn Lirio
THE lack of transportation is one of the biggest barriers the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands students are facing to access and participate in the programs to improve their learning, Kagman High School Principal Leila Staffler said.
In a recent interview, Staffler thanked the Northern Marianas Trades Institute for providing the school a 15-seater van that would transport their students from KHS to NMTI.
“This van will break many barriers that our students are facing,” she said, adding “with this van we will be able to guarantee students’ access and attendance to not just NMTI but all PSS programs.”
She said the Kagman students, in particular, have transportation issue.
“Our students have a large distance to travel in order for them to attend the programs. We do have the largest zone areas from the whole north side to the east side and our students must travel the farthest and the longest everyday to get their education,” Staffler said.
With the availability of the transportation that would bring them to the NMTI, she expected that more students will avail of the courses that the trade school is offering for high school students.
“We have been communicating and collaborating with NMTI all throughout the summer. We are doubling our enrollment in NMTI programs because we will be able to bring kids directly to the classes,” she added.
In the previous school years, Staffler said they only have 30 students per semester attending the NMTI courses.
“This year, we are anticipating that we will have up to 60 students participating.”
“We will have a full course of hospitality on campus. The van will be used to transport the students to the hands-on courses like auto mechanic, construction, electronics, plumbing and others,” she said.
In the past year, KHS students have limited options as the school has not facility to offer the hands-on courses.
“With the van, our kids can go to NMTI and get to experience these hands-on experiential, project-based learning activities.”
The NMTI on Tuesday turned over the two vans. The third vehicle will be transferred at a later date, according to NMTI Facebook post.
The vans will be used by students from Kagman High School, Saipan Southern High School and Marianas High School.