Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that American Samoa Department of Education will receive $322,125 grant award under the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Demonstration Program (ESSCD). Funding will be available for the period 04/01/2009 through 03/31/2010 and for the duration of no more than 3 years.
“I want to thank the Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, for recognizing the need to strengthen and improve elementary and secondary schools in American Samoa,” Faleomavaega said. “Because of our remote location, there is a greater need for more resources in American Samoa to develop and sustain programs that are critical to the development of its elementary and secondary schools.”
The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program is codified under Title 20 Section 7245 of the US Code. Under the U.S. Code, the Secretary of Department of Education is authorized to award grants to local educational agencies to enable such agencies to establish or expand elementary school and secondary school counseling programs. When selecting grant awardees, the Secretary of Education gives special consideration to applications that:
A) demonstrate the greatest need for new or additional counseling services among children in the schools served by the local educational agency, in part by providing information on current ratios of students to school counselors, students to school social workers, and students to school psychologists;
B) propose the most promising and innovative approaches for initiating or expanding school counseling; and
C) show the greatest potential for replication and dissemination.
Moreover, grants are awarded on the basis to ensure an equitable geographic distribution among the regions of the United States and among local educational agencies located in urban, rural, and suburban areas.
In winning this grant award, the American Samoa Department of Education will be able to expand the range, availability, quantity and quality of counseling services available in the territory. Improved counseling services will also utilize developmental, prevention approach, designed and implemented with greater parent participation. Funding will also help facilitate collaboration between schools and community-based organizations that provide mental health and other services to students.
“I am very pleased that American Samoa will receive this grant award. Especially in light of our current economic crisis, sustaining these development programs in the territory is critical. But more significantly, the intangible benefits to the territory are immeasurable as these programs help our young people develop good social skills, positive behavior and improved academic performance.”
“At this time, I want to congratulate Dr. Claire Poumele and the American Samoa Department of Education for having awarded this grant. It serves as testament to the quality of the work she and her department is performing in the educational development of our young people,” Faleomavaega concluded.