GDOE developing new strategy for the new era of COVID-affected education

GDOE students (PNC file photo)

The first of several Guam Department of Education parent consultations kicked off Wednesday to help develop nothing less than a new strategy and 5-year plan for the new era of COVID-affected education on Guam.

GDOE Deputy Superintendent Joe Sanchez said that whether COVID-19 goes away or remains, the department will have to come up with a new long-range strategic plan because the virus has changed everything, including past assumptions in GDOE’s previous strategic plans.

“At some point, COVID is going to go away. I mean we talked about a new normal and things like that. But you know at some point this is gonna get solved or at least a lot of these restrictions are gonna go away at some point soon. So we have to start thinking about what our next steps are, take what we’ve learned from COVID, take what we’ve learned, the last five, six years, and take what families and the community learned. We’ll put together a plan that can guide GDOE for the next five to six, maybe even 10 years if we can kind of think through some of those strategies,” Sanchez said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

Sanchez said this new strategy that they are formulating will be a watershed moment of sorts because it is going to be very different from previous strategies because of the new circumstances that COVID-19 has forced upon not just Guam but the entire world.

One of the most important differences, Sanchez said, is technology, and COVID has really helped them rethink how to utilize technology and how to better communicate with both students and parents, from an educational standpoint as well as an administrative standpoint.

He pointed out that a lot of things are done online now and parents can get a lot of information. through email, websites, and social media.

“Even the engagement opportunities with parents and families have been really successful. I mean you compare regular PTO meetings and regular input sessions when we have input sessions in person, and I’m talking about, even for the most controversial topics like riots in schools or finance you know and the budget … the most I’ve ever gotten was like 40 parents coming to a physical meeting. But when we have online meetings, you’re looking at hundreds of parents that participate in some cases over 500,” Sanchez said.

Another important difference in this new strategy is that through technology, there will be a continuous effort to involve parents more in not just rules and policies but also to try to try to help build their capacity also to support their children’s curriculum, and educational work.

“Even if we go back to normal, we want the families to be able to maintain that support for students from an academic side. And lastly, we’re really trying to look at ways to help students become more independent learners. Because what we noticed from the students who actually stayed engaged is that they clearly had a vested interest in their education. I mean they were the ones calling their teachers, they were the ones reaching out to the schools, they were the ones coming in when they didn’t even have to come in, you know, to ask questions. The students who didn’t seem as engaged seem to just be like, ‘okay, we have to go …’ There wasn’t really a lot of interest. So we say there does have to be a more deliberate strategy from elementary all the way up to high school, to help students understand that education is not something done to you, where you just have to attend school, and magically get smarter, Education is really for you and your future. So as you start looking for a vision for your life, what is it that you intend to do as you become an adult, and how can education support those endeavors,” Sanchez said.

The input sessions will be scheduled by districts and will be live-streamed on the GDOE’s Facebook page.

Here is the schedule for the parent-input sessions:


Start Time


Zoom Meeting ID:


October 20, 2021

6:00 p.m.

Haya & Kattan Districts


October 21, 2021

6:00 p.m.

Lagu & Luchan Districts


October 22, 2021

6:00 p.m.

Island-wide PTOs