Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020


Community and Regional Planning

First Major Professor

Dr. Timothy Borich


Master of Science (MS)


Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies


The Pacific region of the United States is experiencing a rapid population and economic growth. In small developing countries, like Saipan, rapid development can cause rippling affects. With increased economic activity and the proposed phasing out of the Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program in 2029, the island must be able to respond to meet the industry needs. This includes added infrastructures, additional public services and human capital.

Human capital is one of the key ingredients to economic development. The knowledge and skills of the labor force plays a significant role in the development of the region’s economy. Research suggests that regions grow faster and are economically stronger if they have a larger proportion of skilled workers within their communities. In order to achieve this in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), there is a need to address the systemic issue of developing a well-educated and skilled workforce for developing communities across the region. “Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family” - Kofi Annan.

Prior research reveals that engaging adolescents during their middle school years through parental involvement increases their probability to graduate high school and seek post-secondary or vocational education. Using an existing parent-based curriculum that focuses on enhancing the capacity of middle school-aged parents, this research evaluates the relevance and effectiveness of the curriculum working with Asian / Pacific Islander families at the Tanapag Middle School on the island of Saipan. A mixed methods approach was used for this project. The quantitative process encompassed a pre and post survey to gauge parents’ perception about the importance of their role in their child’s education, the level of involvement in their child’s learning, and level of confidence they have in their ability to help their child succeed. The qualitative process included the participants’ responses reflected on the “Tree of Knowledge and Reflection”.

Based on the findings, there are significant difference in the participants’ view about the importance of education, their involvement and confidence level. In addition, it appears the content and educational materials were culturally relevant and resonated with Asian/Pacific Islander participants. The findings are used to prescribe a set of recommendations including making the program available to all middle schools on Saipan and perhaps extending it to the outer islands of Rota and Tinian to further test its relevancy with a larger participant base.

Copyright Owner

Belyeu-Camacho, Tayna C.

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