More than a hundred public school teachers have been handed reprimand letters for their failure to turn in documentation to prove they have renewed their certification. The superintendent is taking action against those who aren't properly certified as required by law. The Every Child is Entitled to an Adequate Public Education Act mandates that the island's public school teachers be certified.

Several months ago at least 350 teachers failed to provide documentation to show that they're up to date with certification requirements. As of last week, more than a hundred teachers still haven't turned in those necessary documents. According to Department of Education superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood, she will no longer be giving these individuals the 14% pay increases until they provide such documents. She says the personnel office had sent out several notices to the teachers informing them that their certificates were going to expire.

"Maintaining your teaching certificate is one of the requirements for teachers to be employed in the Guam Department of Education," she explained. "So I had actually sent out a letter of reprimand to 174 teachers who had failed to submit their teaching certificates or evidence that they had renewed their teaching certificates."

The 14% increase was supposed to be an incentive for teachers to renew their certification. Bretania Underwood says these teachers have been put on notice, telling KUAM News, "If they fail to renew their teaching certificates by a certain date, then additional steps would have to be taken. I certainly hope I don't have to take that because we need every teacher. A lot of these teachers have actually performed well within our school system."

If these teachers fail to provide necessary documents, the superintendent says an internal investigation will be launched for each case that could potentially result in a suspension, demotion or even termination. She does admit that DOE cannot afford to lose any of them since officials find it difficult to recruit for these positions. These teachers have until the end of December to meet requirements, or further actions could be taken against them.

The Guam Community College meanwhile is now offering professional graduate credits for those teachers needing to be re-certified. The Reggio-inspired approach course will be held on September 26 and October 30-31. For more information, teachers can call GCC's Education Department at 735-5656.