American Samoa has been a territory of the United States since 1899. Residents of American Samoa are not U.S. citizens; rather, they are U.S. nationals. This territory has its own constitution with oversight from the U.S. Department of the Interior. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, American Samoa has a population of 55,519, with the majority of the population residing on the island of Tutuila. There are five islands and two coral atolls in the territory. The economy is dependent on tuna fishing and processing, which is responsible for 80% of employment.
American Samoa’s Department of Education is led by the director of education, who reports to the territorial governor. The school system has approximately 12,692 students and 811 teachers in grades K–12. American Samoa’s compulsory schooling age ranges from 6–18. Both English and Samoan are the official languages and languages of instruction in American Samoa. There is one four-year institution of higher learning, American Samoa Community College.
Work in American Samoa centers around the priority area of college and career readiness. With support from REL Pacific through a study on college readiness and technical support, the American Samoa Alliance for College and Career Readiness is working to use data from the Student Longitudinal Data System to inform policy and practice around college and career readiness, to identify college and career readiness indicators, and to support American Samoa’s Five- Year Comprehensive School-Based plan, which focuses on facilitating college and career preparedness, the transition from secondary to post-secondary, training opportunities to help students understand the world of work, adequate resources for all career pathways, and pre-service and in-service training for teachers and counselors to support academic, career, and personal/social skill standards for students.