domingo, 23 de junio de 2013

Lots of Meetings!!

Teacher Judith Cadet and her kindergarden/pre-school class.

Throughout the spring, we had a series of meetings with educators in the community of Padre Granero. Some of these educators work in our school, some work in another school that popped up nearby this year, others are parents of students in our school, and others are hopeful employees. Everyone expressed one desire. To work in collaboration toward the cause of providing the best education possible to the children in the community, as well as to illiterate adults. They also expressed the need for educators to stop putting money first when providing social aid, but to put the advancement of the school first. We hope that teacher salaries can increase in the future and their standards of living can improve, but putting money first will not make this happen.

There seems to be a phenomenon that often occurs when a local group of educators receives foreign support. Rather than using the support as a boost to do more than they could've done before, they sometimes put money first and hold back, refusing to do certain basic tasks unless more money is given to them. They aren't motivated to visit the houses of children who are not in school and encourage their parents (who are unschooled themselves and don't always give school the value it deserves) to send these children to school. They are more concerned about their monthly paycheck and don't seem concerned (or at least enough to act) that at the end of each year, attendance dwindles significantly, or some students who register and receive free uniforms don't actually attend school. This group whom which we held a series of meetings largely criticized this phenomenon and spoke passionately about their collective desire to create a school where this is not the case. Educators who act in that way are producing much less fruit than is possible to produce, and they/we want to produce as much fruit as possible.

So in response to this, we began forming a committee to govern the school. This committee is still in its formation stages. I am happy to announce that we have joined forces again with the first educator we ever worked with in Padre Granero, a pioneer of Haitian education in the community, Pastor Milien Dieufils. Also as a result of this series of meetings, the man who has served as the school's director from January 2010 to present, was asked to step down and work as a teacher. If he does not accept peacefully, he will not work with the school at all. It was determined that his practices do not represent the ideal practices stated above, but more so the negative practices that lead to a less fruitful school and effort.

Tomorrow we will begin a volunteer run English immersion camp in the school. This summer we will also execute a soccer team for boys in the community ages 7-14, which boys in our boys' home will also participate in. We are searching for a new school building to rent as the previous director declares too much authority over the current building, and also because we believe we can find a better location with better access to water. Volunteer Chloe Bootstaylor and teacher Willy Previl spent a week and a half walking all around the community and surrounding communities, motivating and informing parents and registering students for next year. Chloe has created student profiles of these students who are ready for sponsorship for the 2013-2014 school year. Remember, this is a $100 per year committment which goes toward the student's uniform, books, and some toward the general functioning of the school. If you would like to sponsor, please e-mail

Lastly, if you are in the Puerto Plata area and would like to volunteer with the English camp this summer, please e-mail