Summits Update: Looking to the Year Ahead

A few weeks ago, Summits closed the books on our first full fiscal year. While this was an exciting milestone, it is the academic year that most defines us. Right now, across Haiti, nearly 10,000 students in our network are standing on their tiptoes, preparing for the year ahead. 

Do you remember that feeling? As summer winds down and the reality of getting to be a whole-grade-older settles in? Do you remember how many worlds apart eighth grade was from seventh?

Like children all over the world, Summits students are a mix of nervous and excited, wondering, ‘Do I have the right books? Will I know where to sit? Am I ready for this leap?’

Their teachers also feel the burden of possibility. This past month, over 350 Summits educators convened for an intensive training institute, many sharing the same trepidation as their students for the school year ahead, wondering: ‘Can I prepare this generation of students to surpass my own?’

At Summits, our work is to answer all of these hopeful questions with a resounding yes. Yes, you have what you need to succeed in school this year: as a student, as a teacher, as a community. 

What started as a vision to build a secondary school has grown into an organization leading the effort to develop a model for the Haitian education system. You made this possible through your advice, your partnership, and your investment in Summits Education. Thank you. 

Powered by your generosity, there are many bright spots from the past year: 

  • In September of 2015, Summits adopted a network of 41 primary schools serving nearly 10,000 students and employing over 350 educators. Elevating the quality of learning in these schools is our top priority. 
  • Summits received a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, enabling us to develop a coalition to plan a Model School District in Haiti’s Central Plateau. 
  • Summits joined forces with the Haitian Ministry of Education. Their pledge to subsidize costs associated with our schools is a major step towards creating a sustainable model for the Haitian education system.
  • Summits secured 23 acres of land in Marouge, Haiti - the future site of Summits Academy.
  • Summits launched a partnership with InnovEd, a teacher training institute at Quisqueya University. Through InnovEd, each Summits teacher, school director, and supervisor will participate in 250 hours of professional development. The initial reviews are in, and our educators are raving about their experience.

In the spirit of spreading excitement for the coming school year, here is a preview of our upcoming plans:

  • In January 2017, Summits will launch our Whole Child Pilot Program in the 10 Summits schools nearest PIH’s University Hospital of Mirebalais. In these schools, we will implement a comprehensive set of programs to ensure students are healthy, safe, supported, engaged and challenged. This pilot will allow Summits to prove the efficacy of our highly collaborative and holistic approach to education.
  • In partnership with the University of Notre Dame and Catholic Relief Services, Summits educators will be trained to implement an intensive early grade reading intervention to drastically boost the reading and writing skills of our students. 
  • With Zanmi Lasante leading the effort, twelve of our schools will receive new handwashing stations, bathrooms, and sanitation and hygiene training for students. 
  • In early 2017, we will break ground on a teacher training facility which will serve as the center of teaching excellence for the Summits network. Over time, this space will serve as a cafeteria and auditorium for Summits Academy. We have raised just over half of the one million dollars needed to complete this facility. 
  • This fall, Summits will join Tracy Kidder on the A Truck Full of Money book tour to expand our community and audience. Stay tuned for more on events near you!

At Summits, we believe that education has the power to transform societies. Our programs and our partners are united by a collective goal: to raise the standards of academic rigor for both students and teachers, empowering a future generation of changemakers in Haiti and beyond. 

Together, we're laying a foundation of transformative opportunities for Haiti’s most vulnerable students.

Let’s move mountains.


Mike Chambers
Co-founder and Executive Director, Summits Education