Summits Celebrates #GlobalHandwashingDay

Since 2010, thousands across Haiti have been affected by a devastating cholera outbreak. The epidemic originated in the Central Plateau, where all 41 of our primary schools are located.

This past week, Summits primary school Foyer des Enfants hosted a celebration for Jounen Mondyal Lave Men or Global Handwashing Day. Hosted by our partner Zanmi Lasante, Summits students were taught best sanitation practices in order to protect against cholera and other water and sanitation-related diseases.

Six Summits schools attended the big event which also included dancing, a talent show, and many rounds of musical chairs.

Celebrating Summits

Last week, we threw a HUGE party in the Central Plateau. Over 1,000 Summits students, teachers, community and family members assembled to celebrate our teachers and kick off the school year in style. There were fire-breathing clowns, breakdance battles, 100-degree temperatures, and amazingly – no thunderstorms! 

The celebration took place in Marouge on what will be the future site of Summits Academy, a teacher training facility and administrative hub for Summits and our partners in the Central Plateau. Community leaders, Summits teammates – including co-founders Marie Flore Chipps and Mike Chambers- along with partners and administrators welcomed and spoke to the crowd, congratulating them on their unwavering commitment to education.

The celebration also marked the first time our entire team was able to convene as one. Our 350 Summits educators and staff from both Boston and Haiti were able to celebrate the many successes of our young but mighty organization, together. 

Marie Flore, Cassandre, Ludji and the rest of the team in Haiti pulled together an absolutely momentous event. Everyone from the teachers we celebrated to the partners and guests we invited, to the students and families that scaled mountains to attend, had a blast.

We have big plans for the school year ahead and after this epic celebration, we know that together, anything is possible.

Help us make this school year the best one yet.

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 

A Wedding in Bernaco

This past weekend Summits co-founder Marie Flore and Father Fritz Lafontant, along with our new creative content producer Jessica Obert, attended the wedding of Wilfred Philatre and Wilna Pierre. Wilfred is the principal of L'Ecole Bernaco, a Summits primary school tucked in a valley outside Thomonde. The school also acted as the wedding venue.

Wilfred grew up in Bernaco and went to secondary school in Thomonde. Proving to be a dedicated and successful student, our partners Zanmi Lasante sponsored him to go college to study education. After graduation, Wilfred was offered a position to become an inspector for the state at Hinche, but turned it down, determined to return home.

At the wedding, in a speech to his new bride and the family and friends assembled, Wilfred said, "I am the product of Bernaco. I want to be a model for the youth and for the community."

Summits schools are truly the heart of the communities we serve. We're thrilled to have been able to celebrate Wilfred and Wilna!