This year we started with a team retreat identifying our challenges and goals, and our Summits family grew with the indispensable addition of Hanna Atwood and Carolyn Mellin, working extraordinarily on our development side. Although Hanna is based in Boston, she is always up for a hike with the team to one of our faraway school communities in the Central Plateau. And Carolyn takes such individual care and attention to each one of our educators, founders and students so that she can bring their stories back to the United States.
The previous summer we partnered with Girls Voices to provide an intensive media workshop for seven girls from our community in Savanne Longue. Each produced a short documentary on topics ranging from girls soccer to sugar cane.
Out of 300 girls and 14 countries worldwide, all seven of our girls were nominated and Nellie won the changemaker contest for her short documentary on building a road in her community. Since then she has put some of her proceeds toward the implementation of a women’s hygiene program in her school.
The girls showcased their videos in Port-au-Prince at Université Quisqueya, and had a small premiere in their community during the winter party at school!
At the beginning of the year our goal was to focus on literacy. We opened up two libraries: one on our central campus in Mirebalais, and the other in the Summits’ school of Domond.
With the help of Sara Mansbach and PIHL we were able to stock the library in Domond with books for the kids and surrounding community. With Odette Charreyron, Summits’ Library Specialist, and Renel Ulysse and Jasmine Celeste, two of our library facilitators, we’ve also been in the process of installing mobile community libraries in all 40 of our schools.
Mary’s Meals has been feeding 26 of our schools, meeting our goal of all 40 of ours schools being accompanied with a food program.
Not only has Mary’s Meals been providing our students with a hot meal, but Scottish actor, Gerard Butler, visited the Summits school atop Morne Mouton to see how the program was serving the community. We got to know Gerry well, and it remains a top highlight of our year.
Ripples of Hope kicked off the recommencement of groups coming to visit us in Haiti to take a deeper dive into the work we are doing in our schools in communities, and enjoy the beauty of Haitian culture.
Together we visited the Summits school in Savanne Longue as well as in Mirebalais. We also enjoyed a trip to Saut d’Eau, a beautiful waterfall in the heart of the Central Plateau that attracts both Catholic and Voodoo pilgrims every July.
At the start of the year, 250 educators graduated from the program with certificates in hand from the MENFP and Université Quisqueya.
For the past two years, Innoved-UniQ has been providing our team of 350 educators and supervisors with training to improve the quality of education we are providing our students. Positive discipline, decolonization of the education system in Haiti, an emphasis on mother tongue instruction, training on lesson planning and developing critical thinking skills, and popular morning circle activities to engage our students is at the core of their professional development curriculum and support to our network.
Kore Foundation has been a loyal partner of ours. They’ve provided 8,000 eggs to 8 of our schools ensuring that Summits students start the day with protein so that they’re ready to take on a day of learning!
They work with many of our surrounding communities and their families in the Central Plateau to create a sustainable income producing chicken farms and eggs with training and support. That way more families have the means to feed their children and send them to school
We went all out for Fèt Drapo. We brought students from across our network of 40 schools to celebrate Flag Day. Despite the unrest that has been a cause for disruption for many national holidays, we were so happy that we were all able to celebrate Haitian pride on such an occasion. It made it extra special.
There was school pride and dance offs, a bounce house and ice fresco. Acting and poetry reading and a fire swallower, all in the name of holding that Haitian flag high and with positive eyes toward the future.
Reforestation is a must in our communities. That’s why with our partner, Accesso, we provided seedlings of various kinds of trees to plant in our schools with our students.
They were kind enough to provide training and teach our students the importance of caring for the environment. If we’re going to make the lasting changes in our communities that we know is possible, it’s together.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the changes made in the educational sector. But we’ve formed incredible partnerships and been witness to so much transformation across all 40 of our communities and in all 10,000 of our students. Test results of our 6th grades show an increase from 65 percent to 78 percent, with 13 of our schools achieving a 100 percent passing rate! That’s a 13 percent increase!
Because of support from you we have been able to stay focused on our mission to provide a quality and holistic education. The school year of 2019/2020 can only go up from here. Ann ale!