Searching for the Class of 2019

Another year at The Joseph School means another class of incoming students!

The Joseph School vision is to have grades one through thirteen, therefore, each summer, we seek out our next class of first graders. With each incoming class of first graders, our current first graders graduate to second; our second graders graduate to third, and so forth.

The Selection Process

Each year, more and more families hear about us and the work we do in our community, and more and more students apply to attend The Joseph School. This year, we had over one hundred applicants! It’s exciting to have so many eager children, however, we can not accommodate 100 first graders, so each child participates in a two-day testing.

We give every potential student an entrance test to make sure that our new class is prepared for the rigorous school work and school culture here. We design our entrance tests around our core educational values: academics, leadership, service, language, discipleship, along with Haitian culture and history.

The testing is primarily focused on academic potential, but we also quiz new students on leadership skills. We ask new students questions like “When was the last time you apologized?” as well as asking children to identify shapes and colors. We test for the ability to grow, since many of our students couldn’t afford kindergarten. We are committed to provide equal opportunity  for all potential students regardless of background. Once the tests are scored, the top 33 students will become the newest class at TJS!

We are still in the process of scoring the tests, but stay tuned to see who the next class of future leaders are!


Let’s Talk Curriculum!

Redesigning the curriculum for our students every year is a challenge! Part of our goal is to provide a world-class education, and in order to do so, we have been creating our own curriculum from scratch. Our curriculum is a huge step towards quality education in Haiti!

In Haiti, around 60% of kids abandon school before the sixth grade. Almost all schools charge tuition, and added to the costs of uniforms and books, this keeps many families out of schools. Schools are also taught almost entirely in French, when most Haitians grow up speaking Creole. This makes education nearly impossible for those who don’t already know French. Our goal is to make a school where kids come to truly learn. While we had covered tuition and other costs for our students, there was still the issue of finding the right material in the right language to teach. TJS had previously been using the best of Haitian curriculum, but we found that it didn’t meet the standard of the world class education we wanted to provide. There was little to no material in Creole like we needed, and the curriculum is heavily memorization based. In 2017, we began the process of creating a whole new revolutionary curriculum for our students.

Lead by our education direction Katie Martin, we began designing our own curriculum for our students. We collaborated with our Haitian teachers to see where the best educational material in Haiti is coming from. After getting access to the limited material in Creole, we then starting slowly bringing material from around the world and combining it with our Haitian material. We took the best educational tools we could find from not only Haiti, but the US, Canada, and France. It is very important to us that we teach our students in the language they know best, so we carefully translate everything so that their education has a base in Creole. Once we have written the textbooks, we print copies in Haiti through local companies.

We assemble our curriculum based on our core educational themes: academics leadership, service, languages, Haitian culture & history, and discipleship. Our kids are engaged in classes like math, science, history and geography, but also in civics and biblical discipleship. We are also focused on teaching our students the languages they will need to be be be successful leaders. Our students learn Creole, French, and English, and will be fluent in all three before they graduate. We conduct regular testing every nine weeks, so that we know the students are keeping up with everything they should have learned.

We want our students to not only have the best Haitian education possible , but to compete on a global basis. Our students have already been testing, on average, much higher than other schools in the area. We will continue to update and change our curriculum as needed to guarantee that our students have the best education possible. Education changes everything, and by providing a world-class education to these children today, we are changing the future of Haiti’s tomorrow.


Summer Meals Program

School is out for the summer, and we’ve restarted our Summer Meals program!


This program is designed to make sure our kids are staying healthy ands getting enough to eat over the summer. As you may know, during the school year we feed all our students two nutritious meals a day! However, in our first year of operating, we noticed that many of our kids had lost weight over the summer from being underfed or not having enough key nutrients. In Haiti, one in five children are chronically malnourished. The Joseph School knows that a hungry child can not learn.

The Threat of Malnutrition:

Malnutrition at a young age can lead to serious problems later on in life. When three out of four Haitians live in poverty, this becomes a serious threat to the children of Haiti.

“Severe malnutrition suffered in the first two years of life in Haiti has resulted in irreversible physical and mental disabilities and depressed immune systems, making children more susceptible to contracting diseases and increasing the probability of childhood death. Malnutrition at an early age leads to reduced physical and mental development for a person’s entire life. ”
-Meds and Food for Kids

What We’re Doing:

To fight malnutrition, we started a summer program to ensure that our students would receive enough nutrition over the summer. We evaluate the students before school is out to see who is at risk for malnutrition. Then, we make bi-weekly visits to drop off Vita Mamba supplements to them and their families.

Vita Mamba is a ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) that is designed specifically for kids at risk of malnutrition. It has been declared the “gold standard” in combating malnutrition by the World Health Organization. Vita Mamba is a peanut, milk and soy based paste, fortified with vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, iodine and vitamins A and B12. It also provides a source of energy, protein and essential fatty acids. A regular supply of this keeps students from losing weight or becoming malnourished over the summer. This keeps our students healthy year-round!

Results:

This year, we have 53 students at risk (many from our youngest and first year class). This is the largest number of students we’ve ever had in need; however, we’ve already seen tremendous growth from the previous years of this program.

Our previous at-risk students did not lose weight, but actually grew at a normal rate over the summer. Therefore, we’re confident it will be the same for our current 53 children. After all, healthy bodies build healthy minds!

If you would like updates on how our students are doing, follow us on social media!