The Joseph School families and cinder blocks: A story of devotion

What is a cinder block? 

Actual cinder blocks are pretty cool. They used to be made from the cinders which were a waste product of burning coal. In recent years, cinder blocks have been replaced with cement blocks, but it’s still the name we use to talk about a sturdy building material — something that creates a strong foundation for a building that will last a lifetime. Cinder blocks are part of what make the classrooms at The Joseph School a safe-haven for Haitian students. 

The Joseph School campus is built on 70 acres of gifted land from the Haitian government. Just a few short years ago, this land was completely empty. Supporters like you are what have made our buildings strong and allowed The Joseph School to grow to over 210 students and 50 employees. Thanks to generous donations, The Joseph School campus now includes two classroom buildings, which house grades 1-6, the campus gate and a garden.

Without the support of so many people over the years, The Joseph School would not be where it is today. However, as the school continues to grow, the need for a larger campus is becoming more clear. In 2021, The Joseph School welcomed it’s first class of seventh grade students, which means the need for a secondary school to house older students is absolutely necessary.

We are thrilled by the great milestones of the campus, but this progress comes at a steep price. After hearing that The Joseph School needed extra help to continue building the campus, the parents of TJS students provided an unexpected gift to the campus!

Parents of TJS wanted to become part of the donor group that is changing the life of students every single day.  They got together and made the decision to sacrifice important income for their families to begin purchasing cinder blocks for the next classroom building. 

Although the average family in Cabaret lives on $2 daily, along with food scarcity and fuel shortages running rampant through Haiti, many TJS families felt this gift was a key to changing not only their child’s future, but their community and country’s future as well. 

After several months, and the majority of TJS families making sacrifices, 11,000 cinder blocks have been purchased. Several families even took it upon themselves to purchase blocks in other family’s names to make sure everyone felt included and part of building their future.

We are immensely grateful for the gift of the cinder blocks TJS families have provided, but there are many more elements needed to complete the new building on campus. That’s where you come in!

This special project is ongoing and still in need of $25,000 to start the next classroom building and equip it with technology and supplies. When you join The Joseph School family in building the next chapter of the Joseph School, your gift has the power to change the life of a Haitian student today. Will you join us? Donate today.

Beyond The Books: What’s Being Taught in Our TJS Classrooms

Did you know- The curriculum at The Joseph School (TJS) is custom developed to meet the needs of TJS students! By creating a custom curriculum, TJS has the ability to focus on subjects and lessons that may not be present in a typical Haitian classroom. Our Culturally Committed Curriculum directly aligns with our mission of preparing the next generation of student leaders in Haiti.


For instance, The Joseph School places a specific focus on language development with the goal of preparing every TJS graduate to compete in a global marketplace. TJS students study three languages during their primary school years (1st through 6th grade): Creole, French, and English. A fourth language, Spanish, is added in 7th grade. This gives students opportunities to see how communication is affected by words and language semantics.

Social and Emotional Skills

The Joseph School’s custom curriculum allows learning to go beyond math, science, and other academic subjects. TJS teachers understand the critical role of social and emotional learning for the students and how these skills promote student success. Social emotional skills help students develop ways to express themselves which promote kindness, sharing, problem solving, and empathy for others. 

A focus on these skills helps develop academic excellence and build students’ confidence in their ability to become transformational leaders for their generation. Skills are practiced through coordinated classroom, school-wide, family, and community practices. Four key skills are focused on:

Personal awareness and management of emotions, values and stressors

Social awareness of others’ needs

Relationship skills and problem solving

Responsible decision making

Life Skills

TJS teachers are passionate about helping students learn and negotiate these current challenges, and our custom curriculum supports their efforts. This learning involves an understanding that each student has life skill needs. The Joseph School teaches communication in multiple ways and makes sure each student has a way to express themselves. In our curriculum, we cover verbal, non-verbal, written communication, and listening. The Joseph School believes it is important to be able to express opinions in a way that works best for each individual student. We also believe that active listening skills are essential for strong leadership. TJS teaches the students not just to listen, but to comprehend, ask questions and respond accordingly.

Leadership Development

The Joseph School’s goal is to create generational transforming leaders. This includes teaching them to have high standards for themselves and to set an example for others to follow. Students at The Joseph School attended classes in civics and theology, which provide a foundation for how to treat others with respect and kindness, being honest and trustworthy, and taking responsibility for their actions

Education is an important part of any child’s development, however, at The Joseph School it is even more critical. Haiti is in a season of tremendous challenges economically, politically, and socially. TJS understands that social emotional skills are extremely important not only to the health and wellbeing of each individual, but to developing strong, caring leaders. This is crucial knowledge as our students learn how to have hope for their futures and build creative ways to negotiate possible solutions in these stressful times.

Now more than ever, it is clear that “Haiti does not have an education problem. Haiti has a leadership problem.” Thanks to the generous support of donors across the globe, The Joseph School is working to do more than just educate the next generation of Haitian leaders. The Joseph School is committed to developing informed and passionate leaders of Haiti.