The Impact of Sponsors

Developing servant leaders inside and outside the classroom takes a daily commitment to creating an engaging, healthy and safe educational environment. We believe a well-rounded education is more than reading, writing, math equations and science experiments; which is why we developed the student sponsorship program. The Joseph School provides free tuition for each student, but we need community support to help ensure our students have everything they need to be successful. 

 

Why give monthly?

It’s Affordable

A seed may seem like a small thing, but we know that with continued care it can grow into something beautiful. Just like a seed, the small amount you set aside each month ultimately results in a large impact over time. Our student sponsors commit to give $38 or more per month to help our students grow.

It’s A Community

Becoming a monthly donor places you within a community of dedicated others, all committed to impacting Haitian education from the core. Our student sponsors are not just donors, but an integral part of The Joseph School family. As a student sponsor, you will receive special updates on your student and be the first to know about exciting new initiatives.

It’s Sustained Support

Our monthly givers make an even larger impact than immediately apparent — since we know we have their support, we are able to expand classroom initiatives and invest in our operations process. Recurring donations such as this help us to maintain the quality of The Joseph School experience year-round.

It’s Rewarding

As a sponsor you make an incredible impact in a child’s life, and we want to thank you for it! You’ll receive special updates as well as photos and special gifts from the students and communities you are impacting. 

What can you provide?

Safe Transportation

The Joseph School has been blessed with two school buses, which allows us to provide transportation to and from school for every one of our students. We are proud to provide this for our students, and your support helps make it possible. Your monthly donation goes toward covering gas prices and routine maintenance to ensure our students have a safe and dependable way to get to school and back home.

Daily Meals

We know that being hungry can be one of the biggest distractions a child can face in the classroom. Since food insecurity is prominent in Haiti, we provide breakfast and lunch for our students everyday. Your gift helps us buy groceries and supply our kitchen staff with everything they need to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for over 180 students daily!

School Supplies

There are many things a successful classroom needs. A student sponsor’s donations help us provide pencils, markers, workbooks, reading books and more!

Access to Education

Most of all, by sponsoring a student, you grant access to a world class education at The Joseph School. Our students receive quality education and are set up for a lifetime of success beyond the borders of our school.

 

 


Celebrating Haitian Leaders

“Empowered to dream. Compelled to Love. Called to lead.” Leadership is a key part of our vision for  The Joseph School, and a key part to a brighter future in Haiti. As we celebrate Black History Month, we want to highlight some important leaders who have helped shape Haiti, from its eventful history to today. 

Toussaint Louverture

Toussaint Louverture was born in 1743 in the French colony of Saint Dominque, now modern day Haiti. Louverture learned to read and write from his Godfather, priest Simon Baptiste and became trilingual and very well-read by his early adult years. When he was almost 50-years-old, Louverture was convinced to join the growing insurgency. He started as a soldier and eventually became a military secretary. By 1801, Louverture was ruling the now independent Saint Dominque as Governor. Toussaint Louverture is credited with leading the first successful slave revolt since Spartacus, and is an integral part in Haiti’s journey to freedom.
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Jean-Jacques Dessalines

Jean-Jacques Dessalines served as second in command to Toussaint Louverture during the Haitian revolution. After the successful freeing of Saint Dominque, it was Dessalines who named the new country Haiti, after the island’s aboriginal inhabitants’ name for the country.
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Catherine Flon

After fighting for independence for many years, creating a flag for the new nation of Haiti was an important task. Catherine Flon always had a passion for sewing and founded a workshop in her hometown of Arcahaie to teach other young girls how to sew. In 1803, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the new ruler of Haiti, tore up the French flag, removing the white stripe which represented French Colony power. His Goddaughter, Catherine Flon, sewed the remaining blue and red stripes together. This became the basis for today’s Haitian flag.
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Henri Christophe

Henri Christophe was the first king of Haiti. He helped Toussaint Louverture during Haiti’s battle for independence and gained control of the young nation as president in 1806. By 1811, he had assumed the role of king. Despite some of his eccentricities in his later years, Christophe established many important systems in Haiti, such as the monetary system, education and hospitals systems.

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Edwidge Danticat 

Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969. She found passion for writing while she was very young and has gone on to write several books, short stories and articles to critical acclaim. Her first book, “Breath, Eyes, Memory” was an Oprah’s book club selection. She has also been indicated by The New York Times as one of “30 Under 30 Creative People to Watch.”
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Michel DeGraff

Michel DeGraff is a Haitian-American, tenured linguistics professor at MIT University. In addition, he is the Director of the MIT-Haiti Initiative, a project funded by the National Science Foundation for the development and dissemination of active-learning resources and methods for science and mathematics in Haitian Creole. DeGraff’s research focuses on syntax and how language changes over time.
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Johny Placide

Johny Placide is best known for playing for Haiti national team at the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Though the team did not make it to the Olympics, Placide is remembered for his heroic efforts and passionate performance. Placide has gone on to coach the Haitian national team.
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2020 Reflection

This year, Covid-19 changed the way people live, work and learn across the globe. The Joseph School implemented remote learning in the spring, but we were blessed with the opportunity to return to campus, in the fall. While many things changed this year, our students and teachers adapted to each new challenge.

As we look back on 2020, there is so much for us to be grateful for!

Seeing Double

In the fall of 2020 after many months of prayers and planning, our second school bus arrived in Haiti. This second bus was truly a blessing. It allowed us to create a second bus route, which cut down on travel time for our students. We feel truly blessed to provide safe transportation to and from campus for all of our students.

Education Beyond The Campus

When COVID-19 hit Haiti, we knew TJS had a responsibility to educate not only our students, but our entire community on how to stay safe. Education is, after all, what we do best. In March, we partnered with the mayor of Cabaret to develop COVID-19 prevention training for the surrounding communities.

Special Delivery

When campus closed in the spring and summer, our team knew there were TJS families who would need our support. Our staff prepared care packages and personally delivered them to families in our community.

Making a House a Home

When TJS was given the land our campus sits on, part of the contract indicated that we needed to help rebuild homes for several families who lived there. We were, of course, happy to help. In August, we finished another house for a family in need! Check out our blog for the full story.

Here We Grow Again

During the summer months, we saw our first big harvest from the new garden! Some of our students were able to visit campus and help collect the fruits and vegetables. What we pick from the garden goes directly to our campus kitchen, aiding in daily meals provided to our entire student body. We even decided to expand the garden, and are looking forward to future harvests!

Welcome to the Family

Three new teachers joined our TJS family for the fall semester. The new additions bring our teaching staff total to 23! We are so grateful for the skills and expertise every one of our teachers bring to The Joseph School. We know our students are learning from the best.

The More the Merrier

We welcomed 36 new students to The Joseph School this fall, one of the biggest we’ve had at TJS. Each of these students has made a wonderful addition to our TJS family. We feel truly blessed that we were able to accommodate so many new students, despite the challenges this year brought.

Plus, we can finally announce that our new set of desks and chairs arrived in Haiti this month. Preparing a shipment to Haiti takes lots of time and planning, so we are thrilled that our students will be able to use these desks in the spring semester.

Breaking Ground

Our expansion plans are in the works, which means we will soon be able to break ground for new construction projects. In the new year 2021 we will begin planning and building our chapel and dining hall! Having a dedicated place of worship at TJS has been our dream for a long time and it is finally coming to fruition!

Turning the Page

2020 may not have gone how we expected, but it was undoubtedly still filled with blessings. We are completely funded by the generosity of our wonderful supporters. This year our family grew by 230 new first-time donors, and we saw so many exciting milestones. We will return to campus on January 4 for the start of the spring semester. As 2020 comes to a close, we are looking forward to all the joy 2021 is sure to bring.

 

 


Like Sister, Like Brother

Neika Charles is a part of the Inaugural 2015 Joseph School class. She is 10 years old and now in the 6th grade. Her journey began at our original location, a residential house, with 29 other pupils, four teachers and a much smaller support team than we have now. Neika has grown with the school, both in the literal and physical sense. She is an excellent pupil, one of the top three in her class, and has never been in trouble. She’s quiet and shy, but very sharp. 

A few weeks before our new academic year was set to begin, our Director of Operations, Bildad Michel, received a Facebook message from Neika. 

She wrote, “Hey Mr. Bildad! I just want you to know that I miss you so much, but I am also very upset.” 

Neika continued to explain, “COVID-19 has been hard on everyone. During the shutdown, I have been trying to tutor my younger brother at home. I want my brother to be able to attend the Joseph School as well. He passed the entrance exam, the first one. However, on the second entrance exam, he only made a 72. Sadly, there was just one student who scored higher than my brother. Therefore, TJS did not accept my little brother. I thought that because of me, his sister, and my being a good TJS student, the school would take him. They did not! I am sad. I am worried about the kind of education my brother will receive in Haiti. Mr. Bildad, I really wish that my brother could be in the same school as me. I really love my school and I want the same for my little brother.”

Neika and her brother, Jicknel

The pain and concern in Neika’s response was evident, and many aspects of her message were true. The Joseph School conducts two pre-assessments for children living in the surrounding Cabaret area, but can only accept 30 students per class. To be fair, TJS accepts the top 30 scores, regardless of the child’s relationship to a staff member, community leader or a sibling already attending the school.

Bildad, saddened by her complaint but having very little authority on academic decisions, advised Neika to share her views with Madam Rose Amede, the principal of TJS. She followed his advice by drafting an equally touching letter and delivered it to Madam Rose on the first day of classes*

After receiving the letter, Madam Rose met with the lead education team, shared the letter and explained the situation. It was a bittersweet moment for the team. Although Neika is considered a star pupil and her parents have never missed a service opportunity for the school, Madam Rose knew she was unable to grant Neika’s request. The team wanted to accept her brother, but knew they had to do the right thing. Oftentimes, leaders have to make decisions with their heads and not their hearts. 

Neika was told the painful truth, and the class roster remained the same. However, on the fourth day of classes, the parents of one of the new students withdrew their child for reasons known only to them. Losing a student is hard, but it also opened a spot for the next highest scoring prospect — Neika’s little brother. Perhaps God was touched by Neika’s letter, too. 

Today, Neika’s brother, Jicknel, sits proudly in the first-grade class, studying hard to make his sister proud.

 

The Letter

*Nieka’s letter, translated from her native Haitian Creole, went like this:

Good morning Madam Rose and all of the Administration of TJS! How are you guys? I pray all of you are doing great by the grace of God. I am doing really well. I write to you this letter which is concerning my little brother who came to test. His score was not accepted. I would like for TJS to admit him. I want my little brother to attend the same school with me. I was admitted to the very first class at The Joseph School. I always have great grades and an excellent grade point average. I never get in trouble. I promise you that if you give my little brother a chance, I will work with him at home. I will encourage him so that he will be a great student like me. I will make sure, his grade point average is good. I really love my school. I would like for him to receive the same level of education like me. I am counting on you. I would like to hear your answer to my request in a time that is not too late. Receive my distinguished salutation, Neika Charles


Back to School and Back Together

Despite the challenges of this year, The Joseph School (TJS) has returned to full operations with a new class of 36 first graders! There’s no question that this year has looked very different from what we had expected. COVID-19 led to a lot of changes for the end of the last academic school year. For the safety of our students and staff, the last few months of the 2019 school year were taught remotely. In addition, the borders of the U.S and Haiti were closed to slow the spread of COVID-19. This led to an increased difficulty in shipping new chairs and desks to Haiti. In-county closures also halted the printing and delivery of our custom curriculum workbooks. However, we are so proud of our incredible team for adapting to these changes and ensuring that our students had tables and chairs (lent from a local business) and digital books.

Our team, and especially the children, are excited to be back in-person, on campus for this upcoming academic year. Our team has been working hard to make sure everyone can stay safe and healthy while being together. We’ve implemented many new safety precautions to our classrooms. To start, every room on campus was thoroughly cleaned and prepped to maintain safe distances for learning. We added several new water stations — some for hand washing and others with fresh drinking water to help our students stay hydrated throughout the school day.

While these might seem like big changes, TJS is always working to grow and improve to give our students the best education possible. We are thrilled to be celebrating our sixth year! We’ve reached many incredible milestones since The Joseph School first started. This year we have 180 students enrolled in grades 1 through 6 (Kindergarten through 5 in U.S standards).

The impact The Joseph School has had on our students and the community is strong and steadily growing. One of the pillars of The Joseph School is to empower students to become leaders in their community. Our teachers strive to teach the students how to be thoughtful, considerate, and passionate leaders. We know that effective leadership stems from a strong educational foundation, which is why our curriculum is the key to our success. We value the basics of education, with great emphasis on strong reading and writing skills.  TJS also provides two meals a day to the students. Our kitchen team works hard to provide nutritious and delicious meals from local ingredients every single day for all of our students. 

This school year may look different from years past, but we have big hopes for what it will bring. We are so proud of the work our students have put in during these challenging times and can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future. It seems like just yesterday that we started in a rented house with just one class of students. Every year we continue to grow and expand what TJS has to offer through generous donations and devoted supporters. This year has already had a wonderful beginning, stay tuned for the exciting things to come at The Joseph School.

Our 2020-2021 Students and Teacher (all teachers are not pictured).

1st Grade A | Teacher: Rachel
1st Grade B | Teachers: Yveline and Nadia
2nd Grade A | Teacher: Kacendre
2nd Grade B | Teachers: Judith and Estagonia
3rd Grade A | Teachers: Sherley and Nerlande
3rd Grade B | Teachers: Ermionne and Frantz
4th Grade A | Teacher: Magdala
4th Grade B
5th Grade | Teacher: Achanta
6th Grade | Teacher: Carlo

 


Carlo’s Big Adventure

Do you remember your first job? Most teachers can tell you exactly where they were the moment they learned they had been hired to stand in front of a classroom for the first time. Carlo Nau is no different. Albeit, Carlo’s journey to the front of our fifth-grade TJS classroom is a bit unusual . . .

Carlo Nau is one of the brightest men you could meet. He received his teaching degree from Ecole Normale, the best school in Port-au-Prince, has a Masters degree in teaching, and is a certified coach. Carlo was prepared to teach. He was going places, he just didn’t know where.

Living in Port-au-Prince, Mr. Nau had never heard of The Joseph School (TJS is located in Cabaret roughly 25 km, or a 40-minute drive from PAP). However, after talking with a previous classmate who had scheduled an interview at TJS, he wanted to check out the school too. Carlo asked if he could tag along with his fellow classmate, but not surprising, his friend said, “No.” You see, jobs are hard to come by in Haiti, so it was no surprise his classmate did not want any competition.

Determined to Teach

Mr. Nau decided to follow his classmate to the TJS interview. He carefully followed through the crowded streets of downtown Port-au-Prince. Carlo lagged a block behind so he would not be detected by his friend. When his classmate took a tap-tap (the Haitian means of public transportation), Carlo took the one immediately following. Like a private investigator, Mr. Nau tailed his friend some forty miles. After arriving at TJS, Carlo continued to hide, checking out the school located in the heart of Cabaret. He was intrigued, the school did not look like the public schools in Port-au-Prince.

Since he did not have an interview appointment, he watched and waited for his chance. After noticing a decline in interviews, Carlo walked up to the staff and introduced himself. Showing his true grit, Carlo provided his list of credentials. He answered the questions and even laughed at his own unusual journey to the TJS interview table. Mr. Nau impressed the TJS staff with his determination and was hired on the spot. That was four years ago. Today Carlo still stands proud in front of his fifth-grade class. He constantly goes the extra mile, just as on that eventful interview day, as he teaches his students.

Outside of teaching in the classroom, he also coaches the students in exercise science, (what other school may term physical education). Last year, he started a newspaper for the school which covers outside sports, activities, and various special topics covered in the other classes. The paper even acknowledges the student’s birthdays.

Carlo is a godly, Christian man — a visionary. He often goes the extra mile, for himself and for The Joseph School students. His determination and leadership is respected throughout the campus and you may even catch him sharing the story of his hiring to anyone who will listen.

His success makes the Joseph School a success. He is one of the rocks of the TJS Foundation.

 


Teaching with Technology

Technology has transformed the world. “Smart” devices, like computers and tablets have molded the way we live, work, play and most importantly learn. Our Education Team has been seeking the right platforms and partnerships to establish a tech lab at The Joseph School; and we’re excited to share our newest teaching tool.

METL (Mobile Educational Technology Lab)

Earlier this month, we received 20 tablets from CTRL ALT DLT Poverty, an organization dedicated to providing learning tools through technology all over the world. Our tablets arrived in rainproof, mobile cases, allowing our teachers and students to use them in any classroom and transport them as needed.

Combatting Haiti’s Challenges

The METL kits are designed to have complete off-grid connectivity. This means our students will have numerous online learning materials without needing wi-fi!

Each kit has its own internet server with solar charging and USB power supply for each tablet. They also have the ability to run for 36 hours, with a battery backup, so our students can use them even without electricity.

CADP has collected numerous learning applications like Khan Academy (videos and quizzes for math and science), Bouquineux (over 2000 reading books), and many more. These learning applications have been programmed for our curriculum in French, Haiti’s primary educational language, and also in English. Another key learning application specifically programmed for us is PhET Physics. This application provides workshops from MIT on technology and learning methods in Haitian Creole provided by Michel DeGraff.

Not only does the METL take out concerns for internet and electricity in Haiti, it will also provide our students with technology so they can truly be globally competitive. The tablets also feature bluetooth keyboards and programmed typing applications so our students can learn how to type before we build our permanent computer lab.

Last but not least, the newest application on the tablet, Kolibiri, provides our teachers with the ability to monitor and track the progress of each student. They can create different learning groups, assign lessons, administer quizzes and view reports. This will be the first time we have had a classroom management application easily accessible for our teachers.

Our METL lab was made possible through financial contributions from the Marketing Research Education Foundation and Ipsos. There are so many exciting things about the METL and we can’t wait to see our teachers and students using them!


Madame Mazilia’s Mud House

Madame Mazilia and her family have lived on the original Joseph School land for years. Donated by the Haitian government for the school, the 77 acres sits in the heart of Cabaret. Mazilia has six children, four boys and two girls. After the beautiful land was donated for our leadership academy, it was only common sense that The Joseph School would need to help relocate any families that would be displaced by the school. Like the United States, squatters’ rights can be developed over time in Haiti. Mazilia and her family were covered under those rights.  They had lived in a simple mud house for years and that house was beginning to deteriorate.

Inspiring One Another

After the property became the new home for TJS, Jean Bildad Michel, Director of Operations, visited all the locals living on the land. He even introduced the locals to the mission teams that came to visit TJS. The visitors danced to music and shared gifts they had brought to Haiti. A relationship was born with these four families living. School staff and the families developed a relationship of respect for each other as part of their community, instead of an adversarial or litigious position.

As the school began to take shape, Madame Mazilia saw business opportunities. She watched as the building of the school brought multiple construction workers to the land and she noticed they spent long days on the job. Mazilia borrowed money and started her own food business; selling food which she herself prepared. After all, there is no one hungrier than a construction worker in the hot Haitian sun. At the entrance in front of the large TJS gate, Mazilia set up her food tent, selling to the TJS workers and the local population. She was overjoyed at her personal accomplishment.

Helping One Another

 

In Haiti, there are rainy seasons. In the middle of one such torrential downpour, the side of Mazilia’s mud house collapsed. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but Mazilia now needed a place to live.

The Joseph School got busy, contracting, and completing a brand-new concrete home just for her. She moved into the new home with her family right away. Mazilia was and is thankful that the Joseph School did not merely pay her money to move her and her family from the land. Rather, they embraced her and her family. TJS created an opportunity for her to support herself and her family.

She said, “I am 53 years old. I never imagined I would be able to have a place like this for my family. I am not worthy to have this beautiful gift from God!”

Donors, by God’s grace, you have blessed another family with a pretty cream and chocolate-colored home in the heart of the TJS area. Mazilia and her family are grateful, and so are we. Thank you!


Only Uphill From Here: Smith’s Story

If you take a moment to chat with our teaching or operational staff about their educational journey, you may find some similarities: things like overcrowded classrooms, various ages and a small library of learning materials. At TJS, we’re combating many of these challenges, among others, but  . . .  what about how they got there? How did they get to school each and every day?

When chatting with our Director of Operations, Jean Bildad Michel, he shared how he walked to school, sometimes all the way to Bon Repos, ten miles from his village of Minotrie. Yes, he walked up hill both ways! His parents simply could not afford transportation.

A Gentlemen Willing to Help

Enter Smith Guerrier. Mr. Guerrier drove a tap tap as his business venture, the Haitian mode of public transportation. Most days, Mr. Guerrier would pass a young Bildad trekking to class. Knowing Bildad did not have the financial ability to pay, Smith would stop his vehicle and allow him to ride for free. Each time, Bildad would thank him with promises to repay him one day.

Haitians often refer to their nation as a “relational country.” Such an allegiance is exactly what they mean. When the Joseph School was blessed with a school, Bildad went looking for Smith. He discovered that Smith was still driving in Haiti, with a wealth of experience and a great safety record. Due to his past Samaritan spirit, he was favored for the position, but was also the most qualified for the job. The Board of TJS did not hesitate. In 2015, Smith was the fifth person hired to the team.

When TJS first began, Smith would make multiple trips back and forth with his Tap Tap. Thankfully, TJS was blessed with its first school bus in 2018. Smith is our full time bus driver for our students as well as the guests who frequent on mission or vision trips.

More than a Driver

Smith and his wife have four children together, and one of his children also attends the Joseph School. He’s highly respected in the community, always on time, takes pride in his work, and is willing to help. When our security guard, Fritznel, was diagnosed, and later died, of lymph node cancer, Smith volunteered to drive him wherever he needed to go at no cost.

He’s very intelligent, yet humble. On one recent trip with a team of guests from Tennessee, the bus broke down one hour from Cabaret. Smith tended to the bus while reassuring the team everything was going to be okay. After hours of maintenance, they were back on the road. With a shiny disposition, Smith laughed and joked the whole way home. In total, it took seven hours to return safely to Cabaret, but Smith drove the team without complaint. He loves what he does, and we love him.

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A Stronger Team: Our Second Professional Development Training

Last week, our teachers participated in a three day hands-on training with P4H Global; our second training with the organization committed to equipping Haitian educators through professional development. 

To kickoff the training, the P4H team reviewed our current professional development strategies. Then they transitioned into the importance of educational assessments, specifically the use and role of proper evaluations in the classroom. The P4H trainers spent considerable time discussing critical thinking and how to write quality test questions in order to accurately measure student comprehension. Critical thinking is an educational element many Haitian schools lack, and therefore our teachers really enjoyed these sessions.

For the second day, the P4H trainers explored the components of a lesson plans, learning objectives, and student engagement strategies in order to help our teachers tailor their methods to meet each student’s individual needs.

On day three, the main focus was reflection. According to our teaching staff, these sessions were the most beneficial because reflection, as a learning tool, is not usually taught in Haiti. The reflective sessions enabled our team to connect meaning with the knowledge they learned, and create professional growth goals. The P4H trainers also discussed how much stronger a team can be by working together to grow professionally and that this is the key to transforming education in Haiti.

At the end of the training, the teachers completed a post test to properly measure their knowledge gain. The Joseph School teachers did the best in regards to growth out of any school that P4H has trained up to this point. They scored an average of 38.41% on the pretest and a 99.68% on the post test. This is also the highest post test score they have ever seen!

After the training, Madame Rose (TJS principal), sent a message to P4H that said, “I wanted to personally thank you and the entire P4H staff, in the name of TJS, for the beautiful training. We spent great time together, we reunited and we learned abundantly more than what we knew before the training. In the five years I’ve attended P4H trainings, I’ve never regretted one day that I’ve crossed your path. Your trainings have made me STRONGER and more INTELLIGENT. P4H, you have created change in TJS. I am so happy for your presence. I send kisses to your brain!”

Our principal said it best! We are so blessed to have a partnership with an organization that is dedicated to equipping our teachers, who can better equip our students. 

You can learn more about P4H Global here.