About the project
After the devastating earthquake of 2010 where 75% of schools in Haiti were destroyed, this small community school quadrupled in size, as children from other schools came, seeking a place to get an education. The teachers and administrators are locals with absolute commitment to the education of the children, earning only $50/month. Parents are also committed, and even though living in abject poverty, they send their children to learn how to build a better life for themselves, sometimes even without shoes.
The school has just two simple concrete structures and a temporary one constructed of woven palm leaves, and yet provides K-6 education for 200 students. It’s located in Guerot, a farming community where most residents work in the fields. Incomes fluctuate based on crop yields, so most parents struggle to pay the very small fee the school charges, about $1 a month. The Director and the teachers work closely with the community to improve parental engaement with their children's education.
How we help
Georges Marcellus students are some of the poorest in Haiti and often have to face great challenges. The school prepares and encourages them to strive to better themselves and serve their community.
With a steel determination, the teachers and administrators of this school educate Haiti's most marginalized children. When promised funding from the government did not come for many months, the teachers agreed to reduce their individual salaries by 20% so that everyone could be paid. In 2018, the salaries of all teachers will be raised to not only meet the minimum wage standards, but also attract and retain talented teachers to ensure quality of teaching and learning.
To assist families with multiple children enrolled in the Georges Marcellus School, and to reduce the burden of tuition payments on the families least able to afford them, the shool board has established a scholarship program with the aim of complementing, rather than replacing the payments made from parents.
In working with the School’s Administrative Committee, the Board has established the eligibility criteria and a transparent mechanism for enrolling children in the program.
The Director and the School Board are very enthusiastic about the impact of the evaluations recently completed as it enables us to identify the strengths of educational approaches and the areas in need of attention. We are planning to continue with the systematic assessment and evaluation in 2018. The funds provided will also allow the complete evaluation to be repeated at the end of 2018.
In addition, the grant will also allow classroom observations/ individual dialogues with teachers to occur every three months for planning and ongoing accompaniment. In the middle of every three-month cycle, the teachers are to be invited to participate in quality learning circles. Assessment of the reading, writing and oral comprehension skills of 2nd Grade students in both French and Creole would occur in June and October.
Funds are also budgeted for several days of teacher training in the summer months. The content of this training will be determined through the classroom observations and Teacher quality learning circles.
Many of the children attending Georges Marcellus come from very impoverished background. The Board will continue to seek local sources of food, but due to the criticality of the current situation, has decided to fully operationalize the canteen beginning in April.
The Board will spend the time needed to reinforce the administrative skills (such as record keeping, inventory control, good food storage practices, reasonable authorizations and oversight) needed to operate an efficient and transparent food program as well as to educate and motivate the parents and community.
Unfortunately, an unintended consequence of offering a school lunch program may be that many families then choose to send their children to school on an empty stomach. Still, the Board has decided the children will benefit if the food program is successful and hence the program will be started.
The grant will also cover the purchase by the School of cooking pots and other materials needed to make the new kitchen operational.
2018 project goals
Provide scholarship to all 200 students at $78/year/student, $15,700
Continue with vigorous teacher training programs through CAFT to improve quality of teaching, $14K
Continue with school maintenance and build 5 latrines and the septic tank, cost $21K
Purchase textbooks and school materials, $1,600; furniture & equipment, 3,789.
Provide a meal a day to every child through the year, $5,550.