July 17, 2011
Values-Based English Education for Mirebalais, Haiti — L’Ecole de Choix (EDC), FATEM, Jacky Poteau

Principal Lynn Black and Laura Hartman of the Zynga Game Network at the school's construction site near Mirebalais

Principal Lynn Black and Laura Hartman of the Zynga Game Network at the school's construction site near Mirebalais

Jacky Poteau, Director of FATEM, a community development and educational organization in the Mirebalais area of Haiti’s Central Plateau, has unveiled on Facebook today the principles of a new school for Haiti.  L’Ecole de Choix (EDC) is developing an English-language school with teachers and students modeling character and mutual respect.

L’Ecole de Choix (EDC), the School of Choice, is a progressive, secular, pre-kindergarten thru 12th grade school and community center. According to Jacky Poteau, the new school will be geared towards “children and families living in conditions of extreme poverty, with a focus on quality education, income generation and financial literacy.  EDC students will learn about themselves, their history and their heritage, as well as diverse other cultures…”

The school leaders aspire to create a national model for pedagogy, teacher training and curriculum in a new flexible facility.  The building will serve all ages as a day and night school, community center, and site for vocational and adult education.

The decision to offer an English school in Haiti, where students have had little opportunity to learn in their native tongue of Haitian Creole, was made based on three global realities, explains Poteau:

“(1) Haiti’s geographical location with regards to the US, the world’s leading economy and the need to prepare a workforce that can get involved in economic exchanges with the US;

(2) English as the language of commerce and of the Internet;

(3) The need to prepare Haitian children not just to get jobs in Haiti, but to be equipped to compete on a global scale with their peers in this 21st century.

“We are well aware of the need for Haitian children to know their language, and the need to prepare them to sit in national exams in Haiti; to that effect, we will also teach them French and they will be taught how to write Creole, since they already speak it at home.  By the way, we are doing all this while we will abide with the requirements of the Haiti Ministry of Education.”

To read more about the values and leadership of this new school for Mirebalais, see:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/LEcole-de-Choix-the-School-of-Choice/142803422466297?sk=info or http://www.fatem.org/programs-and-projects/school-construction-projects/34-schools-construction-and-repair

L’Ecole de Choix was established by FATEM, a Haitian-led community development and education organization, with initial funding for construction and first-year operations from Zynga Game Network (www.zynga.org).  FATEM received a 2010 grant from the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation for summer teacher training reaching educators from 13 schools.