About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Partnerships with a Purpose in Haiti

Since I first started working with my colleagues in Haiti, I have tried to ensure that we didn't work in "silos." Instead, building partnerships allows us to share resources and collaborate in ways that we would not be able to do if we just each had our specific area of focus.

Over the 10 years or so that I've been working in Haiti, these partnerships have really expanded. We have formal partnerships between universities (e.g. WLU and the Public University of the North at Cap-Haitien) and with governmental organizations (e.g. Ministry of National Education). Individually, I also collaborate with other faculty and researchers such as through the newly formed ISTEAH (university faculty from across Haiti, Canada, and the US to support advanced studies in Haiti). We also have informal working relationships with other organizations such as the Sacred Heart Centre in Cap-Haitien, College de la Grace in Pignon, and the Baptist Mission in Fermathe. Each of these partnerships enriches the work we are doing to support leadership capacity-building in Haiti.

Recently, I have been dialoguing with two graduate students from the University of Florida (Bertrhude Albert, Priscilla Zelaya) as we look to bridge the work they have been doing with teachers in Cap-Haitien with what we have been doing with school leaders. Bertrhude (who is originally from Haiti) and Priscilla have started their own charitable organization (check out Projects for Haiti) as a result of their passion to see teacher development occur there.

As a result of a $10,000 grant they received this year, they were able to take a team of US educators to Cap to provide a week of training for 135 participants. They estimate that 5000+ children will be impacted as a result of this training. Another very positive outcome of the training was a decision by some of the key Haitian teachers to form a professional teacher association so they could provide professional development to their colleagues. Their first PD training event is happening next week! This type of professional association will also sustain the learning which occurs in the face-to-face- training sessions. This is the type of sustainable, locally-owned work we need to see multiplied in Haiti.

Partnerships allow us to demonstrate what authentic collaboration looks like. They also enable new directions to be considered and developed. We are currently discussing with Berthrhude and Priscilla how the Digital Mentoring Project, which has had a focus on school leaders, can be expanded to include lead teachers in schools. I am also investigating options for developing on-line learning opportunities for our teacher and school leader colleagues in Haiti to make use of the digital technologies which are increasingly becoming available in Haiti. 

These are exciting developments and I look forward to fostering this "partnership with a purpose" going forward!



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