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ACE, Holy Cross to Launch Teacher Institute in Haiti

on Monday, 20 August 2012.

In partnership with the Alliance for Catholic Education, the Congregation of Holy Cross will introduce this week a unique institution to improve educational quality in Haitian high schools. Institut Supérieur Marcel Bédard (ISMB), named for a beloved Holy Cross priest and educator who served more than half his life in Haiti, will open its doors with an inaugural week for teachers in a robust in-service education program.

“This program is designed with the same passion for excellence that marks the Holy Cross educational tradition,” said Rev. Vernet Luxana, CSC, Director of the institute. “We believe it can serve as a model for training teachers who want to serve Haiti in the New Secondary,” he added, referring to a Haitian reform which aims to educate youth to be active and positive contributors to society and the economy.

Innovative approach to teaching methodology

The institute will use an innovative blend of coursework, school-based coaching, and distance education to deliver a two-year sequence of study in high quality instructional methods. Most participating teachers have university degrees in their subject matter, but few have received any training in teaching methodology. In fact, Haiti currently has no system for certifying secondary teachers and very few places in secondary teacher training programs. The Ministry of Education asked Holy Cross and ACE to help address this limitation.

“ISMB will provide teachers with very practical ways to improve their craft through effective planning, teaching, and assessment,” said TJ D’Agostino, Associate Director of ACE Consulting. “In keeping with the visions of both Haitian Catholic Church leaders and the Ministry of Education, the program helps participants teach not only core knowledge, but also critical thinking and moral values. It’s an education of the whole person.”

ISMB’s curriculum and program design draw from the expertise of leading Haitian educators, the experience of the ACE Teaching Fellows Program, and best practices in international education. Leaders from the Haitian Province of Holy Cross and ACE worked closely together to create the program, according to Rev. Timothy Scully, CSC, Director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives, which houses ACE. “Through our intimate relationship with the Congregation of Holy Cross – the sponsoring order of Notre Dame - we are committed to this initiative for the long-term. Notre Dame will stand with and support Holy Cross in Haiti forever.”

Academic, spiritual, and moral formation

About 45 teachers will gather at Collège Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours, a Holy Cross high school in Cap-Haïtien, for the inaugural experience August 20-23. They will then meet on 18 Saturdays throughout the school year and participate in online coursework while continuing to teach high school classes.

Rev. Michel Eugène, CSC, Provincial Superior of Holy Cross in Haiti, expects expansion in future years beyond the three high schools currently served. “This is the most important effort in years by Holy Cross in Haiti, to extend and improve the quality education we have offered Haitian families for many years,” said Eugène. “We aim to provide young Haitians with the academic, spiritual, and moral formation our country needs.”

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