In full operation since the fall of 2011, the bilingual school is the jewel of the Have Faith Haiti Mission. It has created enormous strides in the development of the children there with a curriculum developed by school director Cara Nesser, a psychologist and educator.
Classes are divided by age and development level, with highly individualized placement and fluid groupings so each student can move forward according to academic strengths and weaknesses. All students learn four hours of English and three hours of French every school day. The curriculum is developed to reach all Haitian academic standards, and to also allow students to pass any TOEFL standardized tests should they wish to apply to college or graduate studies outside of Haiti. In the 2017-2018 school year, an English oral presentation class was added to the class schedule.
At the end of the year, the last day of school is also a party. We call it a graduation, but it’s really a celebration of the academic excellence achieved through the year. Students receive certificates and honors and perform skits in French. French and English spelling bees are also beloved annual traditions each spring.
In 2014, a special plaque was placed in the old school building honoring “The Jim and Jane McElya School of Hope” and quotes Proverbs, reading: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” It is the philosophy of the school and its many teachers.
Through a partnership with the Michigan Colleges Alliance — a collective of the top fourteen excellent independent colleges and universities located throughout Michigan — the Have Faith Haiti Scholarship Fund is helping to make a college education possible. Click here to donate directly to the scholarship fund.