St. Pierre parish, Baradères, Haiti — sister parish of St. John the Baptist Catholic Community, Silver Spring, Md.
Secondary and high school
Baradères has a public high school but it charges tuition, is not academically strong, and teachers often are not paid. Post-ninth grade educational opportunities in the region have therefore almost nonexistent.
The sister parish project of St. John the Baptist is helping change that. The parish has helped St. Pierre establish a secondary and high school that builds on our longer-term assistance to the primary schools in St. Pierre parish.
In 1999, the secondary schoolthe Collège de St. Jean Baptiste (CSJB)opened in temporary quarters with a seventh-grade class. Eighth grade was added in 2000.
In fall of 2001, the new school building opened with about 100 seventh, eighth and ninth graders enrolled.
Since then, classes for tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth grade (fall 2008) have been added. Current enrollment is about 250 students.
The building is located on land owned by St. Pierre parish. The ground floor of the two-story building has three classrooms and four other rooms used for offices, storage, library and a computer lab.
By 2004, the second floor was partially completed -- with an assembly hall subdivided with partitions to provide space for three classes of students until, in 2008, the second floor classrooms were completed.
Early in 2009, the computer room was established and the first two desktop computers were up and running. Power source is a gas generator, but in the future we hope for a solar array to provide electricty for the school.
Students in the carpentry class have manufactured benches, doors and windows for the school.
Students are accepted at the secondary school if they pass a state-sponsored exam. But academic standards at the Collège St. Jean Baptiste are rigorous.
Teacher qualifications are much higher compared to the parish primary schools, and salaries reflect this.
CSJB secondary school teachers currently earn only a few dollars US per hour, but it is a good salary by Haitian standards and higher than the rate paid to most teachers in Haiti. Moreover, the teachers are paid consistently.
The lunch program costs about $1 per week per student.
In Haiti, children who complete ninth grade and pass a national exam receive a certificate enabling them to attend higher education or vocational school. So, ninth grade can be a critical turning point.
In 2002, all 13 ninth graders passed the exam. By 2003, all but two of the thirteen had left Baradères most to try to find a high school elsewhere.
Since 2005, nearly every CSJB ninth-grader has passed the exam.
In Haiti, graduating twelfth-graders can elect to take an even more rigorous national exam to attempt to qualify for continuing their education. The national pass rate is about 15%. In 2008, the average score of the CSJB graduates was the third-highest of any school in the country.
Matt Minahan teaches a song to
some eighth graders in January 2001, when 7th and 8th grade classes were
conducted on the front porch of the sisters' convent at Pope Jean Paul II
The new secondary school under
construction (January 2001).
Construction of the
second-floor assembly hall in January 2003.
First (2006) twelfth-grade graduating class. More...