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October 2014 Update

Kindergarten Class

Kindergarten Class

Dear friends of Matènwa,

We are excited to share this latest update with you. The 2014-2015 school year is fully in session and we are launching a great, new partnership to spread our educational model on Lagonav and across Haiti.

A group of NCLC parents on their children's first day of school.

A group of NCLC parents on their children’s first day of school.

School officially reopened on September 3rd, 2014. All students came on that first day, accompanied by their parents, to sign parent-student contracts and go over the key activities for the year. Having all students attend the first day of school is not an easy feat in Haiti, due to the difficulties that many parents have in paying for uniforms and school materials. At MCLC, however, because of your continued support and that of other partners, and the solid relationship we have built with parents over the years, all students are welcome on the first day of school (see more class pictures below).

Training teachers from the mainland

Training teachers from the mainland.

Training teachers from the mainland.

Our vision of a student-centered education model in Haiti, free of violence and based on hands-on activities that foster critical thinking and problem-solving rather than simple memorization, is slowing spreading as more school teachers and principals from the mainland come to us for training. image4In September, 10 teachers from Cap-Haitien and Jacmel spent two weeks at MCLC to receive training in several areas, notably reading and writing, teaching preparation, classroom management, and the integration of the garden into academic subjects such as sciences and math.

Partnering with Other Lagonav Institutions

MCLC, Beyond Borders (a non-profit working to end child slavery and prevent violence against women and girls in Haiti), and AAPLAG (The Association of Peasant Organizers of Lagonav) met on September 25 and 26 to develop a new educational partnership around child rights. MCLC’s role in this partnership is to train teachers in 25 schools in non-violent education and help create child-friendly schools and communities in our network. This partnership will also increase the speed at which we will introduce all Lagonav schools to our model. We are certain that this new academic year will be even more successful than the previous ones.image6

Chris Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

September 2014 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

We have some great news to share. We are proud to report that all 25 of our 6th graders and 21 of our 25 9th graders passed the national exams. Students from 13 partner schools that have received training from MCLC did also relatively well on the exams (81% of 234 students passed). Lagonav is overall reporting an increase in success rate on these exams and your support is making a difference in these results.

Summer Trainings and Workshops

Matenwa1More than 30 teachers from 13 partner schools came to MCLC for our last summer training. They used this opportunity to discuss the materials and resources needed to help their schools operate better. They also reviewed together the state exam results, their work in the school gardens, and the 2014-2015 academic calendar.

Matenwa2All MCLC staff also met together for a week before the school’s reopening in order to review the last academic year and prepare for the next. They are very pleased with the national exam results and look forward to helping the students perform even better this year. They want to continue having their weekly staff training and development every Friday and maintain their success in the school garden. As a group, they would also like to boost the art and music program.



Matenwa3 Matenwa5 Matenwa4

Teachers are preparing and discussing their classroom materials with each other before they welcome students for the new academic year.

A network of school directors

Matenwa6Seven of 10 partner schools that have been receiving intense training from MCLC in the past years have decided to join together to form a school director’s network to spread our model. They want to encourage more schools to use Creole as the language of instruction, eliminate violence in the education system, create school gardens, and value their local products. These directors are meeting together and thinking of ways to support and improve the MCLC model. We welcome their initiative and will continue to strengthen this partnership.


Chris Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

Tablet Training….with enthusiasm and Connie

Preschooler Flips thru a MTB

Connie reading with a preschooler

3 kids looking at MTB's

3 kids looking at MTB’s

Pairs sit back to back, one describes what s/he is drawing as the other draws what s/he hears from the description. afterwards they compare their pictures. ( This exercise was to promote details in descriptive writing).

Ruth Celestin and Ezner Angervil. Pairs sit back to back, one describes what s/he is drawing as the other draws what s/he hears from the description. afterwards they compare their pictures. ( This exercise was to promote details in descriptive writing).

Using MTBs to figure out what questions to ask authors


1-3 grade teachers and their directors from 5 schools

Fayerweather Teachers Connie Biewald and Inglees Auguste. ACR GRANT MTB training.

Herbie reads a MTB to the other teachers as Ruth and Connie show the illustrations to the group.


August 2014 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Summer camp was filled with fun and learning. The students, teachers, and visitors all had an enriching experience working and playing together.

NM8-1bSince 2012, summer camp has been a popular NM8-2bprogram at the school. This year, we had over 250 participants, split into different workshops suh as arts and crafts, dance, knitting, music, and yoga. Our visitors also had time to interact with their host families. For example, some learned how to make peanut butter and grill, caramelize, and ground coffee beans with the local women.

Several trainings took place during camp. A team from A Connected Planet taught the students and teachers how to use tablets as educational tools. Our goal is to integrate this technology into our Mother Tongue Books program at all grade levels.
Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.46.07 PMTen teachers in our school network participated in a three-day training for Greater Sustainability in Agriculture to help reinforce their capacity in school gardening. This training covered several important topics, including how to make infertile land fertile again. Participants also learned more about the nutrition in different plants and other strategies for integrating the garden into their academic curriculum.

Christian Haitian Entrepreneurship Society, a non-profit Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.46.27 PMorganization based in MA, facilitated a three-day business training for Pouse Kreyòl (in English: Pushing Creole Products). Pouse Kreyòl is a group of women artists in Matènwa who are starting their own business: making, promoting, and selling their hand-painted scarves. Their vision is to build a successful business that will enable them to take care of their families and train other women in need. During the training, they learned and practiced, through role-play, more effective strategies for promoting their products and approaching potential customers.

NM8-5Our Open Space meeting brought together teachers and directors from several partner schools. Participants divided themselves into several small discussion groups on various community issues. The topics for discussion ranged from “How do we reduce teenage pregnancy?” to “How do we help the people of Lagonav advance given the many development challenges they face?” All groups engaged in passionate discussions and saw a need to bring even more people from the community into the dialogue to properly address these issues.  We look forward to having these semi-annual Open Spaces.

Museum of Science Kits

For a second summer we have piloted a MOS engineering kit. Last year we piloted one on Earthquakes and this year we piloted the Sky’s the Limit curriculum. In this unit, students learned about different models of flying technologies that help organizations such as NASA take aerial photographs.  They had a lot of fun designing their own models and testing how they interact with moving air outside and in a special wind tunnel. We thank Owen Berliner for giving us this opportunity.


Chris Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

July 2014 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Happy 4th of July and thank you for a great school year! The entire MCLC community thanks you for your tremendous support. Because of you, we continue to see meaningful growth in all our programs.

NM7_P1 We have kept a flourishing garden throughout the school year. We sill have a lot of tomatoes, cabbages and carrots. The students got to eat the vegetables whenever we harvested for the school breakfast. We also sold part of the produce to help sustain the garden. Moreover, students and teachers enjoy the hands-on lessons that take place there in sciences, math and other subjects.

                                                                                      Learning through gamesNM7_P2

We bring games into the classroom not simply for fun but for deeper learning. Students here are using LEGO bricks to create and learn more about geometric figures such as squares, rectangles and rhombuses. Others used them more creatively to problem solve, building motorcycles, cars, chairs and houses. For the kindergarteners, they are great tools for lessons around color shapes.

Promoting productive skills through art

The art students and teachers had an outstanding year. In woodworking class, they made over 200 woven chairs! We used some in our classrooms and sold some to schools in the area. We have more than 30 students who can now make these chairs on their own. Those in the sewing class made knit scarves using looms; another group learned to do bracelets from colorful rubber bands. Using these skills, we hope to increase our local capacity to buy some of the materials needed to keep the art center thriving.


Our vision is to equip all MCLC students with some productive skills, in addition to solid academics, in order to increase their chances of making a living after graduation. With you at our side, we are sure that this vision will become a reality.

Chris Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC


June 2014 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Happy Flag Day! As MCLC integrates new ideas, innovations, and visitors, we also continue to celebrate Haiti’s rich history and cultural traditions. More than 400 students, teachers, parents, and friends convened at MCLC on May 18 to celebrate Haitian Flag Day. It began with a parade where we marched down the street playing instruments and singing songs about the flag. 


Then MCLC students and teachers performed a great program packed with songs, plays, poems, games, and stories about our national heroes. Participants spoke about the importance of the flag as a visible national symbol. They happily shared their knowledge about the historical events leading to its creation, modifications, and present design. We wish you could have been here to join in the fun!

Hands-On Math in the Garden


Each fifth grader is responsible for their own tomato plant. The plants are now all bearing fruit. The students were recently asked to calculate: “If 4 tomatoes cost 10 Haitian gouds, how much money is your plant worth today?” They each counted the number of tomatoes on their plants, then divided by four, and multiplied it by the selling price. They reported that each plant yielded between 30 to 60 tomatoes. So they were worth between 75 to 150 gouds each ($1.75 to $3.50 US)

Observational Teacher Training


We are excited to report that more and more organizations are bringing teachers from Haitian schools to us for a week of teacher training.

In this picture educators from the city of Jacmel, Haiti are watching the class calculate a math problem using the beet bed. They were impressed with how the garden was integrated into the curriculum.

These educators noted that the key elements that they felt made our model successful were: 1) We teach students in their mother tongue; 2) We treat them with respect; and 3) We provide them a hot breakfast every morning. They also were impressed by how happy the students were to share their experiences with them and also welcomed dialoguing with visitors.We thank you again for your contributions to this work to liberate and empower those who have been bound by oppressive educational systems.

Chris Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC