On January 17, the Congregation of Holy Cross celebrated the inauguration of the Institut Supérieur Marcel Bédard in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. Joining the Congregation at the celebration were members of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education. ACE has partnered with Holy Cross in developing this new teachers’ training institute, which is housed at the Congregation’s College Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours.
Named for a beloved Holy Cross priest and educator who served more than half his life in Haiti, the ISMB “is designed with the same passion for excellence that marks the Holy Cross educational tradition,” said Rev. Vernet Luxana, C.S.C., 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 that aims to educate youth to be active and positive contributors to society and the economy.
The purpose of the Institute is to bring international best practices in teacher education to Haiti, where 70 percent of teachers lack appropriate training. The Institute aspires to serve as a national model for the certification of high school teachers and grow into a center of excellence and innovation for the country.
The Institute uses an innovative blend of coursework, school-based coaching, and distance education to deliver a two-year sequence of study in high quality instructional methods.
“The ISMB will provide teachers with very practical ways to improve their craft through effective planning, teaching, and assessment,” said Mr. TJ D’Agostino, the 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.”
The Institut Supérieur Marcel Bédard actually opened in the fall of 2012, welcoming 30 secondary school teachers who work in three different Holy Cross high schools in the northern part of the country. Future plans call for expanding the Institute to incorporate in other Holy Cross school in Haiti. All told, the Congregation administers 14 primary and secondary schools in the country.