Category: Dominican Republic

Expanding the Edify Team in the Dominican Republic
edify This year, we have welcomed four new team members to the Edify staff in the Dominican Republic. They are working to deepen, expand and improve Edify’s relationships and impact in Christian schools. Our mission statement is coming alive—to improve and to expand SUSTAINABLE, AFFORDABLE, CHRIST-CENTERED education in the developing world! Leandro Peguero joined our team in July as the Christian Transformation & Training Officer. He oversees training efforts and implementation of training principles. It is one thing to offer training on the integration of Biblical principals in your school or effective financial management of a school, yet it is entirely different to walk alongside schools, helping them to implement what they have learned and effectively improve their schools. This is the work Leandro does. He is exceptionally interpersonal and models Christ in his relationships with school proprietors, teachers and our local partners. Prior to Edify, Leandro spent eight years working as a Program… Read more »
Environmental Stewarship
edify The Dominican Republic is a country of incredible natural beauty. It is home to countless endemic birds, amphibians and flowers, some only found on the island of Hispanola. Its fertile soil produces cacao, tobacco, sugar as 30% of the country is suitable for agriculture. Pollution and deforestation threaten the island's biodiversity and green space. Tourism and eco-tourism initiatives offer opportunity for environmental stewardship but also sometimes trample on natural resources. Multinational corporations offer much-needed employment, but sometimes at an environmental cost. Certainly, there are macro-economic forces at play here, as in any country. Students today will be the leaders of tomorrow who will make decision regarding stewardship, justice, preservation and growth.  It is imperative, therefore, that they are instructed in how to care for their environment, sow seeds, fertilize soil and teach others to do the same. We pray that they sow physical seeds and fertilize tangible soil, but that they do the same in the lives of those around them, too. The… Read more »
Educational Technology
edify Today, the buzz about mobile technology in the developing world is not limited to development and technology circles. As more and more US school districts aquire tablets for their classrooms, a wide audience is asking, "how could mobile technology help solve the global educational access and quality problems?"  How can mobile technology help where there is a dearth of teachers or where learning content is limited? Sugta Mitra's experiment with student-driven learning in India has gotten many excited about the "quantum leap" such technology could provide to self-motivated students in the developing world. Juarez Correa of Matamoros, Mexico similarly inspires with his innovative and successful pedagogy in a low-resource school. Edify is implementating  TeacherMate, an application that focuses on English phonics and is tailored to the speed and progress of each student. Our model is to equip and empower English teachers to use student-centered-learning approaches and to engage students in the process of learning. As humble students ourselves, there… Read more »
Gathering at Christmas
edify Maria Teresa is one of those special school proprietor who is excellent at what she does and articulates well the “why” of her vocation. Her school, Centro Educativo Mami Luisa, has done a Christmas pageant and dance exhibition since the school was founded in 1998. This year, she opened the ceremonies with the reminder: “We may paint the house this Christmas season. We might buy new clothes. We will definitely buy gifts. But is that the point? Isn’t the point that God sent his Son to bring grace into our lives? Let’s thank Him tonight.” She then referenced the banner behind her that read “King of our lives.” As a devout Catholic, she shared that having God be the driver and director of her actions is paramount in her life. Her school is a place that creates space for teachers, staff and students to grow. Her school also invites parents to take part. What is always striking to me about Christmas… Read more »
I Am
edify In the book of Exodus, YHWH gives His name: I am that I am (alternatively "I will be what I will be". Exodus 3:14) He points to His auto-existence. He defines Himself by His being. In the Gospel of John, Jesus also offers many "I am" statements: I am the Living Bread (6:51), I am the Light of the World (8:12), I am the True Vine (15:1). Surely, our God's definition of Himself points to an order of being first. The doing comes from that being. We do not become worthy or beloved by doing. This truth should cause us to walk differently through life than our societies would have us. This self-identity of being points us towards rest, towards assurance in Him and in our creation in His likeness. He gave us the Sabbath to be still. He gave us community to be embraced. He gave us creation to be surrounded. To receive these free gifts, he didn't require that we… Read more »
The Street
edify In Spanish, "the street" is used to communicate a figurative and physical place of commerce and errands. It is used in contrast to "being home"--for which the connotation is usually safety and family. It is used in phrases such as "Jenny isn't home, she's still in the street" or "Fausto works all day in the street and still makes barely enough to pay rent." The "street" culture--that is, what happens as students walk to and from school, run to the store to buy cooking oil for mom, or sit on their porch as the sun sets-- is often in direct conflict with the teachings of God's love and plans for them. I believe there is hope for redemption of our culture, but world-wide, there are macro-cultures that speak of consumption, gratification, selfishness and power that battle daily with our call to community, stewardship and denying of self. Ruth Delgado, director of Colegio Cristiano Mundo de Saber ("World of Knowledge") shared with us… Read more »
Glimpse from the Field
edify [caption id="attachment_3825" align="aligncenter" width="614"]DSC03138 Pray for me and Rachel today as we administer the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) in two schools in La Romana! This assessment will help us track the progress of the TeacherMate pilot program this semester.[/caption]
AMO Training in La Romana
edify Two years ago we had our first AMO training with Esperanza in La Romana. This July we were able to host our second AMO training in La Romana and were thrilled with the outcome. With more than 65 participants from partner schools we witnessed the enthusiasm of participants once again as they engaged in the weeklong training (to learn more about the AMO program read more HERE.) Despite the gap between trainings, schools have been actively engaged in getting AMO up and running and have remained dedicated to the follow up services we offer. Measuring the impact of the AMO program in the lives of students, teachers, schools and communities is a multifaceted process, but one great indicator is the ownership we’ve seen the directors and teachers assume.  One director in is even considering working on our team as a follow-up representative in the Eastern region of the country. She… Read more »
Play with me?
edify I bet we all can remember a formative child playmate: a neighbor, a cousin, a sibling, a best friend. These early relationships are where we explore our self-identity, often from where we draw our self-worth and the context within which we adventure more and more into the world. During school hours, students relate with each other in a multiplicity of ways: as classmates, as co-learners, as competitors and as playmates. In the recent years, we've become more collectively sensitized to how bullying can affect a persons' entire life and be the impetus for a life of insecurity and pain. We've also began to make greater strides toward intervening in what was in earlier decades considered "childish fun" or "harmless teasing". I can put myself back on that playground and remember when the girls didn't want to let me swing with them because I ate lunch with Tori and they didn't talk to… Read more »
The Greatest Threat To Private Schools In The Dominican Republic
edify   If you ask a school proprietor in the Dominican Republic what is the greatest challenge they face as a school owner/director there is a good chance they'll tell you, "Parents that are late or never end up paying their school fees."  When schools don't get money on time it makes it tough to pay the bills, the mortgage and most importantly teachers. In a recent survey Edify did, the majority of schools said that they never even end up collecting 15-20% of the students tuition revenues.  When a school is charging a mere $10-20 dollars per month the loss of those much needed dollars can be hugely detrimental to their operations or even cause them to have to close their doors.  Furthermore, the amount of time and energy that school directors spend trying to collect late fees pulls them away from their primary role of building a functioning, sound… Read more »