SCHOOL OF CHOICE EDUCATION ORGANIZATION

We partner with Haitians to educate and develop Haitian youth to lead their communities, Haiti and the world.

aka l'Ecole de Choix   |   Oak Park, IL   |  http://www.schoolofchoice.org

Mission

The mission of the School of Choice is to partner with Haitians to educate and develop Haitian youth to lead their communities, Haiti and the world.

Ruling year info

2012

Executive Director

Laura Hartman

Campus Director

Ione Cassens

Main address

340 S. Kenilworth Ave., #3 c/o Kyle Vander Meulen

Oak Park, IL 60302 USA

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EIN

45-4277736

NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

It is our objective to provide a pathway out of poverty through high quality leadership education scaffolded by strong health and wellness support, and thereby to build sustainable economic capacity within communities. The United Nations reports that 43% of Haitians are struggling and in need of humanitarian aid. Though these conditions are caused by overlapping circumstances, history has shown that quality education forms the bedrock of social stability and economic opportunity. Yet, access to quality education in Haiti is severely limited. The average Haitian adult has fewer than 5 years of school and the average teacher has only reached the 9th grade. USAID reports that 60% of Haitian children never even begin school / abandon their education before the 6th grade. This dysfunction and inequality inhibit Haiti’s growth and contributes to the country’s extreme poverty and lack of opportunity.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program Description

The School of Choice / l’Ecole de Choix is a trilingual school established in 2011 in Mirebalais, in Haiti’s Central Plateau, with a mission to partner with Haitians to educate and develop Haitian youth to prepare them to lead their communities, Haiti and the world. Choix provides high quality, progressive elementary education to nearly 200 children of families living in extreme poverty, and also offers ongoing scholarship and after school support to its alumni as they proceed through local middle schools and onward, as they advance in their academic and vocational paths. Our educational approach emphasizes leadership development, gender neutrality, and equal opportunity, and equips Haitian youth with critical thinking skills necessary for success. Our program consistently empowers our students to make decisions concerning their own lives, so that they can develop their own voices and identities. Choix also strengthens Haiti’s current economy by paying fair wages to its 99 percent Haitian staff and by closely collaborating with our community members.
Founded in the wake of the 2010 earthquake which devastated the surrounding region, l’Ecole de Choix was built as the only rural school in Haiti specifically oriented toward developing leadership skills for Haiti’s future leaders. The Central Plateau region of Haiti historically has lacked access to high quality education, which we identified with community stakeholders as an area of pressing concern.
The three-acre campus opened in the fall of 2011 to girls and boys ages six to seventeen, consisting of an intentionally equal gender ratio. Students are taught in Creole, French and English, empowering them to pursue their education and to succeed, both within Haiti and on the global stage. Choix maintains class sizes of between 20 and 30 students, in order to prevent the overcrowding endemic to Haiti’s schools. With an assistant teacher in each Choix classroom, the teacher-student ratio is approximately 15:1. The campus consists of ten hurricane resistant buildings, including eight classrooms, a computer lab, library, nurse’s office, kitchen and dining hall, as well as a water purification system and playground, among other resources. It also features athletic facilities; and its competitive track and field team is one of the highest ranked teams in the country.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Choix’s quality leadership development education responds to the above-described demand, and has been doing so for over a decade.

Choix offers Haitian youth a program that not only is exceptional for Haiti but one that would be considered of high quality anywhere in the world, encompassing education, health, wellness, stability, security, civil justice and conflict resolution.

It is our mission to partner with Haitians to educate and develop Haitian youth to lead their communities, Haiti and the world.

Today, Choix serves almost 300 students through our full-time academic program (grades 1-6) and our after-school academic, sports, and nutrition program (grades 3-12). We also provide ongoing scholarship support to our alumni as they proceed through local middle schools and high schools, and onward in their academic and vocational paths. Our student population (and also our staff!) consists of a balance of girls and boys—vital in a country where girls often are left behind. In fact, Choix’s student body currently is 60% female. In everything we do, from athletics to extracurriculars to the provision of health care products, Choix strives for a more inclusive and equitable Haiti.

In contrast to other Haitian schools, Choix emphasizes students’ voices, their sense of self-esteem, purpose and agency. While honoring Haiti’s strong historic values of liberty and dignity, Choix equips Haitian youth with skills they need as future leaders - including creative problem solving, critical thinking and investigation, teamwork, communication, global awareness and understanding. Choix’s students are taught by a faculty that possess university educations and teaching certificates, a rarity in Haiti. Our professional development is focused on pedagogy that educates our students to become lifelong learners, learning how to learn rather than solely retaining data.

The success of our students and their families has shown the transformative impact of a quality education. Our leadership, along with our staff and our neighbors, have demonstrated that our program is sustainable from an operational perspective, even during the most challenging and unpredictable of times. We have been responsible financial stewards – both for our grantors and for our staff.

For instance, over our ten-year history, Choix has never missed an employee pay period, an unparalleled accomplishment in our environment. Our surrounding area has evolved throughout the past decade and is not the same as it was ten years ago. As a direct result of their participation in our program, families have been able to purchase livestock, plant crops, build houses, attend education programs, develop businesses, and more. Our community develops along with Choix, and with Choix, Haiti’s aspirations become possible.

When we face hurdles, we overcome them, and we remain stalwart for our community.

In particular, we maintain a campus over several acres, a staff of over 30 dedicated Haitians, numerous partners forming an effective supply chain, and ongoing professional development. We utilize professional financial development services to contribute to our financial sustainability.

The School of Choice has maintained its high quality program for more than ten years and during some of the most difficult years in Haiti's recent history. During that time:
• Our Choix graduates shine in their middle and high schools. For instance, 43% of our female students finished this past year among the top ten in their various classes (41% overall) and two of our female Choix graduate students completed the year first in their class!
• Each year, while more than 50% of Haitian students must repeat a grade, 99% of Choix students pass their end of year exams and advance to their next grade level.
• While only 72% of students in our region passed on Haiti’s mandatory 9th grade exam, our scholarship-supported Choix graduates boast a 100% passing rate.
• 100% of our Philo (13th grade) students passed Haiti's mandatory exams while only 57% of students in our region were able to pass.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    (direct service) Youth living in the most extreme conditions of poverty in Haiti and (indirect service) their families and community.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Community meetings/Town halls, academic evaluation,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We solicited a great deal of feedback over the past year - during the pandemic - about what our community most deeply needed in terms of healthy and safety support. We learned that they very much appreciated and trusted the education that we could offer surrounding the pandemic since they did not have trusted sources available. We also learned that, while we could offer food supplies during that time, they also needed access to health and safety supplies since those were not widely available. We needed to listen to their priorities since our funds were scarce. Together with our volunteer parent committee, we devised a list of supplies that we would provide to meet their needs more effectively.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    As an example, it is important to discuss what we learn with our volunteer parent committee, and also how and why we make decisions. When we implement those decisions, it is important that they hear how we have taken into consideration the feedback they have offered so that they know how much we value that feedback, even if there may be reasons why a particular suggestion is not possible to be implemented at that time.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

SCHOOL OF CHOICE EDUCATION ORGANIZATION
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

SCHOOL OF CHOICE EDUCATION ORGANIZATION

Board of directors
as of 10/14/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kyle Vander Meulen

School of Choice Education Organization

Term: 2019 -

laura hartman

School of Choice Education Organization

Georgette Jean-Louis

Central Bank of Haiti

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/14/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data