Annual Institute Examines Haitian Culture

Annual Institute Examines Haitian Culture, Explores Methods of Support For Students
Posted on 06/18/2019
Students sitting at a table

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the School District of Palm Beach County’s African and African American Summer Institute. The third day of the four-day event featured a Conference on Haitian Culture and Language.

Many of the people in attendance were teachers and other school staff who benefited from information provided by the keynote speaker Dr. Edwidge Crevecoeur-Bryant. She offered valuable information to help school-based personnel provide better academic support and community resources to Haitian students and families. Institute participants also included school administrators, community leaders, parents, and other education stakeholders.

“The goal of the institute is to share resources with school staff including teachers, administrators, and support personnel, and hear the voices of the community,” said Nadilia Charles, the ESOL Instructional Specialist in the District’s Multicultural Education Department.

Given that Haitian students comprise approximately 7% of the District’s student population, a panel of students along with a roundtable of Haitian community leaders spoke about the challenges and issues that Haitian students face upon entering a new school system.

The panel expressed their ideas about initiatives the District can implement to better support Haitian students and ease their transition, considering the need to acclimate students to a different culture, language, and education system.

Additionally, several break-out sessions took place in which participants learned about the social-emotional needs of Haitian Creole students, how to promote student engagement, and examine the Haitian Creole culture through the lens of literacy instruction.

“It was such an enlightening experience,” said Murielle Alcenat, a teacher at Lantana Elementary School.

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