DDG Companion News | December 28, 2017

Colegio Ni_o Jes_s
Colegio Episcopal Niño Jesús in Montellano. To see the location of this school on
Google Maps, click this image.

Educational Missionary Tom McGowan Blogs About His Recent Series of Workshops and Site Visits

Tom McGowan, a retired Professor of Education from the University of Nebraska has recently conducted several workshops for teachers in the Dominican Episcopal schools and site visits in some of those schools. He writes about those events in his popular blog, An Educational Missionary in the Dominican Republic. The passages below are excerpts from the posts from the final two days of his most recent trip. To read all of Tom's blog and to see photographs of the sites where he and his team of consultants have been working, click here. Tom was elected to the Board of Directors of the Dominican Development Group last month, and plans to return to the Dominican Republic in February, 2018.

One last report from my 17 days in La República Dominicana. I am now home after a nice-and-easy flight through Miami this past Wednesday. I'm reflecting some and smiling a lot about my time meeting with Episcopal education leaders and visiting schools. It all seemed to come together on Tuesday as we finished our circuit up north and returned to the capital city. We saw schools with great promise, schools needing attention, great public works projects and a model colegio that the Diocesan schools might emulate. Drive along with us (at least vicariously) as we complete our school visitations in great style.

Representing the Junta de Educacion, our team included Melvina Dinsen (La Presidenta de la Junta), Miguelina Jorge, myself and Charlie Nakash. We came with a checklist that reflected the framework that MINERD (the country's Ministry of Education) will use in checking schools for accreditation. Educators in the US have seen these sorts of documents before - student enrollment, credentials of the teaching staff, number of toilets per student (a factor linked to public health and not-so-much teaching/learning), food services, mission/vision/purpose and progress on transforming the school's programs to meet national standards. I saw my role as consultant/observer; Miguelina asked the questions while Melvina recorded the answers. We presented each principal and rector with a list of recommendations for improvement as we left each school.

We began the day in El Pedregal, a small town adjoining Jarabacoa that's home to the Diocesan church camp. Departure time was early, so we stopped for a cup of coffee and an arepa (a sweet Dominican breakfast treat) at a roadside stand. We circled Santiago and turned due north, driving through an extended construction project that will widen the windy road from the new deep-water port south of Puerto Plata to Santiago and points south.

We drove directly to Colegio Niño Jesús in Montellano and met a true education trendsetter, Madre Ercilia Peralta and her school principal. They have turned-around a languishing school, completing / contemplating extensive renovations and raising enrollment significantly in about a year's time. 

We drove along the coast until we reached Puerto Plata and the pre-school at Cristo Rey. The visit was a short one, but we did tour the school and church, as well as having conversations with the school's directora and priest, Padre Raul Guiallas.

One last stop on our way back to the seminary. We pulled off the highway at Bonao, south of Santiago, to check out what we'd heard was an absolutely terrific colegio that could serve as a national model for private school change. Colegio Monsenor Nouel was founded as a private institution and continues under family management. Up-to-date, well-designed, professionally staffed and featuring dynamic leadership, this colegio captivated us and got us thinking about what the "next level" of educational excellence in the DR might look like.

Click this image to access this updated directory.
DR Diocese Publishes 
Updated Directory

In November 2017, the diocesan office in Santo Domingo published an updated directory that includes the changes that followed the retirement of Bishop Holguín on November 1 and the seating of Bishop Quezada on November 4. The original publication was in a paper format, but that has been converted to PDF format and posted online as part of the DR diocesan website. To access this online directory,  click here

2018 team schedule
The current schedule of incoming mission teams for the first three months of 2018. To access the current schedule for all of 2018, click this image.

Schedule of 2018 Mission Teams Available Online

One of the major functions of the Dominican Development Group is to work closely with the Diocese of the Dominican Republic to coordinate the mission trips and work projects for 40 to 50 teams from the United States each year. Karen Carroll is the head of the Mission Team Support Office in Santo Domingo, and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dominican Development Group. Information about planning for a mission trip is available on the DDG's website on the "Mission Teams" webpage here. To contact Karen, email her at this address: <drequipos@gmail.com>. 

Karen's office is responsible for maintaining a spreadsheet with information about all of the incoming teams, and a PDF copy of that spreadsheet is available online here. This information changes often, so please do not make any major decisions based on this spreadsheet until you have contacted Karen first. 

Links to online copies of recent issues of the DDG Companion News:
For earlier issues on the Publications page of the DDG website, click here.

Contact the DDG:
Office: (813) 400-2722 | Fax: (813) 983-5082
Executive Director: Bill Kunkle | bkunkle@dominicandevelopmentgroup.org
PO Box 272261 | Tampa Florida 33688-2261

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