Schools for Schools

Schools for Schools ~ from one community to another
Schools For Schools is an initiative started in September 2017, fueled by the need for schools and infrastructure in Dominica after the extensive damage caused by recent hurricanes left 40% of the Island without power, destroyed thousands of homes and infrastructure, brought down the GDP, contaminated water and food sources, and is keeping kids out of school. The basic project scope is to build a small school on the RNS campus out of two shipping containers and then to ship the school to Dominica, where it will be set up working with local organizations in the area, on already purchased land for the school.

The goal of this project is to teach students in the greater Saint John community to think globally and learn new skills, which will in turn provide young minds in Dominica with a future and education. Teaming up with local companies and organizations, students will get the opportunities to use their hands and learn new skills with architects, engineers, welders, electricians, as well as learn about design, presenting and pitching projects, advertising, and much more. Schools for Schools is a project started by students for students that will change lives.

The Idea

To use two shipping containers to make the main structure of the school. A group of people, perhaps members of the school or greater community, would work on, build, and decorate the school here. Once it is completed, the school would be shipped to an area of need. Shipping lines ship directly out of Saint John to the Caribbean, including Dominica.
In the summer before her Grade 10 year student, Heather Chisholm '20 conceived of the idea to build a school out of retired shipping containers for a community in need. A local festival centered on the up-cycling of containers, Festival 506 was one of the inspirations behind her idea. Heather’s generous and philanthropic nature is the constant motivation behind this complicated and meaningful project. She has single-handedly contacted local community members, architects, engineers, businesses and trades people in order to achieve her goal. She has a detailed layout of budget items combined with a comprehensive timeline to get it completed so that the school can open in the fall of 2020. The local paper, the Telegraph-Journal, compiled an article on the initiative in its beginning stages.

Over the last two school years, numerous fundraising events have been held, including the Annual Grade 10 Class Farmers’ Market, Candy Grams at Valentine’s, canteens, exam care packages, dress-down days, school supplies drives, among many others. As more items have been secured, such as the location and the actual shipping containers, Heather has rallied a group of 24 students to form five different committees to help complete the intricacies of the building and design of the school, to continue fundraising and compile the learning stations and teaching tools for the preschool.  The school doors aim to be open in September 2019 in the remote Kalinago Territory of Dominica, which was heavily affected in the fall hurricane season. The school will be a non-for-profit Montessori preschool backed by two local NGOs, WAIKADA and Aywasi, seeking to provide a holistic and meaningful curriculum aimed at fostering creativity, a love for learning and inculcating a more disciplined and whole-hearted approach to learning and to life, all things that we strive for at RNS as well.

RNS Schools for Schools Team

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Heather Chisholm

    Heather Chisholm 

  • Photo of Tammy Earle

    Tammy Earle 

    Director of Technology and Learning Initiatives; ITGS Teacher
  • Photo of Jennifer Roos

    Jennifer Roos 

    Communications Coordinator