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Fall 2013

Philip’s Education Partners



ing 21st Centur y Education

Philip’s Academy Celebrates Grand Opening Newark Independent School is the First in the State under New Law to Convert to Charter School (Newark, NJ) –Philip’s Academy Charter School made history as it opened its doors to 372 students for the first official day of class on September 3rd, as a new charter school in Newark. Special guests, staff and Trustees from Philip’s Academy and its foundation, Philip’s Education Partners, were on hand to officially open the school and cut the ribbon. “It’s been a long time coming,” said Miguel Brito, Lead Founder and Executive Director. “To think we started with 10 children in a very small building…we are lucky to grow as St. Philip’s Academy and morph into Philip’s Academy, which we think sustains our future in many positive ways.” As he cut the ribbon, Mr. Brito looked to Ms. Lauricella’s third grade class, smiled and said “this is for you guys.” The school is the first to convert to charter status from an independent school under a New Jersey Law passed in 2011, sponsored by Senator Lesniak and signed by Governor Christie. Designed as a regional charter school, enrollment is open to any child living within the districts of Newark, East Orange and Irvington. The school does not charge tuition. Converting from St. Philip’s Academy to Philip’s Academy Charter School enables the organization to extend its

Philip’s Academy Executive Director, Miguel Brito, Third grader, Cierra Howard, and Chair of the Philip’s Academy Board of Trustees, Dale Anglin, cut the ribbon together to officially open the new school.

successful educational model to more students. Since 1988, the school has inspired within its students a love of learning and intellectual curiosity using innovative learning techniques that serve as the building blocks for success. The school’s EcoSPACES program, for example, includes a 4,600-square-foot rooftop garden, teaching kitchen, fiber arts component, an indoor farming lab and a unique food service and education program, which promotes a seed-to-table

lifestyle. As featured on CNN, ABC and other news outlets, EcoSPACES is a model of a 21st century learning environment that prepares children for the world they will inherit. “Converting to a charter school enables us to widen our reach to more and more students,” says Brito. “As a charter school, we have the ability to tailor our innovative curriculum to the needs of our students, plus as a part of the public school system, Continued on page 4

Philip’s Education Partners • 342 Central Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103 • 973.624.1164 •

Dear Friends, There is no denying that our conversion to a charter school was hard work, with endless paperwork, numerous trips to Trenton for our “boot camps” and mindnumbing volumes of information that we, as newcomers to this world, had to master. Since we were already in the business of educating children and helping them prepare for the challenges of their young lives, it was sometimes easy to forget why we were taking it all on. Again, a crushing reality hit me as it did during the triple homicide in Newark in 2007. As I sat down with my morning coffee, I opened The Star Ledger to horrific news. The headline read, “Ten Days, 10 Dead; Shooting Deaths Plague

Newark.” Chills once again spread through my body. The headline hit me like a slap in the face, a forceful reminder that our work has just begun and a specific challenge to do more and do better. We have worked tirelessly to build our “castle” at 342 Central. Our charter now gives us an opportunity to help a greater number of urban children, providing a safe place in which to learn, love and float atop our cloud. With our “castle” now complete, it is time to expand it to additional locations, serving even more children. Castles do the world little good if they serve only to keep the world’s heartbreak at bay. That is why, in the American

experiment, we cast off castles as a relic of a medieval world and chose a different model, one both more democratic and open: the city on a hill. As a charter school, our polis is public, our town square welcoming, our gardens accessible, but Philip’s Academy also remains a beacon, an aspirational model of how education can look when done right and for all.  Our efforts are part of the broader attempt by many in Newark to rid our city of tragedy.  With your financial support, we can extend our mission beyond our hilltop in the clouds. We can reach new heights in education even as we welcome more children into our beloved community through greater outreach and neighborhood development. Friends, I hope you will continue to join us in our crusade. With your love and support, we can help lower the drawbridge over the nation’s persistent achievement gap, tear down the barriers to a quality education and lead the children of Newark into a brighter world.  Warm Regards,

Miguel J. Brito CEO, Philip’s Education Partners Executive Director, Philip’s Academy

What is PEP? Philip’s Education Partners (PEP) is the ‘friends of’ organization for Philip’s Academy. Both PEP and Philip’s Academy pride themselves on offering a quality education that prepares urban youth to be successful in high school and life in the 21st century. This is done by offering educational programming that addresses the needs of the whole child from technology and digital literacy to nutrition and wellness as well character development and moral education.

Student News

A Week in Advisory The Philip’s Academy Advisory program fosters a sense of support and community for our Upper School students. Ten to twelve students and two staff members meet everyday for various activities, which include study sessions, group reflections, intramural sports, Rooftop Garden work and partnering with the lower school. Advisors act as a personal advocate for students and parents.

Reading Buddies Upper School students meet with lower school students once a week for reading, homework help, or a fun activity.

EcoSPACES Once a week advisory students spend time cultivating the Rooftop Garden or preparing a healthy snack in the Teaching Kitchen.

A+ Advisory

Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company performing Cercle D’Amour

Students use this time to study and work together to prepare for tests and class projects.

Community Time Weekly assemblies are a great way for students to stay up to date on what’s going on in the school, watch performances and come together as a community.

Check us out online!

Intramurals A healthy dose of competition can be gained from weekly games of flag football, kickball and other sports.

We have two new websites to support our organizations. Check out Philip’s Academy at and Philip’s Education Partners at

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Parent News

Parent Profile: K. Anthony Thomas As the weather changes throughout the year, from late October rain to February snow, one thing stays the same, the warm smiles who greet us each morning. Driving up to Philip’s Academy, you will always see Anthony Thomas standing out front, greeting families as they pull up to drop their kids off for the day. Mr. Thomas is by far one of our most involved parents. His dedication can be

seen throughout the building from the stands of a girls basketball game where he has often been plucked to referee on a moments notice to assisting in organizing Male Involvement Week. Even though his own children are not old enough to be involved, Mr. Thomas still finds time to volunteer for the debate team and organize a “human chess” game.

K. Anthony Thomas, Philip’s Academy Parent & Trustee

With such modesty, Mr. Thomas admits there is a balancing act between his career, involvement in Philip’s Academy and his other volunteer work. He says he continues to do it because he wants his own children and others “to learn by example.” Strong commitment to our community has also made Mr. Thomas an integral part of the Philip’s Academy Charter School Board of Trustees.

“Mr. Thomas has become an integral part of our school community,” said Katrina Keptner, Program Director. “His generous service to the school is impressive in itself—but his ability to proactively identify opportunities where his talents and abilities can be of use is truly unique.”

Philip’s Academy Celebrates Grand Opening Continued from page 1

we are able to open our school to those parents and children who have long sought a school like ours.” Graduates from the school are accepted at many of the nation’s leading secondary schools, including The Lawrenceville School, The Pingry School, Saint Vincent’s Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, St. Benedict’s Prep, Phillips Academy Andover and Westover School. “St. Philip’s has a great history of


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academic excellence, a culture of developing the whole child and a demonstrated commitment to parent involvement,” explained Dale Anglin, Chair of the Philip’s Academy Charter School Board and parent of a sixth grader. “The parents look forward to continued success as a charter school and the opportunity to welcome more students and their families into our fold.” Charter schools are public schools that receive state approval to operate and have greater freedom to design an

environment and curriculum they believe will best serve students’ needs. Charter schools do not charge tuition, don’t require any entrance exams or interviews, and are open to all students in the district who wish to attend, including students with disabilities and English Language Learners. Public charter schools are subject to greater accountability and heightened expectations of student performance.

Alumni News

Alumni to Alumni: Q & A By Austin Drakes experienced, well-liked candidate, who happens to be male. In essence, the conversation shifted from one of issues and platforms to one of fixing a longstanding problem of inequality, one which I did not create but rather inherited.

Who: Junius Williams ‘10 STAND, Co-Director (National student-run mass atrocities prevention organization) Model UN, Vice-President Frontline, Co-Editor in Chief (Andover’s online political publication) Andover, Co-President, Student Body

Recently, I had a chance to catch up with fellow alumni, Junius Williams, who attends Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts. The 17-year-old Newark native and future politician already has a plan for his career, something that cannot be said for most students his age. What was it like making the transition from middle school in an urban area to boarding school with completely different surroundings? In retrospect, the environmental transition was not too difficult for me. I made many friends instantly at Andover, so the suburban surroundings did not affect me a great deal. That said, the town of Andover itself can be too low-key at times. I am still definitely a city kid but I did not find the transition between Newark and Andover incredibly difficult. You are involved in the political aspects of your school, which made national headlines last year. Tell me more about that. While at St. Philip’s, I was Student Body President, so naturally, I gravitated to leadership positions at Andover. Every year at Andover, I have held an elected position. Currently, I hold the

student body’s highest position of School Co-President. Achieving these positions has by no means been an easy task, especially the recent co-presidential election. That election was so controversial that it was featured in The New York Times’ national section. The controversy surrounded the issue of gender, meritocracy, and representation. To summarize, the Student Council initiated the co-presidential model in response to a lack of females attaining leadership positions. (The Council did not, however, establish a gender mandate.) I decided to run with another

Do you have a career path in mind? If so, what are the steps you are taking to reach that goal? I plan to pursue a career in international politics, diplomacy, and law. I speak English and French (and hope to learn many more languages), which will hopefully provide me with a foundation for working abroad. I have traveled extensively, and I’ve worked in other countries; this summer, I interned at The Reporter, a weekly magazine in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

About the Author: Austin Drakes graduated St. Philip’s in 2004 and Marist College in 2013.

Upcoming Alumni Events





Thanksgiving Feast

Alumni Basketball Game & Get-Together

If you are interested in joining the Philip’s Alumni Association, please contact Rio Dennis at And don’t forget to join the Alumni group on Facebook! Just search for Philip’s Alumni Association.

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Friends of Philip’s

Portrait Installation On June 6th, the Philip’s Academy community unveiled it’s latest addition to our majestic school, a portrait of our Lead Founder and Executive Director, Miguel Brito. Friends, family, colleagues and former students from Miguel’s 40 years in education attended a cocktail party in his honor.

Miguel Brito and his family.

Getting Involved: 3rd Annual Goldman Sachs Volunteer Day Goldman Sachs Professionals organized a Community TeamWorks event in which they spent a day away from the office volunteering on the Rooftop Garden and in the classroom. To organize an event for your own company or to volunteer, contact the Advancement Office at 973-624-1164 or


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Dream Maker Gala

Honoree: Miguel J. Brito Location: The Hyatt Regency, Jersey City, NJ Sponsorship Levels Corporate Host $50,000 3 Tables of Ten Gold $25,000 2 Tables of Ten Silver $10,000 1 Table of Ten Bronze $5,000 5 Tickets All Sponsorships Include: Logo on Invitation & Website Signage at Event Promotional Item in Gift Bag Tickets: $300 per person $250 for Juniors (35 & Under) Early Bird Discount: $25 off before Dec. 1st

Make the most of your gift!

To purchase tickets or sponsorships, log onto

Did you know that you could double your giving? Consider making a gift online today at and then contact your Human Resources department about a matching gift through your employer. Questions? Contact the Advancement Office at 973-624-1164 or

Have a question? Want to get involved? Contact Larkin Cohan at 973-624-1164 Or


Philip’s Education Partners 342 Central Avenue Newark, NJ 07103

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Planned Giving

Please remember Philip’s Education Partners in your wills & trusts. Contact the Advancement Office at or 973-624-1164

Philip's Education Partners - The Vine - Fall 2013  
Philip's Education Partners - The Vine - Fall 2013  

Philip's Education Partners - The Vine - Fall 2013