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Spring 2014

Philip’s Education Partners



ing 21st Centur y Education

Emmy-Nominated Reporter Joins the PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs at Philip’s Academy! If you turn on the PBS NewsHour in the near future and see a Philip’s Academy student reporting from Newark, don’t be too surprised! This year, Philip’s Academy is participating in Student Reporting Labs, a nationwide program that is sponsored by PBS and teaches students how to create broadcast-worthy news segments that then compete to air on the PBS NewsHour or website. In December, the program received an especially exciting addition to its reporting team: Lauren Wanko, an Emmynominated correspondent who reports for NJTV, the state’s PBS affiliate. As an on-site mentor provided by PBS, she visits Philip’s Academy once a month to share

Students, alumni and teachers hit the pavement for a 5k run

Continued on page 4

Girls on the Run comes to Philip’s Academy By Kennedy Smith, 5th Grade

Philip’s Academy students learn the in’s and out’s of working the camera

Recently I joined a program called Girls on the Run that gets girls running. It also helps them stay fit and learn to feel good about themselves. When I was first informed about Girls on the Run, I didn’t want to do it. I thought people would make fun of me because I am a slow runner and people

would start calling me names. I tried everything to get out of doing Girls on the Run. It didn’t work. On the first day of Girls on the Run, I wasn’t excited at all. Then at the end, I couldn’t wait for the next practice. I had so much fun! Also, people didn’t make fun of me. In fact, they were cheering me on. Continued on page 4

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

Dear Friends, “Now that you have converted to a charter school, what do you intend to offer the world.” A quick reply might be, “We want to be the finest charter school in the state, with test scores to prove it.” Yet I’m not sure even the best-crafted, time-tested assessment can demonstrate our “success” or prove our students are “educated” with the skills to meet the challenges of this new century. I am an old school, standardized-test proponent. Good standardized tests must achieve two qualities: reliability and validity. Reliability is demonstrated by the constancy of a person’s scores on different administrations of the same test. Validity is shown by a test’s ability to predict future outcomes. I’m troubled by the current notion that each time a person takes a test, the tester can improve performance to some “high standard,” attainable

to all. I’m also troubled when I cannot find validation. Let’s say, how do the test scores relate to college grades? People have been criticizing the SAT for many decades, but the incredibly high correlation between SAT scores and students’ grades in college stunned the academic world and put the SAT in our lives forever. Today, however, testing is not designed to give us the information we need to make comprehensive evaluations of the education we are providing children. Once again, it seems we have taken the easy way out of a complex, multi-layered puzzle, which requires more than the usual one-dimensional thinking. I’ve been going to school every September since 1954, and every year the newest “answer” to education has arrived with me, backed by lofty promises of politicians who believe they are the experts. So while happy to conform to the Common Core and NJASK, I cannot assimilate curricular compliance or high test scores as the sole criteria for whether our school is “succeeding.” We can “deliver” impressive metrics to the world, but I can’t look parents in the eye and tell them I have given their child a first-rate, 21st-century education based solely on such “outcomes.” To do so would be to leave behind vital discussions of critical-thinking and collaboration, curiosity and imagination, grit and risk-taking. It would leave out

equally important talk of integrity, ethics, and constructing “new” knowledge in a digital world. It would neglect a universe of blended and experiential learning, where “doing is thinking,” inspiring students to reason, judge, adjust and try again. We should not leave such conversations behind any more than we leave children behind. Education is a complex and sophisticated process with diverse approaches and methodologies, down winding and different “roads.” Yes, it is important to measure achievement and to have core standards. But let’s not forget about all we aren’t currently measuring. Let’s not forget we are playing with human lives in delicate developmental stages. Let’s not forget to ask those whom we teach how we are doing. Let’s think about developing wisdom and judgment as well as know-how to help children build lives of lasting happiness and worth and not so much about the politics of education and the warehouse view of schooling. 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 1-J Our lower school is a special place filled with incredible, caring teachers like Jannet Jang. Ms. Jang always tries to create innovative lessons with fun activities and diverse experiences.

Café 1J Students dreamed up this activity all on their own! First graders pretended they were writers in a coffee house and shared their work while sipping on hot chocolate and tea (caffeine free of course!)

100 Days Ms. Jang’s class celebrated being 100 days smarter on the 100th day of school. Ms Jang and Ms. Lock even dressed up as 100 year old teachers!

Black History Month As part of a Black History Month activity, students chose a hero or heroine who interested them the most and painted their portrait.

Healthy Snack After a long week of hard work, Ms. Jang and Ms. Lock rewarded their students with a healthy snack of fruit kabobs!

Egg Drop

Check us out online!

Putting their engineering skills to the test, students created a vehicle which would protect their egg from breaking during a class-wide egg drop.

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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Student News

Girls on the Run comes to Philip’s Academy Continued from page 1

I also learned that I don’t have to be fast, which really made me happy. Other girls should join Girls on the Run. I think it will give them selfconfidence and help them learn that life isn’t a competition. It’s about doing what makes you happy. Also, you can get exercise and have fun while doing it.

Students, alumni and teachers hit the pavement for a 5k run

Girls on the Run is a national after-school program that develops positive youth development for girls in 3rd–5th grade. Our teachers guide the girls on life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K run. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. For more information visit

Emmy-Nominated Reporter Joins the PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs at Philip’s Academy! Continued from page 1

her expertise and infectious enthusiasm. She’s already taught students how to shoot background footage, known as B-roll, and how to add a voiceover script to video. Future lessons will include how to conduct interviews and edit footage, as students report and produce their first full-length news segments this spring. Philip’s Academy is just one of a handful of middle schools from across the country that have been selected to participate in the prestigious program, whose curriculum is tailored to meet high school standards under the Common Core. The program generously provided Philip’s Academy with more than $1200-


thevine Philip’s Education Partners

worth of cameras, tripods and wireless microphones. Already, several students from Philip’s Academy were selected to ask questions of Malala Yousafzai, a finalist for the Nobel Peace Prize, on the PBS website. Sharon Alonzo and Sara Mosle have volunteered their time to co-teach the honors program at Philip’s Academy. Ms. Alonzo is Philip’s Academy’s technology and upper-school journalism teacher, who is also the executive producer of the school’s weekly news broadcast, “News You Can Use.” Ms. Mosle teaches 6th and 7th grade writing and has a background in print journalism. (Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic,

and The New Yorker, among other publications.) Ms. Wanko credits a similarly innovative program at her high school with her subsequent career in broadcast journalism. This early exposure, she says, gave her a leg up in a highly competitive field; she has previously worked for Katie Couric and the CBS Evening News and now reports, films, edits and produces her own segments for NJTV throughout New Jersey. Philip’s Academy’s students may someday boast of the boost they got, thanks to her! To learn more about PBS and its Student Reporting Labs, visit:

Alumni News

Alumni to Alumni: Catching up with Crystal Orr, Class of ’04 By: Austin Drakes, Class of ‘04 Ever since her days at St. Philip’s Academy, Crystal has always been on top of her game. She consistently led the class, academically and athletically. The former Excelsior award winner was well known for her above average grades and her dominating presence on the basketball court as she helped lead the Girls’ Basketball Team to consecutive undefeated seasons as the starting center. Crystal attended Benedictine Academy and graduated as the Salutatorian in 2008. Her accomplishments rewarded her with high recognition as she was featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the top high school seniors of 2008. She received a resolution from the Elizabeth City Council and joint legislative resolutions from the New Jersey State Senate and General Assembly. After her success in high school, Crystal took her talents to the University of Pittsburgh. She was awarded a full academic scholarship while she studied Marketing in the College of Business Administration. During her tenure at Pitt, Crystal took advantage of the study abroad program and traveled to Beijing, China in 2009 and Greece in 2011. Her passion for basketball and sports remained strong as Crystal worked as a student manager for the Pittsburgh’s Women’s Basketball Team for all four years of college. During her last year at Pitt in 2012, Crystal also managed to find time to intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the most storied franchises in the National Football League. She was also a School Ambassador for the Blue and Gold Society and a member of the Roberto

Crystal Orr, Class of ’04

Clemente Minority Business Association. For her many contributions to the Pittsburgh campus, Crystal was awarded the Golden Panther Award. Currently, Crystal works for the New York Jets in corporate partnerships. She hopes to continue working in the sports industry and eventually transfer those skills into a business of her own. She also has a real estate license and would like to focus on real estate developments as well. Crystal has clearly established herself as a role model and leader of the future.

Her success and goals will continue to pave the way for the students of Philip’s Academy.

About the author: Austin Drakes graduated from St. Philip’s in 2004 and Marist College in 2013. He returned home to Philip’s Academy and now works in the Advancement Office.

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Student News

Black History Month: Living Wax Museum Second graders emulated their heroes for Black History Month. Parents and visitors were able to walk around the classroom and learn interesting facts about the heroes the students had selected.

We want to thank our 2014 Dream Maker Gala Sponsors

Gary DeBode & Archie Gottesman



Balken R sk Management Services, LLC


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March 8th, 2014 Hyatt Regency, Jersey City The Gala raised over $300,000 to support the students of Philip’s Academy. CEO, Miguel J. Brito was honored for his 40 years in service to the education of children and his visionary leadership for Philip’s Education Partners.

Miguel Brito and his sons Jonathan and Elliott

Sam Abbott, Robin & Nick Politan

Above: Lee & Jody Udelsman Right: Part of the Advancement team Below: Katherine Birch & Ginny Birch

Above: Jacob Mnookin & Isabel Shen; Below: Jeremy V. Johnson, Nancy Cantor, Steve Cantor, Junius Williams, Sr. Below: Kyani Jemmotte & Dominique Thompson


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

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Give the gift of Education. Contact the Advancement Office at 973-624-1164 or



Musical instruments for two classes

Summer scholarship for one student



Camp Scholarship for 1 student for 1 week

Support for secondary school education



Virtual field trip for one class

Fresh fruit for the entire school for a year



Healthy lunch for one student for a year

Technology for one classroom



Educational field trip for one grade

Salary for a middle school teacher

The Vine - Spring 2014  

Philip's Education Partners The Vine - Spring 2014

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