The 2019-2020 School Year Is Off to a Strong Start

Welcome back to another school year and to our 4th edition of The Perch! Thanks to months of planning and summer meetings, Brilla Public Charter Schools opened strongly and smoothly on August 13.  Some 175 Brilla Network and school-based staff members serve 940 K-7th grade students across three distinct campuses in the South Bronx.  Those numbers will continue to increase next August with the opening of two new elementary schools further north in the Bronx: Brilla Caritas and Brilla Pax.

During our staff onboarding and school planning sessions, which started in mid-July, we reflected on and recommitted to the core elements of our mission. One of the core elements is our classical approach, which incorporates the study of the three transcendentals: truth, beauty and goodness. Distinguished education scholar, Dr. Daniel Willingham, spent a full-day helping our staff deepen their thinking and practices around literacy instruction because strong reading skills are a critical gateway to accessing the transcendentals.

We were very pleased by our 2019 state exam results published at the end of August. Gains were made across all grades in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Brilla 3rd through 6th graders saw their overall ELA score jump from 51% demonstrating grade level proficiency to 60%. For Math, 62% of our scholars demonstrate proficiency, significantly above district schools in our neighborhood.

The state exam results are a testament to the tireless effort of our families, teachers, and administrators who are committed to preparing our students for excellence in high school, college, and beyond. We know, however, that this task requires more than robust academic training. It requires educating the whole child: body, mind, and spirit. To that end, in addition to academic results, we also track the character development of our students. Based on an end-of-year survey, over 70% of our parents report that their children repeatedly demonstrate behavior in line with our four core virtues and related sub-virtues.

We look forward to another year of partnering with families so that every scholar who enters our schools leaves better equipped to fulfill his or her unique life mission. It is extremely meaningful and impactful work. Thank you for being a part of it.

Warm regards,

Luanne D. Zurlo
Executive Director, Brilla Schools Network

Kelsey LaVigne
Superintendent, Brilla Schools Network

Categories: Leadership Update

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