Highlights from the 2021-2022 School Year

Dear Brilla Staff, Families, and Friends, 

As the 2021-2022 school year comes to a close, I reflect with gratitude on those who have come together to make Brilla’s educational vision a reality. To our dedicated teachers, our operations and leadership teams, our Brilla families, and our generous supporters and board members, thank you! Because of you, just under 1,600 students received a transformational education this year. The impact that you have had on our scholars is immeasurable. I hope you will join me in celebrating some highlights from this past year. 

Character formation is an essential part of Brilla’s holistic approach to education. At the beginning and end of each year, we ask our parents to take a survey about their child’s behavior as it relates to different virtues. At the end of this school year, preliminary data from parent surveys revealed that our scholar’s behavior had improved in nearly every category, including courage, wisdom, justice, self-control, concentration, and social and emotional competence. Growing in virtue is a lifelong endeavor, and we are thrilled that our scholars continue to make progress in this area.

Another important aspect of our classical model is the passage presentations that all 8th graders present before their graduation. Scholars spend weeks pulling together the work from their time at Brilla that reflects the transcendentals of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. A few weeks ago, they presented their work and personal narratives to their teachers and family members, an experience that brought some audience members to tears of joy. We hope our students continue to marvel at the Goodness, Truth, and Beauty inherent in the world throughout their lives. We see these qualities whenever we look at our beloved scholars. 

Last week, our 8th graders celebrated their accomplishments at our second annual graduation ceremony. It was moving to see teachers and leaders from Brilla’s founding years fly in from Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, California, and Maryland to celebrate our scholars. We are proud that the average college placement rating of the high schools where our graduates will attend is above 85%. Collectively, our scholars were awarded over $600,000 in merit and financial aid to attend the high schools of their choice. Just under 30% of our graduating 8th graders plan to attend Catholic high schools in the city. I hope you will take some time to learn more about just a few of our incredible scholars in this profile piece.

During her time as chief of schools and superintendent, Kelsey LaVigne helped lead Brilla’s growth from one school to five, and built a joyful culture based on “all in” staff and family involvement in support of student flourishing. Now she has published all she has learned in the book: All In: An Educator’s Manual for Winning Hearts, Minds, and High Performance by Intentionally Leading School Culture. Our school staff will be reading it this summer, and we encourage you to grab a copy, too!

We couldn’t be more proud of our scholars. Thank you for your continued partnership in support of our community. I wish you and yours a summer full of joy and well-deserved rest!

Warm regards, 

Luanne D. Zurlo

Executive Director, Brilla Schools Network

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