Highlights from the Fall Semester

Dear Brilla Staff, Families, and Friends, 

At the end of each school day, our students participate in a beloved Brilla tradition that we call “the quietest moment of the day.” While we love hearing all of the joyful sounds of school, such as classroom chants and children laughing, the quietest moment of the day is an opportunity for students to silence themselves and reflect on their day. The first question students are asked is what they are grateful for from the day. As the year draws to a close, I take my own quiet moment to reflect with deep gratitude for the incredible teachers and staff, families and scholars, and supporters that make Brilla’s work possible. Thank you. 

There are countless moments to be grateful for over the past semester. I share a few highlights below: 

  • As part of our Thanksgiving Food Drive, Brilla Scholars collected 6,000+ donations of canned and boxed foods and delivered them to various food banks serving their Bronx community. Every scholar who donated was entered into a drawing where winners got to ‘pie’ their teachers—which, as you might imagine, the students enjoyed immensely.
  • Middle School scholars organized a toy drive for a local shelter and donated over 100 new toys for families in need. This January, scholars will present at a Roosting Rally about the experience and the importance of community service. 
  • Brilla students received over 3,000 hours of small group tutoring and pull-outs as part of our High Dosage Tutoring program to help them get back on track academically. 
  • We take our commitment to honoring families as first educators seriously! This October, we welcomed parents to our schools in person for Parent University. 
  • Field trips are back! Our students made trips to the New York Botanical Garden, New York Hall of Science, American Museum of Natural History, Green Meadows Farm and more. 
  • Homecoming 2022 was a joyful occasion throughout the Brilla schools as scholars participated in one of the biggest culture events of the year. Scholars participated in a variety of dress down themed days such as “personal hero day,” “fictional character day,” and “school spirit day.” Much fun was had by all.
  • Brilla Veritas Middle School launched this fall with its first class of fifth graders and the students are thriving! 
  • Brilla Paterson—the first charter school approved in the entire state in four years—hosted a press conference where several elected officials joined to celebrate its upcoming launch on the “Block of Mercy” in the fall of 2023 in Paterson, New Jersey. We’re now accepting applications for our Paterson location! 
  • Over 40 8th graders participated in the Catholic High School Placement test and the Specialized High School Admissions Test. These high schools offer 100% college placement rates for their students and represent an incredible educational option for our students. Read more about our College and Career Readiness Team in this article. 
  • Brilla is a semifinalist for The YASS Prize which celebrates the country’s top education providers. I represented the Brilla team on a panel of educators this December to speak about our work to scale and sustain our model. 
  • We broke ground on the brand new building for Brilla Pax which will serve scholars in K-8th grade.

We are tremendously grateful for the continued dedication and hard work of our teachers who show up for our scholars every day. You are the heart of Brilla. Thank you also to our Brilla families, supporters, and friends for your partnership. We could not do this important work with you. 

My warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season! 

Luanne Zurlo

Executive Director, Brilla Schools Network 

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