St. Philip's becomes first in New Jersey to convert to charter school

Posted Oct 3, 2012

[St. Philip’s Academy] St. Philip’s Academy, a private independent kindergarten through 8th grade school located in Newark with Episcopal Church roots, has received New Jersey Department of Education approval to convert to a public charter school, thereby enabling it to extend its successful educational model to more students.

The charter will be in effect starting September 2013 and the school will be named Philip’s Academy Charter School. As a charter school, enrollment will be open to any child living within the districts of Newark, East Orange and Irvington and will not charge tuition. It is the first private school in New Jersey to convert to a public charter under a New Jersey law passed last year that was sponsored by Senator Lesniak and signed by Governor Christie.

Since 1988 when it was founded by the then-dean and congregation of the Diocese of Newark’s Trinity and St. Philip’s Cathedral, St. Philip’s Academy 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, and science lab that teach an understanding of sustainability from seed to table.  As featured on CNN and other news outlets, EcoSPACES is model of a 21st century learning environment that prepares children for the world they will inherit.

“Our shift to a charter school enables us to widen our reach to more and more students,” says Miguel Brito, head of the school. “As a charter school, we will have the ability to tailor our innovative curriculum to the needs of our students, plus as a part of the public school system, we will be 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, Choate Rosemary Hall, and Westover School.

“St. Philip’s has a great history of academic excellence, a culture of developing the whole child and a demonstrated commitment to parent involvement” explained Dale Anglin, president of St. Philip’s parent organization.  “The parents look forward to continued success as a charter school and the opportunity to welcome more students and their families into our fold.”

“We look forward to being the model of a charter school conversion under the new law” said Gerald Harvey, chair of the Board of Trustees. “It has been inspiring to work with Head of School Miguel Brito and his administration on the immense task of applying for charter status.  Their thorough preparation gives us confidence that the intricacies of conversion will be addressed and that our school will retain the spirit that makes it so special to its students and all who are associated with the school.”

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.

For details regarding St. Philip’s Academy and its charter school conversion, please contact Communications Director Karen San Giacomo at 973-624-3684.