Letter From Executive Director

August 27, 2014

The year’s accelerated pace has not slowed a bit, inspiring me to re-write my summer letter to you as events continue to overtake the written word. 

Our biggest, most recent news is the hiring of the Partnership Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer, Kathleen Porter-Magee.  As of this writing, Kathleen is now “officially” on board though, truth be told, she has been guiding us and leading our principals since spring.  I will let Kathleen tell you herself about her plans – they are smart, strategic and thoughtful. Our principals and teachers are already hard at work implementing the first phase of them with the introduction of all new curricular materials for English language arts and math.

On July 31st, the Partnership was featured in an op-ed in the Daily News which placed us in the forefront of a national trend deemed a “quiet revolution” in Catholic schools education.

As I write to you, I like to compare what we said we were going to do when I wrote to you in December to what we actually did. We have accomplished a lot during the second half of our first year. Here are the highlights:

  • Worked collaboratively with our six school principals, pastors, parents, and boards to write individual strategic plans that captured the uniqueness of each school.  These plans will be our road map going forward.
  • Implemented tuition and enrollment procedures that allowed us to improve tuition collection and increase enrollment by almost 4% putting our schools on track for 93% of total capacity, up from 89% after only one year.
  • Presented our network plans at a breakfast hosted by the Altman Foundation which introduced or re-introduced us to 15 funders.
  • Completed over $2million in additional capital improvements across all six schools.
  • Established a new mentor program at two schools, with more in the works.
  • Purchased and introduced all new cutting edge Common Core aligned curricula for all six schools in ELA and math.
  • Hosted our first ever teacher recruiting fair where our principals interviewed potential candidates.
  • Held a network-wide parent Open House using the mailing lists from our charter schools friends’ waitlists.
  • Strengthened and expanded our after-school programs.
  • Ended the year with a network-wide professional development day where the entire schools’ staff was introduced to the bulk of the new curriculum.
  • Graduated 100% of all 240 eighth graders who applied to and were accepted at some of New York’s best high schools including Regis, Fordham Prep, Xavier, Marymount, St. Vincent Ferrer and Christo Rey.

Again, those are just the highlights. 

Every day we strive to get better at helping our students to raise their academic outcomes -- our work never ends.   Make no mistake, it is thrilling, challenging and ultimately, rewarding work.  Especially when surrounded by principals, teachers, staff, and supporters who believe, as profoundly as we do, that all our children, at all our schools, and in all neighborhoods deserve an excellent education and all the opportunities that result from their hard work.   

We open our schools’ doors on September 4th.  I encourage you to call us, come see the work we are doing and the work you support.  Meet our kids, speak with our teachers, and listen to their stories.  It is nothing short of wondrous.       

Enjoy these last lazy, hazy days of summer and as the song goes, hopefully we will, “see you in September.”

Best,

Jill Kafka 

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