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Letter From Our Principal

Summer 2019

Dear Philip’s Academy Families,

I hope and pray this letter finds you well and READY for another successful school year! You will see, as the year progresses on, that Philip’s Academy Charter School (PACS) has worked hard to listen to and act on our prior year’s lessons. With a whole year under my belt, I take great pride in what we have accomplished as a school community of leaders, educators, students, families and staff members.

Be Intentional!

Last year, our teachers’ Summer Professional Development theme was largely centered on defining what LOVE looks like at PACS. We walked away with Persistence, Accountability, Compromise and Satisfaction. It would be hard to deny that this is place where children are loved! This year, we set our theme as Be Intentional! With that, we will be intentional about every move we make. Our focus is on student data and our school-wide social-emotional learning platform.

Our staff read The Leader in Me by Stephen R Covey and Sean Covey at the end of last school year, after reading How Children Succeed. We engaged in rich discussions and determined that our students would benefit from explicit instruction on key life skills. We are building leaders! The Leader in Me ‘platform’ is based on the well-known, and highly regarded 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The beauty in this learning is that it transcends age and experience. As the year progresses, please engage in specific conversations with your child(ren) about these habits. Eventually, we hope to engage the entire school community in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families workshops.

Last year, we also learned that, while we never want to be a test prep school, we need to be data and data-analysis rich. Students in grades 2-8 will now engage in Interim Assessments that are computer based. Unlike iReady, which is a diagnostic test that is online and adaptive to students responses, our Interim Assessments are strictly grade level and standards based. In many ways, these tests will mimic NJSLA. Teachers will collaboratively analyze data and use the reporting tools to respond to students’ needs. These assessments are formative- meaning they are a teaching tool. (Shhh…) Students will not be graded on these assessments. However, it is vitally important that take it seriously to reflect accurate data. Our ability to accurately tailor instruction and provide appropriate interventions will rely on clean data.

There are many initiatives that will be addressed, however, our Strategic Plan and priority action steps will be intentionally placed around these two areas.

Full STEAM Ahead with Leadership

From the perspective of students and families- we take our intentional steps towards making leaders in this 21st century focusing on STEAM- (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics).

The enhances to our program will play out as follows;

  • We will continue to work with Eureka Math, as our foundational math curriculum, however now it is K-8.
  • We have adopted the new version of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Science curriculum, Science Dimensions. It is more aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and highly engaging.
  • K-4 now has a STEM elective, from a certified science teacher, Ms. Lavalle. They will learn standards, while having fun and developing a love of science.
  • Ms. Alonzo is offering Coding to Middle School students in semesters!
  • Ms. Gant is joining our team as the Theater/ Drama instructor. She is dynamic and highly recommended.
  • EcoSpaces is a natural thread of PACS existence. All students will continue to engage in the garden and teaching kitchen activities. Ms. Flowers will continue to keep us on our toes!
  • Our LIM leadership committees will be integral in the STEAM initiatives

STEM

Education Teacher

Science Teacher

EcoSpaces

Computer Science

Coding

Art

Hand Projects

Theater/

Drama

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*PK follows Tools of Mind and many of these initiatives are within the curriculum.

Additionally, Spanish, Phys. Ed, Music and Stewardship are still in effect. We are also beginning World Language (Spanish) earlier.

We are so excited about what lies ahead for us. Though not mentioned as a stated priority, please always know that PACS relies on its families to thrive. We value your partnership in each effort that we put in place for our growth!

Best regards,

Mrs. Yasmeen Sampson