July 2017

Dear Philip’s Family and Friends, 

The summer provides plenty of time for preparation, and also reflection. I’ve spent the past month preparing for another school year, specifically, thinking about how we will achieve our mission and meet our goals. This of course lends to reflection: How did we meet those goals in year 1?

Our mission promises that we will inspire children who understand and promote both global citizenship and environmental sustainability; at the same time, we expect our students, all of whom come from a city where literacy rates are some of the lowest in the state and state assessment scores are significantly below the national average, to be academically excellent. And while we face many of the challenges that threaten to widen the achievement gap for students in low-income, inner city communities, each day we see glimpses of greatness, reminding us of the unbound potential of every child and the promise of our mission.

Here they are, still our students are just 5 and 6 years old, and they are already providing us with many examples of excellence, compassion, and awareness. With just 60 students in our founding class, we already witness academic excellence on a regular basis; whether it be through teamwork or individual efforts our students have demonstrated growth, insight, and ultimately excellence as exhibited through their reading abilities, work on performance tasks, or everyday problem solving.

Creating global citizens is an aspect of our mission near and dear to my heart. Yes, we want our children to excel academically (What school doesn’t?) but we also want them to care about others and understand the global world we live in. In the spring, one of our students wrote me a letter that is now mounted in my office. It read, “Dear Mrs. Lauricella, I want to make the world a better place.” The glimpse of a 5 year old’s compassion for the world and understanding that she quite certainly does have the strength to make the world a better place motivates us to continue to grow global citizens. 

And as our children walk into the Dining Hall cheering for the day’s menu, Tofu, we know that our EcoSpaces Education program is beginning to take root. Students are touching and tasting food that they may never have seen before, their courage blossoming each day they encounter a new vegetable. They are beginning to understand where their food comes from and develop their own relationships with the environment – no matter how small and simple that might be at this moment. 

Our children are amazing. They are thriving despite any odds and statistics that might get in their way.
And I’d of course be remiss not to mention their parents and teachers. Every day, I watch our teachers orchestrate engaging, meaningful lessons while meeting the needs and interests of each and every child in the classroom. I speak to parents on a daily basis and am beyond proud and impressed with their commitment to not only their children’s education, but to their partnership with Philip’s, their belief in our mission, support of their child’s academic growth, and work with us in creating open-minded children who are ready to impact the world. 

Our founding class is ready for first grade; they will continue to wow us and surprise as they move through another school year. We are ready for our 80 incoming kindergarten students. We cannot wait to experience their greatness and see and understand what this new class will bring to our school community. 

It is with deep gratitude that I close this letter. Today, one of our students at summer camp told me, “Mrs. Lauricella, you have the best job in the world.” I’d have to agree. This job is pretty wonderful as I interact with amazing people (big and small) every single day. 

Thank you all, Philip’s friends and families, for your continued support to our mission. I promise continued fidelity to the ideals embedded in that mission. Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer!

Regina Lauricella Mierswa 

Philip's Academy Charter School - paterson

47 State Street
Paterson, NJ 07501-2119

973-247-8920 (tel) | 973-247-0230 (fax) 

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