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Letter From Executive Director

There has been so much good news and progress this year and there is so much to look forward to in the next academic year, I am delighted to share some of the highlights.

I naturally have to begin with the amazing news that Pope Francis has chosen Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, a Partnership School, as his only school to visit during his brief stay in the States. We will welcome him on September 25th, just before he says mass at Madison Square Garden. We are honored and delighted that one of our six schools was chosen for this historic event. Needless to say, Principal Joanne Walsh is fielding press calls, dodging camera crews and trying to keep the summer improvements on schedule. We will work with our partners at the Archdiocese of New York to get the Partnership story out. Stay tuned.

This summer all six of our schools are benefiting from the $1 million capital improvement grant that was released from The Louis Calder Foundation. The generous donation will cover the costs of new desks and chairs for every student and teacher, new closets and lockers across all schools, new blinds and paint jobs where needed, and so much more.

Kathleen Porter-Magee has just celebrated her first anniversary as Superintendent of our network. Over the course of the year, KPM has hired a talented team of educators and leaders who have been working tirelessly to support our teachers and principals, including: Kathleen Quirk, Chief of Staff; Lauren DelFavero, Director of Math Achievement; Diane Tureski, Elementary School Literacy Director; Dorothy Seaman, Academic Associate; and Sarah Fox, Recruitment and Research Associate.

We are also pleased to share details of the Partnership’s world-class talent recruitment effort, which was launched earlier this year and which is described in the accompanying article. Included in the effort was the hiring of a dynamic new leader at St. Mark School in Harlem along with four new Academic Deans who will work with our principals to provide additional school-site instructional support to our teachers.

The Partnership Board of Trustees welcomed a new member, Patrick Kelly, while our school boards added seven new members at three of our schools with more additions planned for the coming year. (If you would like to join a school board, let us know. We’d love to have you.)

I always like to point out our “firsts”. They include Kathleen’s two Round Table lunches for donors, where she detailed her academic plans, opportunities and challenges. Four foundations that provided funding for the first time include: Porticus North America, Tortora Sillcox Family Foundation, The Achelis & Bodeman Foundations and The Alfred E. Smith Foundation. And in May, all 5-7th Graders participated in Field Day, also featured in an accompanying article.

This year we graduated 213 8th graders who applied to and were accepted to some of New York’s finest high schools, including Regis, Christo Rey, Fordham Prep, and Xavier.

These are the highlights of a successful year, but we will not rest on our laurels. Rather, we look forward to the coming school year with renewed determination to achieve more, raise more funds and enroll more students. Every day we are heartened by the support you show us not just through your funding but also by your belief that what we seek to create – a new model of inner-city Catholic education – is not only possible, but achievable.

Come visit our schools where you will be warmly welcomed — opening day for the 2015-16 school year is Tuesday, September 8th. In the meantime, thank you, on behalf of all the students and families in our care, for your unflinching belief in the work of our teachers, principals, and Partnership staff.

Enjoy a healthy, family-filled summer.

With great regard,

Jill Kafka