October 2017 News

Recap: Mid-Atlantic Professional Development Day

On Friday, September 29, the NativityMiguel Coalition held its Fall Mid-Atlantic Regional PD Day.  Over 20 participants from 9 member schools gathered at St. James School for a tour, followed by morning sessions of best practices in academics, development, and Graduate Support.

We joined the students and faculty for a delicious lunch and outdoor recess.

IMG_6288

In the afternoon, Dr. Jeanne Felter of Thomas Jefferson University presented on Trauma Informed Education and how schools can help children heal.

img_6291-e1507910528212.jpg

There were two more Best -Practice sessions before we ended the day with a group picture.

 

IMG_6319

A special thank you to the students, faculty and staff of St. James School for opening their doors to  share, collaborate, network!

Our next regional PD Day is scheduled for November 20th, hosted by St. Martin de Porres for the Northeast Region. More details to come!

 

National Leadership Conference 2017

Nat Con 17 2nd blog post (2)

We are a little under two weeks away from our National Leadership Conference in Boston, MA. Both Mother Caroline Academy and Epiphany School will open their doors to over 50 registered participants! Click here to view the agenda.

 

Alumni Spotlight

Twitter-Jerrel-1

Jerell, class of 2013, shares some thoughts on his time at St. Martin De Porres School in New Haven Connecticut.

“Saint Martin’s gives you opportunities in life. They teach you that with hard work and education you can take advantage of those opportunities. I didn’t understand that before coming to SMPA. It’s all about helping kids achieve things they would not be achieving if they didn’t come here.”

Click here to read his full reflection.

 

If you’d like to share a story about your school community, please email Danny Perez at dperez@nativitymiguel.org

September 2017 News

Register for the National Conference

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 9.14.27 AM

Registration is now open for NativityMiguel’s National Conference on Relentless Possibility in Boston, MA on October 25-27, 2017.  We invite all Heads of Schools, Board Members, and Directors of Development to attend!

Click here to register

Click here for hotel reservations.

Nativity School of Worcester appears in the Atlantic Magazine

Worcester

Nativity Worcester President Patrick Maloney and Nativity graduate Alex Santiago, a member of the Christopher Class of 2010, were recently quoted in an article titled, “Why Men are the New College Minority”, which appeared on the Atlantic. The article calls attention to a disturbing trend of low college enrollment rates among young men.

Click here to read the article

Mid-Atlantic Regional Professional Development Day

MID ATL PD MAILCHIMP (5)

Many thanks to St. James School and Hope Partnership for Education for a successful Mid-Atlantic Regional Professional Development Day that took place on Friday September 29th. An update will be shared soon!

 

21 Summers Ago

Growing up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York in the 1990’s was interesting to say the least.  My parents were first generation immigrants from Mexico with 4 children.  They believed that if they worked hard at their hotel jobs, they could provide a better life for me and my siblings. Other than placing us all in one of the local parochial schools, they were not very informed of all the available educational options.  What they did know is that if it was a private catholic school, their kids should be alright.

As parishioners of Nativity Church, my parents knew Fr. Jack Podsiadlo well. He celebrated the Spanish mass on Sunday mornings and would always have lunch with parishioners in the church hall afterwards.  They knew that he ran a small neighborhood school for middle-school boys. Some of my friends were applying during their 5th grade year and eventually I signed up as well.

In the summer of 1996, I was in Lake Placid, NY as a rookie 7th grader in Camp Monserrate. For 7 weeks, I was a member of Cabin 2, the Knights.  We played group activities, cleaned our cabins, learned to swim, canoed on Lake Placid, and hiked the highest peaks in the Adirondacks.  We had nightly group discussions about grit, leadership, and teamwork.   Little did I know that this summer was the beginning of the life I now lead.

Camp 96
August 1996: the entire camp takes a group picture before boarding the bus back to NYC

NativityMiguel schools are special because of the dedicated faculty and staff.  My personal and professional career has been marked by people recognizing my potential and pushing me to reach it.  My counselors at camp, many of whom were graduates, pushed me to be a leader.  As a student in Nativity, I was pushed academically by the teachers.  I couldn’t just do the work right before class or not study for quizzes or exams.  I learned that I had to do more than just rely on my smarts.  That rigor and high expectations prepared me for high school.

As a senior in high school, the Graduate Support Director took a bunch of us on a college tour in the fall and visited the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.  Before that trip, I didn’t even know where Worcester was located.  When it came time to apply, he told me to make sure Holy Cross was on my list.  Showing my college applications to my college guidance counselor in schon, she was perplexed as to why I would have Holy Cross as a choice.  “Not sure you have the grades to get in,” I remember her telling me.

Not only did I get accepted, but I also received the best financial aid package out of all the schools I applied to.  Four years later, as a senior year at Holy Cross, that same Graduate Support Director called me to say it was his final year at Nativity. He wanted to leave the program in good hands and offered me the position.  I decided to give back to the school that gave me so much for at least a year or two. I thought I would go to law school afterwards.

Needless to say, I do not have a law degree.  I realized while working at Nativity Mission Center how fortunate I was to have been part of such an amazing school, as a student, graduate, and staff member. The amount of time and dedication from teachers and staff, the amazing educational and transformative opportunities it provided me and over 500 graduates was unique.

So when I agreed to work at Nativity after graduating from Holy Cross, I wanted to ensure that these opportunities would continue to be available to the youth of the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Now I want to help ensure that these opportunities are not only available but also enhanced for the benefit of all students and graduates of the NativityMiguel Coalition.

206101_603285653711_533598_n
Banner in the main hall of Camp Monserrate (Lake Placid, NY)

I recently returned to Camp Monserrate back in July.  As a member of the Nativity Mission Center Alumni Association, we have gone up to the camp to help set up the site or with any projects before students from St. Ignatius (Bronx, NY) come up. We’ve painted the kitchen and dining hall, purchased a new washing machine, and cleared debris from paths that campers use to get around the grounds.  As you enter the main hall, you’re greeted by a bright banner that reads “Opportunity is Nativity’s gift to you. What you do with that opportunity is your gift to Nativity.  It’s a motto that every camper has ingrained in them.

We’ve been granted the amazing opportunity to transform the lives of our students and graduates.  It is an honor and a privilege to join you as we strive to break the cycle of poverty through education.  I look forward to continuing this mission with all members and affiliates of the NativityMiguel Coalition.

We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For

landonIn my previous blog, I stated that one of the greatest opportunities ahead for the NativityMiguel Coalition is leveraging the collective power of so many dedicated individuals who support our schools locally as leaders, teachers, volunteers, donors and partners and inviting them all to connect and engage more fully in the broader movement.

My blog this week, which will be my last in this position, looks at the greatest asset and opportunity of the NativityMiguel Schools as we look ahead – inviting and leveraging the power of our graduates.  We have over 6,500 graduates of member schools in the NativityMiguel Coalition now and each year another 650 students will graduate. That is 6,500 new graduates every ten years!  Truly, our grads are the heroes in my book.  They are the dreamers and the fighters.  Our graduates exemplify what it means to be courageous, selfless, determined, persistent, fierce, and strong, and they teach us to love, praise, celebrate and rejoice in gratitude. I don’t mean to simplify, romanticize, exaggerate or gloss over the stories of our graduates when I say this.  They have worked hard, tirelessly facing struggles, challenges, pressures, discrimination and distractions at a formative age that many people will never know.  I have heard many of our graduates say that at times all of it loomed so unsurmountable that it would have been easier to give up.

I have often utilized an excerpt from Martin Luther King’s Mountaintop speech as I did with a Tedx talk recently at the Nativity School of Worcester and in opening our Ready to Lead training last month.  This speech ends with the following:  We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop.  And I don’t mind. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.

Our students benefit from mountaintop experiences that allow them the opportunity to look out and see the promised land, a vision of peace and justice for our communities that has its origins and its endings in the kingdom of God. The NativityMiguel Schools aim to deliver a rigorous and formative education that prepares students to be loving and contributing members of society who act upon a vision of the promised land and do what they can to ensure that we all get there someday.  All students deserve access to an education with a similar mission and purpose, it is only just that we deliver on this promise for the students and families enrolled in our schools.

Through the power of facebook, I have been able to follow the young men that I taught in Baltimore who are now grown men with amazing personal and professional lives.  Their posts often underscore that our graduates have personal experience with the stories of injustice that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.  When the riots and protests erupted in Baltimore a couple of years ago, one former student from Baltimore posted the picture above on line with the following:

We are out here protecting corners and informing the young people. People may disagree but we understand. We are here to say we love them. And we want justice for freddie gray.

I also was connected with the compelling sermon of another student from Baltimore who has utilized his gift of music to inspire others toward that vision of justice.  I urge you to watch and listen to his sermon on YouTube.  This is why NativityMiguel Schools are so important.  The voices of our graduates need to be heard and lifted up rather than silenced or squandered.

It has been 25 years since the riots in Los Angeles.  A recent documentary on the National Geographic channel linked those riots to the Watts Riots 27 years earlier and the sparks of both of those riots are the same as what we have recently seen in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities. NativityMiguel Schools have the critical responsibility to ensure that such riots do not happen again.

Our role is to reassure our students that the promised land is real and accessible for all, that they belong and have value in this land, that this promise is theirs as much as it is anyone else’s, and that their work, play and prayer has a purpose far beyond individual success.  We present to them that in their lifetime we will get to a time and place in which love, freedom and justice is the order and we challenge them that they are as responsible for reaching this promised land as anyone else, even when there are obstacles in their way.

As I mentioned, this is my last blog in this position.  This is not a mic drop moment; I am passing the mic over to someone else because this message needs to continuously be amplified. I am ecstatic that Danny Perez will be leading the charge.  Who better to be the voice of this movement than one of our graduates.  To quote Fr. Jack, “This is where it is supposed to go. Leadership by those who were formed to lead. This is absolute proof of the success of the model.”

The NativityMiguel school movement is still in its infancy; or perhaps at 25 years old, we are celebrating our commencement just like many of our grads.  I believe our schools collectively stand on the cusp of a new wave of both struggle and brilliance ahead.  This is a critical gauge for our schools.  If our NativityMiguel education has accomplished what it was supposed to, our graduates in their personal lives and professional work will be the mind, voice and spirit of progress in all of our communities and will be at the forefront of the next generation leading the way forward.

 

It was 20 years ago this summer …

SILA

It was 20 years ago this summer that I arrived in Baltimore to teach at St. Ignatius Loyola Academy (SILA). Some of you have heard me say that it was a George Will article, WHY THIS SCHOOL WORKS . ., that brought me to Baltimore.  His description of the learning environment and formative relationships resonated with me.   After visiting the school, it was clear that SILA was where I needed to be if I was going to learn “to be generous, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for a reward, and to serve and do God’s will.” 

SILA was one of several schools that the Jesuits had recently opened to more directly and deeply serve students, families and communities struggling with poverty.  These schools were a just response of Jesuit mission and timely application of Jesuit education and tradition to the immediate needs of young people who were facing tremendous obstacles in realizing any dream for the future. 

George Will’s column was not the first time that I heard of this movement though.  A fellow Former Jesuit Volunteer (FJV) had told me about his experience teaching at Nativity Prep of Boston.  (I also had inquired with the esteemed Jesuit Al Hicks about teaching there as well.)  At that time, faculty from both Nativity Prep and Mother Caroline Academy lived together in a rectory.  My friend, who has since founded a Cristo Rey School and is starting a Building Excellent Schools Fellowship this summer, described the challenge and joy of teaching in this small fledging school.  Mike Mayo, one of his fellow teachers at the time, captured the essence beautifully in his reflection Relentless Possibility which found its way to my inbox in Baltimore and which I have distributed at several NativityMiguel conferences.  Mike would go on to be one of the first fellows at Building Excellent Schools.      

SullivanWhen I first arrived in Baltimore 20 years ago, I was welcomed by Brendan Sullivan who was starting his fourth year at the school which itself was only starting its fifth year.  I remember distinctly pulling up in front of 104 Madison, the faculty housing just around the corner from the school.  Brendan had just returned from a training run for the Marine Corps marathon that fall.  He shared that he had access to another number and by the end of that evening had convinced me to run the marathon as well – a very fitting metaphor for my three years at SILA and the seventeen years since.                  

I think how fortunate I was to learn how to teach in the company of such dedicated, mission-driven individuals.  We were young and driven, and responsible for all aspects of the school. We were a group of educators ready to do whatever it takes, to go above and beyond, to deliver a caring, nurturing education that delivered academic and personal growth in pursuit of student ambitions years beyond their immediate situation.   We were at school at 7:25 a.m. for faculty prayer and would still be there many nights at 9:00 p.m. getting ready for the next day.  Saturdays and Sundays were sports and outings and more of the same.  In my first year of teaching, I was in charge of Campus Ministry overseeing service and chapel plus many of us were taking graduate courses at Loyola University Maryland.  We talked incessantly about our students and the school (and still do through email and when we get together) even when we were socializing on the weekends to the point that significant others and other friends initiated “No SILA” zones.  The school was our life and our family, something to which anyone who has taught in a NativityMiguel School can fully attest.   

I am amazed at the professional trajectory of my SILA colleagues: Brendan is now President of Nativity Prep of San Diego, Matt Lynch and Stacey Clements founded Chicago Jesuit Academy where Matt continues to serve as President, Matt Ormiston was one of the founding teachers at Washington Jesuit Academy and is now Middle School Director of an independent school in Virginia, Principal Jeff Sindler and Dave Farace are Heads of School at two independent schools.  And those are only the teachers who stayed in education, others have achieved great things in medicine, finance, environment and advocacy.  I am certain that the spirited, foundational experience of SILA continues to guide and shape their professional mission and vision.

After leaving Baltimore in the summer 2000, I taught for a year at Cretin-Derham Hall (CDH), a Catholic High School in St. Paul, MN sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the DeLaSalle Christian Brothers.  Also new to the CDH faculty that year was Susan Vaughn who was coming off of several years teaching with Br. Larry Goyette at the San Miguel School of Providence, a just response of Lasallian mission and timely application of Lasallian education and tradition to the immediate needs of young people who were facing tremendous obstacles in realizing any dream for the future.   We connected reminiscing about the young men we taught in Providence and Baltimore and sharing the funny, inspirational and tragic stories from our respective schools.  It was also the first year of the San Miguel School of Minneapolis and Board Member Lou Anne Tighe, who I worked with in Campus Ministry at CDH, introduced me to the founding team of Br. Larry Schatz, Karla Gergen, Ben Murray and Br. Dennis Galvin.  This was also the year I first met Mike Anderer when I visited the San Miguel School of Chicago on a student immersion trip, as I mentioned in earlier blogs, and connected with Fr. Bill Johnson, who founded Nativity Jesuit Middle School in Milwaukee, about the possibility of working at their summer camp in northern Wisconsin.

I was finding that my SILA experience was mirrored in all of these visits and conversations. The founding and growth of each school depended on a similar confluence of educators who selflessly stepped forward to break a cycle of poverty that implodes dreams, impedes justice and limits access.  I was hearing similar stories of vocation.  In each person’s heart, mind and spirit, some burning, stirring nudge insisted on engaging in this work in a prayerful solidarity with the community.  It was also evident that remaining in fidelity with this educational mission was joyful and exhilarating and humbling and exhausting.   

Connecting these dots is core to understanding the NativityMiguel story that has driven me for the last sixteen years.  I know this next sentence may affront some of you: the story is not Jesuit, or Lasallian, or Episcopal, though each identity is formative to the particular school and to the formation of its leaders, faculty, staff, students.  This is true for the many other congregations, too numerous for me to mention here, and non-denominational groups who have started schools.  

The story is also not based on a single founder whose idea has been precisely replicated in over 60 schools following a prescribed model.  Even the founding of Nativity Mission Center in 1971 has always been characterized as the faith, brains and sweat of many.   Though the NativityMiguel movement has taken root in so many communities with visionary, monumental leaders [Jack Podsiadlo, Mary Claire Ryan and Connie Bush, Larry Goyette, Bill Watters, Bill Johnson, Ed Durkin, Mary Dooley, Barry Hynes – and that is just by 1993] , it would be difficult to name one person as the founder of it all.  There is no Mike Feinberg or Dave Levin of the KIPP Schools or even John Foley, SJ of the Cristo Rey Schools. 

As someone who has been involved in the national, even international, story for sixteen years now, I have often wished we had a tight story of how one person steeped in one tradition founded a successful educational model and trained others with a precise mindset, lens, voice and heart to execute that model elsewhere.  Conversations on branding and narrative, mission measurement and professional development and a clear strategic vision of where we were heading next would have been a lot simpler.  

Yet, this complexity is one of our greatest opportunities.  The NativityMiguel story has been animated by all of these congregations, charisms and traditions and together represents a balance of gentleness and audacity that is durable and formidable.  The NativityMiguel story has also been animated by so many people who are, have been and will be invested in the mission of the NativityMiguel schools.  I am always amused when our schools are faulted for not being scalable because our movement would not exist without the ever-growing scale of so many across so many lines who have said yes to the mission over the years.  As George Will said in his article: Enough micro­-solutions, and there will be no macro-­problems.  The NativityMiguel Schools believe that each board member, leader, teacher, staff member, student, family, donor, etc. is a solution.   

From my vantage point, though, I am often in awe to think of what could be accomplished if we could more fully harness and leverage our collective strength of all these micro-solutions.  I talk often with supporters of one of our schools who overflow with how incredible, fabulous, spirited, transformational the one school is.  I will respond, “And there are more than 65 schools just like it.”  What if we could keep them as invested locally and connect and engage them in this fuller movement that reaches thousands of young people?  What if the stories of transformation could be spread, shared and owned across all congregations, charisms and traditions? For example, what if all of those individuals were encouraged to tell a colleague, friend and family member who lives in another city to inquire about a NativityMiguel School there because the school they support has special meaning for the?

The Coalition was established on a belief that we are stronger together than we are as a single school.  Given how the story has unfolded for me over the last 20 years, I am ecstatic about the possibility of the next 20 years animated by the faith, investment, imagination and ingenuity of this collective strength. 

 

 

 

Perez Named as Coalition’s Executive Director

Daniel Perez has been named the next Executive Director of the NativityMiguel Coalition by its Board of Directors. He will begin in this position on July 1, 2017.

As a graduate of Nativity Mission Center and the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, Perez has personal experience with NativityMiguel education and the opportunities it delivers for each student to reach their true potential. He will lead the Coalition with the same mindset:

“My underlying goal for every student and colleague I encounter is to help him or her realize their true potential through support and guidance,” Perez said. “We need to improve education in our communities with sound, research-based pedagogies that empower students and staff alike.”

Perez has extensive experience working in NativityMiguel Schools as Principal, Graduate Support Director and teacher at St. Aloysius School in Harlem and Nativity Mission Center in New York City. He also shared responsibility as interim Co-Head of School at St. Aloysius for a year. In these positions, he has been integrally involved in the growth and development of NativityMiguel Schools at the national level having served on the Graduate Support Council and presented at various conferences. He begins this position with a solid understanding of the demands and opportunities of the NativityMiguel Schools and knowing well many of the school leaders who are engaged in the Coalition.

“In my various positions, I have always appreciated that I was part of a bigger community in which my struggles, successes, and hopes were recognized and supported by like-minded educators,” Perez said.

For the last year, Perez has served as Assistant Principal at LaSalle Academy in New York City. He has also earned a Master of Science in Education (Administration and Supervision) from Fordham University, New York, NY.

“Danny Perez is uniquely qualified for this position,” said Nancy Langer, Chair of the Board for the NativityMiguel Coalition and President of The NativityMiguel Middle School of Buffalo. “On behalf of the Board and all member schools, we look forward to working with Danny to meet the distinct challenges of our educational mission and model and to strengthen our impact in marginalized communities across the country.”

Sharing Generosity in the Tenderloin

d3The first time I travelled across the Bay Bridge from Oakland, I was not quite 25 years old and leading a group of high school students from Portland, OR on a mission trip to Tijuana.  I was overwhelmed by the beauty of San Francisco awaiting us and remember that night staying at a parish in Chinatown and running to Coit Tower the next morning.  From the hills to the bridges to Alcatraz and the Cable Cars, it is a city with striking features  that make an enduring impression. 

My second memory of San Francisco was meeting Catherine Ronan Karrels, the founding President of DeMarillac Academy, at St. Boniface parish in the Tenderloin.  The school building was undergoing renovation as they were getting ready for the pioneering class of students.  (It would actually be after the New Year by the time they moved into the school so nearby Sacred Heart Cathedral High School welcomed them in for the first semester.)  Wearing our hard hats, Catherine enthusiastically showed me the plan for the entrance, offices and first classrooms.  It is important to establish that DeMarillac Academy is a school directly and intentionally in the heart of the Tenderloin District next to agencies serving the marginalized, the homeless, the hungry, the mentally ill and others in vulnerable, desperate situations.  Catherine shared a vision of hope for students who were growing up in a neighborhood defined more by hopelessness.   

Last month, nearly sixteen year later, I had the opportunity to visit DeMarillac Academy again, to meet with Theresa Flynn Houghton who is in her first year as President and to see the growth and expansion of the facility and the school community. I was able to meet one of their graduates who had returned for a visit and the new 4th grade class, many of whom had siblings that had graduated from DeMarillac Academy.  The banner in the entrance to the school shows the many faces of the school with the words “It all starts with a dream.”  I remembered back to my first visit and to the dream that Catherine had articulated so well.    

The Tenderloin is still a neighborhood where people with great needs go for services and support.  Over the last sixteen years the tech industry though has boomed and is practically on the Tenderloin’s doorstep, building and renovating office space and looking at ways to house the growing number of employees who are coming to the city for opportunity, such as buying and updating units that have been occupied by DeMarillac families and others in need.  There is a movement to ask the right questions (Are there ways to accommodate these changes without displacing individuals or eliminating services?  Are there ways for these corporations to be involved in improving the neighborhood for all interests, not just their own?  Are the corporate incentives such as tax credits, funding opportunities and community service initiatives authentic in their aim, just in their delivery and beneficial to all?) though the disparity in two realities is clear.

Demarillac2My visit also allowed a chance to reconnect with Mike Anderer who has been part of the NativityMiguel movement from coast to coast.  (Mike helped start the San Miguel School of Camden, led the San Miguel School of Chicago, has been influential in the growth of DeMarillac Academy for the last six years, and has been appointed the founding President of the Cristo Rey School of Oakland.)  I first met Mike when I was leading a group of high school students from St. Paul, MN on a mission trip that included a visit to the San Miguel School of Chicago.  I have always valued his wisdom and thoughtfulness as a school leader interested in creating deliberate and intentional organizational culture. 

Mike told me about his work in the Tenderloin neighborhood on behalf of DeMarillac Academy including ensuring safe passage for all children and advocating for supervised injection sites.  While he serves on the board of a local community development organization and is involved with local police initiatives, he will say that most meaningful use of his time is getting to know everyone in the Tenderloin including the corner drug dealers and individuals frequently sleeping on cardboard on the streets.  All of these encounters are opportunities to share our generosity with others, and being abundant with our generosity comes back to us in tangible ways and in ways that we may never know.        

Looking back on my sixteen years of visiting DeMarillac Academy, I believe this is the core to their success in the Tenderloin, seeing each person as a human deserving of dignity and honoring their story no matter how far removed it may be from our personal story.  Faith is foundational to their education, as it is with all of our schools: Each individual is the holy presence of God, our relationship with each individual is the holy presence of God, and our mutual generosity is the holy presence of God.  

While in California, I also had the chance to visit DeLaSalle Academy in Concord, about a half-hour northeast of San Francisco.  Having worked for the last sixteen years at the national level, I greatly cherish the many educational leaders who I have come to know.  I was accompanied on the tour by the amazing Mike Daniels, who replaced the incredible Catherine Ronan Karrels at DeMarillac Academy and is now Director of Education for the San Francisco-New Orleans District of the DeLaSalle Christian Brothers, a position previously held by the extraordinary Gery Short.  For the first time, I met the tremendous Marilyn Paquette, the founding principal of DeLaSalle Academy.  Being one of the first teachers that worked with the visionary Br. Lawrence Goyette in the first few years of the San Miguel School of Providence, Marilyn is someone I heard of often though we never had the chance to meet until now.  The visit was wonderful with eager students describing the many projects that are on display throughout the school.

d6DeLaSalle Academy, which is funded by private donors and accessible to underserved students from economically-poor families, is actually a non-tuition middle school program of tuition-driven DeLaSalle High School.  The program shares human resources, business and technology personnel with the high school and middle school students are able to access various opportunities at the high school.  All students graduating in the pioneering class this spring will be attending DeLaSalle High School next fall though this will not necessarily be the path for all graduates in the future.

Earlier in the day, I met with Karen Hammen who is starting a similar program at St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco modelled on a similar program at Brophy Prep in High School in Phoenix.  These also are all similar to the founding story of the San Miguel School of Washington DC which started as a program of St. John’s College High School. 

I strongly believe that NativityMiguel Schools and the NativityMiguel Coalition amplify a critical message built on three beliefs:
1. All students regardless of gender, race, creed or neighborhood, deserve a quality education.
2. Private, faith-based schools are uniquely position for deliver an academically excellent and holistically formative education that prepares students for success at the next level of education and for professional and personal achievement.
3. Private, faith-based schools in all cities need to remain accessible and relevant options for educating marginalized students from impoverished families in all communities.

NativityMiguel Schools were founded on these beliefs and these beliefs have shaped our model and anchored our mission.  These beliefs have driven thousands of committed people from high schools, colleges, corporations, nonprofits, government agencies and neighborhood organizations as well as our schools, who have thoughtfully considered how our schools will thrive, adapt and evolve in the future to stay true to these beliefs. 

While our model can change as evident in these new programs, our mission needs to be authentic to its beginnings – sharing our generosity to remain present in the education of the economically-poor and marginalized.