In the early 1980’s, a philanthropist offered to provide full scholarships to St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire for two Newark students. Sadly, none could be found to meet the school’s rigorous standards. Determined not to let such an educational opportunity pass Newark children again, Dean Dillard Robinson and members of his congregation at Trinity & St. Philip’s Episcopal Cathedral founded St. Philip’s Academy in 1988. They sought to establish a singular institution that would provide students with the academic skills necessary to thrive at independent secondary schools across the nation, thereby preparing them for a lifetime of personal achievement.
St. Philip’s first opened its doors to 10 first-grade children in a house that had been donated by the cathedral in the heart of downtown Newark. By 1996, we had outgrown our first building—having expanded to 140 students—and relocated to a former insurance company building. In 2007, St. Philip’s enrollment had grown to more than 320 students grades K-8, requiring much more space for classrooms, labs, individualized instruction, whole school community meetings, and play areas both indoor and outdoor. We tripled our space by remodeling a former chocolate factory at 342 Central Avenue, now designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification. With room for further growth and endless possibilities, we welcome approximately 372 students each year.
To address issues of childhood obesity and promote wellness in our community, we developed our own unique program dedicated to sustainability and healthy living, called EcoSPACES. The program features a 4,600 square-foot rooftop garden, teaching kitchen, fiber arts studio, indoor farming lab and a healthy lunch program which promotes a seed-to-table lifestyle. As featured on CNN, ABC, and CBS, EcoSPACES has been called a profound model for 21st Century Education that prepares children for the world they will inherit.
In the fall of 2013, St. Philip’s Academy made history when it became the first independent school in New Jersey to convert to a Charter School under a new state law. Converting from St. Philip’s Academy to Philip’s Academy Charter School enables our organization to extend its successful educational model to more students. Our challenge is to continually “raise the bar” to provide our students with the best educational experience. Leadership qualities and a sense of community responsibility are developed in small classes and taught by caring and innovative teachers.
Our students are placed at selective secondary schools including The Lawrenceville School, The Pingry School, Episcopal High School, St. Paul’s School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Westover School. Graduates matriculate at colleges including Boston College, Boston University, Carnegie Mellon, Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Haverford, Johns Hopkins, Mt. Holyoke, Rutgers, Trinity, Tufts, Union, Vassar, and Vanderbilt.