The Charter Schools Initiative, comprised of the Brilla Schools Network and Brillante Academy, launches new public charter schools to serve children in underserved neighborhoods with few academically excellent and character-building schooling options. Seton’s first charter school, Brilla College Prep, opened in August of 2013 with 200 kindergarten and first graders, and today serves more than 1,300 children in kindergarten through eighth grade across five campuses. More than 90 percent of students qualify for the federal meals program; one in five has special needs; and one in three is an English Language Learner. Brilla, which means “shine” in Spanish, seeks to help children lead lives of excellence, virtue, and purpose. We do this by leveraging the best instructional practices of model charter schools—a longer school day and year, technology-based blended learning to deliver individualized instruction, intensive support and coaching of teachers—and combining this with a robust character education program that is centered around the cardinal virtues of courage, justice, wisdom, and self-control. The schools are among the highest-performing in the state.
Brilla is paired with El Camino, a vibrant, four-day-a-week, optional Catholic faith formation program, which has led to 123 children being baptized in seven years. Seton is committed to aggressively pursuing the launch of three more campuses in New York City over the next several years, and we also plan to launch a sister school for the 2021-22 school year, called Brillante Academy, in Texas. Both Brilla and Brillante are identical when it comes to the cornerstones and key features, but Brillante schools also offer two-way dual-language immersion and represent a new geography for Seton. Each of our new schools will be modeled on our flagship Brilla College Prep, a school inspired by the classical education tradition that aims to help students grow intellectually, socially, and physically into young men and women of good character and spirit; to be prepared for excellence in high school, college, and beyond; and to be lifelong seekers of truth, beauty, and goodness.