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Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

Epiphany School is an independent, tuition-free middle school for children of economically disadvantaged families from Boston neighborhoods. We admit children of diverse faiths, races, cultures and cognitive profiles, believing in the Episcopal tradition that we find God in and through each other’s presence. Epiphany’s small classes, individualized curricula, and extended school days provide rigorous academic, moral and social instruction. In close partnership with families, we are an innovative learning community that affords structured support to help students thrive. Together we are a school that never gives up on a child. Epiphany challenges students to discover and develop the fullness of their individual gifts. We seek to prepare graduates who will contribute intelligently, morally, and actively to the society they will inherit.

Mission Statement

Epiphany School is an independent, tuition-free middle school for children of economically disadvantaged families from Boston neighborhoods. We admit children of diverse faiths, races, cultures and cognitive profiles, believing in the Episcopal tradition that we find God in and through each other’s presence. Epiphany’s small classes, individualized curricula, and extended school days provide rigorous academic, moral and social instruction. In close partnership with families, we are an innovative learning community that affords structured support to help students thrive. Together we are a school that never gives up on a child. Epiphany challenges students to discover and develop the fullness of their individual gifts. We seek to prepare graduates who will contribute intelligently, morally, and actively to the society they will inherit.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2014 to June 30, 2015
Projected Income $3,039,555.00
Projected Expense $3,074,870.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Academics & Daily School Life
  • Extended School Year/ Summer Intensive
  • Full Service Programming
  • Graduate Support Program
  • Teaching Fellows Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Epiphany School is an independent, tuition-free middle school for children of economically disadvantaged families from Boston neighborhoods. We admit children of diverse faiths, races, cultures and cognitive profiles, believing in the Episcopal tradition that we find God in and through each other’s presence. Epiphany’s small classes, individualized curricula, and extended school days provide rigorous academic, moral and social instruction. In close partnership with families, we are an innovative learning community that affords structured support to help students thrive. Together we are a school that never gives up on a child. Epiphany challenges students to discover and develop the fullness of their individual gifts. We seek to prepare graduates who will contribute intelligently, morally, and actively to the society they will inherit.

Background Statement

Epiphany believes that every child deserves a quality education. We currently serve 92 students in grades 5-8, more than 250 young adults in our graduate support program, and 260 families all from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. We provide each student with individual attention and a far-reaching web of support with 12-hour school days, small classes, and tutoring. We serve 3 meals and 2 snacks daily, offer sports programs, and ensure student’s health needs are met. We provide high-quality programming 11 months a year, and our graduates remain active members of the school community, with abiding support from our Graduate Support Program.

Epiphany aims to serve the most vulnerable children in our community, so we reserve 30% of our slots for children involved with the Department of Children & Families because of abuse or neglect and referred by Horizons for Homeless Children. The remaining students come by lottery except for siblings who are generally admitted automatically, an extension of our partnership with families.

Key Achievements:

2014: Epiphany Board of Trustees approved a $20M capital campaign for our "Starting Younger, Growing Stronger" initiatives
2013: Epiphany purchased a three family home and two undeveloped lots directly next to our property at 232 Centre Street. These properties combined provide 2 acres of land for future development of an Early Learning Center and playing fields for our current students and graduates.
2012An Epiphany graduate returned as a full-fledged Epiphany Master Teacher.
2011Epiphany purchased a 1.3 acre lot just 1.5 blocks from the school doubling the size of our "campus and including a building easily converted into faculty housing.  This land will enable Epiphany serve many more students.
2008:  Our Trustees launched a new Strategic Plan. With great faculty support, the major components of the plan were completed by 2010.
2006: Epiphany received the Partnership Award from the (then-named) Massachusetts Department of Social Services. 
2005:  Epiphany purchased a derelict property “Mather Court” adjacent to the Schoolhouse.  The redeveloped property provided space for faculty housing, an athletic field, a basketball court, and an outdoor playground. 
2003:  Epiphany launched a $5 million capital campaign to own our schoolhouse outright, as part of a five-year plan to assure Epiphany’s long-range financial sustainability. The plan was completed one year ahead of schedule.
2000:  In January, we moved into our Schoolhouse. After years in borrowed space, Epiphany had a home of its own.


Impact Statement

2013-2014 Epiphany School Accomplishments

Our recent graduates saw 5 grade levels of improvement over four years and our 5th grade class saw 1.8 grade levels of improvement in an academic year!

  1. To help develop the next generation of great teachers, Epiphany worked with 15 Teaching Fellows most of whom are from the same neighborhoods as are kids and a few of whom are even Epiphany graduates. This year we also have 6 Fellows working towards their Master's of Education degrees at Boston College.
  2. We purchased a property just blocks from our Schoolhouse where Epiphany plans to expand to serve younger students and to have a more active role in teacher training and in education reform.
  3. Epiphany’s “Full Service” programming is an essential component of our students’ path to success. Students’ basic needs must be met so that our students can succeed. This year we:
              Ensured that 100% had access to health care.
              Provided more than 60% of students with individual or group therapy.
              Served over 35,000 meals to students, faculty, and graduates.
  4. This year we were re-accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England, following a year-long process that included an intensive self-study and a visit from an independent review team. 

2014-2015 Epiphany School Goals

  1. We are in the beginning stages of a $20M capital campaign launched to support our Starting Younger Growing Stronger (SYGS) Campaign, which will enable Epiphany to meet the challenges our mission demands and strengthen our school. Specifically, the success of this campaign will allow Epiphany to (a) construct an Early Learning Center which will provide high-quality preschool education and full service care to economically-disadvantaged families in the city of Boston and work collaboratively with the existing Epiphany Middle School to form an innovative learning community for economically-disadvantaged children from birth to kindergarten and in grades 5-8; (b) establish the Epiphany Institute which will allow for the expansion of our teacher training program, both in terms of curriculum and number, and advance our efforts in educational reform, both locally and beyond; (c) expand space and resources for the Graduate and Family Support Organization to address the needs of elementary level students and families, and to provide additional counseling, mentoring, job training, and administrative support and services; and (d) grow our Endowment to cover a higher percentage of our annual operating expenses and ensure a stable and dependable source of income for the school. 
  2. To have 100% of our graduates matriculate to good independent, charter, pilot, parochial, or the city’s elite exam high schools.
  3. To have our students continue to see over a year’s academic growth each year as measured on our academic benchmark exams and the Stanford 10.

 


Needs Statement

Epiphany is a tuition –free independent school, and we rely upon private donations to provide the full-service programming to economically-disadvantaged students and their families. Although our families work at the school 2 hours a week in lieu of tuition and our graduates are loyal donors, neither parents nor graduates are able yet to significantly support the school financially. So, we have to work hard to get the word out about the school. We hope everyone reading this Giving Common profile will consider coming to see Epiphany in action, if they haven’t already.

Epiphany sees remarkable results because of it extended school days and school year. We could not do this work without the support of the 200+ volunteers who come to the school to help cook, clean, tutor, and do much more every year. We are also need more volunteers to bring their talents to our school and support our students.

 

 



CEO Statement

Much of what Epiphany does is not unique.  We are not the first school to see benefits in small classes or in long hours or in extended school years.  We are not the only school to appreciate how important it is to provide students and their families with the supports outside the classroom students need to succeed inside the classroom—e.g., access to health care, housing assistance, employment counseling, etc.  But, Epiphany is exceptional in that we have implemented so many of these “best practices” in a holistic and seamlessly integrated way.  We may not be able to do it all, but that is what we aspire to do, and the results have been inspiring.  All of our students are from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds, and almost all of them are from racial minorities at risk of achievement gaps.  Most of our students arrive at Epiphany far behind academically, and far too many have been abused and neglected, but every single one of them is full of promise.  With hard work, they can and do succeed.  Their test scores (cited in detail elsewhere in this report) prove that.  So do their high school admissions results and their success in college and their success in life.

Too many schools with strong results like Epiphany’s have their results undermined by the criticism that they have in one way or another “cherry-picked” students for whom school is easy or that they have targeted a high percentage of exceptionally motivated parents.  One also hears horror stories of high-achieving schools with frighteningly high attrition rates, schools where students are either asked to leave or repeatedly held back until they drop out on their own.  None of that, however, is true here at Epiphany.  On average, our incoming 5th graders are well below grade level with a high percentage of children who have been mistreated physically and emotionally.  Epiphany “never gives up on a child,” which means we do not kick kids out.  No one can claim that our students are playing with the deck stacked in their favor, but nevertheless they are soaring.  Their accomplishments should encourage all of us to realize just how much untapped potential there is in these marvelous children.

Board Chair Statement

 

I am proud to support great leaders who have the inspiration and drive to change the lives of Boston students and their families. It is my goal to help individuals who have the passion to do well for our city. The leaders at Epiphany - John Finley, Michelle Sanchez, and many others - are just those types of people, and I am honored to support their work financially, both as a friend and Board President.  

Epiphany has a proven track record of success and what is so tremendous about this school is that it is never complacent. The staff and board are always looking to improve and find ways to better the education and services for our students and families. There is no denying that Epiphany students receive an excellent education coupled with social work services.  They graduate ready to soar in high school and college. At this point, the board and staff have concluded that the greatest impact on our students and their families is to work with students at a younger age and to share our best practices more broadly. I have no doubt that the leadership at Epiphany will have a greater impact on our community by taking this route, and I am excited for this next phase.

As we consider expanding to serve younger students, we are challenged on how to finance our continually audacious model. Epiphany has no significant source of revenue from the government, and being tuition-free requires us to rely on private donations. This model has served us well and kept us accountable to a holistic educational approach for 15 years. Epiphany is now challenged to determine how to grow to serve younger students while not compromising the successful model we have built financially and programmatically with our middle school.  We are at a cross roads of more decisions on whether to maintain a private donation model for our growth or to accept public support? Either way the strength or core of Epiphany must and will stay true to its mission to “never give up on a child.” This statement has carried the organization successfully and is one that I believe deeply in.


 


Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)
City of Boston- South Dorchester
City of Boston- Hyde Park
City of Boston- Mattapan
City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- North Dorchester

To be considered for admission to Epiphany, students must be living in the City of Boston at the time of application. Our school is located in the Codman Square/Fields Corner neighborhood of Dorchester, and most of our students and their families live in Dorchester and Roxbury.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Elementary & Secondary Schools
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

Academics & Daily School Life

 

We serve 90+ students each year with an extended day that cohesively integrates school, after school, social work, and summer programming into 12+ hours per day.  Students begin arriving at 6:30AM to help set up for breakfast and meet with teachers, and evening study hall ends at 7:15PM. The fifth and sixth grades are taught in inclusive classrooms where students work closely with one Master Teacher and two Teaching Fellows; the upper grades rotate between teachers. We have strong programming in both the Visual Arts and Music and run an hour and 45 minutes of study hall for homework. We hold regular all-school meetings, weekly chapel services and interscholastic athletics, and we have a variety of clubs and special activities. Epiphany also has a dress code and clear behavioral expectations. Students are actively engaged in the life of the city through community service projects. 

Budget  $3,039,555.00
Category  Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Most Epiphany students enter Epiphany 1-2 years behind academically, but we expect our students will gain 1-2 years of academic growth in each subject area each year so they will graduate in the eighth grade testing at or above grade level.  We also expect that 100% of our graduates each year will continue their educations in either independent, charter, pilot, parochial, or the city’s elite exam schools, and that none will go on to any of the schools characterized by the media as “dropout factories.” 

 

 

Program Long-Term Success 

We expect that all Epiphany students, with the ongoing support of our Graduate Support team, will graduate from high school and enter post high school life ready to succeed. Most will go on to college but we recognize that some will enter career training programs and enter the workforce without college degrees. What is essential is that each of them has a happy and productive life, helping others and honoring their responsibilities. 

Program Success Monitored By 

 

Embedded in our midterm and final exams are academic benchmarks. These benchmarks are the minimum academic skills each student must master in each subject area in order to pass. Students may retake sections and teachers will work with students if needed to help them pass, but students who fail to meet benchmarks will either be retained or placed on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) as determined by the faculty in consultation with each student’s family. Throughout the school year, social and behavioral benchmarks are also assessed through teacher observation and internal documentation of behavior. These social benchmarks indicate the importance we place on educating the whole child.

For measurement against national standards, all students take the Stanford 10 Test of Individual Achievement, and their scores are compared with thousands of other students who take the test at the same time of year.  Though our curriculum is not tailored exclusively to these tests, the Stanford 10 does help provide teachers with information to evaluate students’ academic strengths and weaknesses and to modify curriculum as needed.  


 

Examples of Program Success 

Our recent graduates saw 5 grade levels of improvement over four years, and our 5th grade class saw 1.8 grade levels of improvement in an academic year! Across the board, Epiphany students are achieving at remarkably accelerated rates – a clear indication that what we do at Epiphany is working.

100% of our students each year go on to high schools that are appropriate for them. Last year, for example, 44% of our graduating students went to independent schools, 13% to Catholic schools, 30% to charter, pilot & vocational Schools, and 13% to suburban public schools. None matriculate to the so-called “dropout factories.”


Extended School Year/ Summer Intensive

During the crucial summer months, when there is danger of learning loss and concern for safety, our students participate in our Summer Intensive, a boarding program at Groton School for the month of July. Summer Intensive provides an opportunity for these young students to build upon their academic progress, to explore the possibility of boarding school, and to join in summer camp activities. For a handful of our most vulnerable students, our Summer Intensive provides a powerful respite from toxic stress. By the end of the month, they may still return to difficult situations, but they are transformed. A typical day in this Summer Intensive includes all-group meetings, academic classes, lunch, two hours of sports and swimming, arts activities, and evening study hall. Our students are supported not only by their teachers but also by their counselors who are either Epiphany graduates or Groton School students. The Summer Intensive is an essential component in our students’ successes. 

Budget  $157,050.00
Category  Education, General/Other Summer School
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) College Aged (18-26 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Increased Academic Achievement: Staying in school in the summer is essential to our students’ academic success.

 

Increase Awareness of Health & Nutrition: Through physical fitness, health class, and eating nutritious meals daily students take an increasingly active role in their own health and nutrition.

 

Attainment of Social Benchmarks: Epiphany’s social benchmarks indicate the importance we place on educating the whole child. Improvement in test scores is essential but it is not sufficient. Often students who struggled with the social benchmarks before succeed during the Summer Intensive.

Decrease in Behavioral Conducts: Summer Intensive offers a fresh opportunity for students to explore their own behavior and with the support of their teachers and counselors. Through individual mentorship students receive one-on-one coaching and make measurable progress on curbing behavioral disruptions during the school year that impede learning and growth.

 

Program Long-Term Success 

A powerful example of the long-lasting effects of the 2012 Summer Intensive is the story of 8thgrade student Jason. Jason had been in therapy for three years prior to the Summer Intensive. His relationship with his adopted mother was troubled, and he was barely communicating with her. Upon his return from Groton, however, Jason gave his mother the biggest hug he could, told her he loved her, and explained that his summer experience helped teach him to express himself in ways he never had before. Jason’s adopted mother approached our Dean of Students Mr. Jones at an event this past fall with tears in her eyes and thanked him for the work he did with Jason that finally brought the two of them closer together. 

Program Success Monitored By 

One of the primary goals of the Summer Intensive is to combat summer learning loss and keep our students on their trajectory of academic progress. We measure this through pre & post-tests in summer classes as well as by administering the Stanford 10 Test.        

In addition to academic progress, another essential part of the Summer Intensive experience is learning about and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At Groton students eat a healthy balanced diet and integrate physical activity into their daily life. Students receive at least 2 hours a day of physical activity, get three nutritious meals a day, and learn about health & nutrition in the classroom. To better monitor and track our student’s progress our school nurse also tracks student BMI scores weekly. We anticipate our students BMI scores to improve beginning in the summer and then throughout the school year. We also expect our students understanding of a healthy lifestyle to expand, and we measure this through a pre & post test in Health & Nutrition class and monitoring their daily food journals.

 

Finally, in addition to academic progress and developing healthy lifestyles, Summer Intensive is also a perfect opportunity for students to work on achieving their social benchmarks. Faculty & Counselors monitor students progress towards attaining these benchmarks specifically through boys and girls group, and we closely track student disciplinary records prior to and after the Summer Intensive Program. This individual mentorship and guidance during the summer has proven to be very successful. 

Examples of Program Success 

The extended school year program is a crucial component of ensuring our students overall academic success. Last year, our 8th grade class saw 6.2 grade levels of improvement over four years, and in three years our 7th grade class saw 4.9 grade levels of improvement! The academic support and attention they are receiving in the summer contributes directly to this improvement.

In the spring of 2012 our male students, for example, accounted on average for, 10 detentions served a day.That number has dropped by 67% this fall!


Full Service Programming

Epiphany aims to serve as the catalyst in building a support network for our students that ensure each student and family has access to vitally needed medical, psychological, and social services. We do this because we know that a strong academic program is meaningless if a child is unable to take advantage of it for reasons associated with health or general well-being. Our goal is to empower families and increase resilience in children so that each child can take advantage of learning opportunities. As a full-service school, Epiphany combines a rigorous academic program with personal support and vitally needed health, prevention, and social services for each student. We also routinely provide three meals and two snacks every day, fit students for new glasses, arrange for psychologists in private practice to work with our students, help families access social service agencies, assist parents looking for work or housing, and much more. 

Budget  $47,996.00
Category  Health Care, General/Other
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Families
Program Short-Term Success 

100% of our students will have their vital health, social, and emotional needs attended to so they can be active learners in the classroom and continue to see academic growth each year.

Program Long-Term Success 

Epiphany’s long term goal for our students and their families is to break the cycles of poverty and despair through education. We do this by holistically serving the whole family with cohesively integrating school, afterschool, summer programming, social work, and family partnerships. Ultimately, we expect to see our families grow move of poverty. 

Program Success Monitored By 

We monitor our full service programming by tracking our student’s academic progress because if their vital health, social, and emotional needs are met they will be able to grow and learn in the classroom. We closely track if all students and their families have access to vital health and social services. We also track the number of families who are no longer eligible for free or reduced lunch because their incomes have risen.

Examples of Program Success 

During the 2013-2014 School Year alone,

 

  • We ensured that 100% of our students had access to health care.
  • Almost 100% of our students got vision screenings and had their needed prescriptions filled. 
  • 100% of our students were seen by dentists for cleaning and sealants.
  • 60% of our students were receiving group or individual therapy here at school.
  • We provided 3 meals and 2 snacks daily to each student. With the help of volunteers we served over 45,000 meals to students, faculty, and graduates.

 

 

It is also worth noting, on average 20% of our families move out of poverty while their children are students at Epiphany. Research is needed to confirm exactly why this is, but anecdotally many parents report that the extended days help as well as the other supports described below.


Graduate Support Program

Epiphany's Graduate Support Program (GSP) serves more than 250 young adults and ranges from the informal –e.g., offering "life advice" and academic help – to the more substantive and formal – e.g., SAT prep classes and financial aid workshops. We also assist students and families with college applications, help graduates find after-school and summer jobs, ensure graduates know about effective programs, and facilitate an active online community and regular reunions. Graduates can and do return to Epiphany after school to attend dinner, to receive tutoring, and to play basketball. Each summer, Epiphany holds a three-day "Gear Up for College" program which covers financial planning, interview techniques, resume writing, and an introduction to college academics and life. Finally, Epiphany helps to cover unanticipated but necessary costs that may arise for our graduates, including books and supplies by awarding $125,000 in "last-dollar" scholarships to graduates attending independent high schools.

Budget  $203,375.00
Category  Education, General/Other Guidance & Counseling
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) College Aged (18-26 years) Adults
Program Short-Term Success 

Short term success differs for each graduate and each service of the GSP, but we do aim to have 100% of our students actively involved in school and work depending on their age. We also expect  to have 100% of our high school students involved in a meaningful summer activity to prepare them for college and the workforce.

Program Long-Term Success 

The last line of the Epiphany School Mission Statement states “we seek to prepare graduates who will contribute intelligently, morally, and actively to the society they will inherit.” Our graduate support staff works with each graduate, their school, and their families to ensure that graduates live up to this mission.

Program Success Monitored By 

We monitored our success by tracking all of our graduates and producing a report on all of our graduates each year which is distributed to the Board of Directors and donors. This practice keeps us accountable to our mission “to never give up on a child” and for us to never be complacent and always find ways to improve our services for our graduates and their families.

 

Examples of Program Success 

As of June 2014, 90% of Epiphany’s graduates have graduated from high school or earned a GED.  By contrast, the three public high schools near Epiphany have a much lower average graduation rate of 52.8%, and this rate does not include 8th graders who drop out between middle and high school.  According to a January, 2014 publication from the Office of the President of the United States, only 10% of low-income students graduate college by age 25 nationally.  Epiphany's statistics are notably higher.  Out of those Epiphany graduates who are eligible to enroll in post-secondary education, 72% have enrolled in post-secondary programs, and out of the first five graduating classes, 54% of those enrolled have graduated from college.  This graduation number is even on par with national graduation rates for high-income students (50% of whom receive a bachelor's degree by age 25).  Although our graduates are graduating  at rates more than 5 times the national average of 10% for this population, we are not complacent.  Our goal is to have many more of our graduates in this position.

 
 
 
 
 

Teaching Fellows Program

The Teaching Fellows Program is a teacher training program for young college graduates eager to make a difference, particularly young men and women of color from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds. Most of our Fellows are from the same backgrounds as our students, and many are Epiphany graduates. They do much to help these children while honing their own skills at the same time. They co-teach classes alongside a Master Teacher in their first year and then receive their own classes with supervision in their second year. At the same time, they are responsible for different aspects of the school -e.g., Outreach, Sports, Admissions, Health, Nutrition, etc.-  providing them with crucial experience complementing what they are learning in the classroom. In addition to all of this and to the supervision and training our Fellows will receive here, many are working towards Master’s Degrees in Education in the afternoons and evenings. 

Budget  $347,896.00
Category  Education, General/Other Postsecondary Education
Population Served College Aged (18-26 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

In the short term, we will know we have succeeded if 100% of our current teaching fellows do one of the following: return to Epiphany for their second/third years in the training program, enroll in a Master’s program, graduate with a Master’s Degree in Education and/or continue their careers in urban schools.

Program Long-Term Success 

The After School Alliance reports that close to 50% of teachers in urban schools leave the teaching field after five years, but we expect our successful Teaching fellows will stay in education. Already, we have seen that many in our program are still in the classroom today as teachers. We have seen that 73% of our teaching fellows have stayed in the field of education as teachers or policy makers. Our goal, however, is that this percentage will grow until over 90% or more of our teaching fellows devote their careers to teaching or youth services. Specifically, we aim to have the majority of our teaching fellows working in urban communities with economically-disadvantaged populations. In addition, we would like to see over 90% or more of our teaching fellows furthering their education by receiving their Master’s degrees while in the program at Epiphany.

Program Success Monitored By 

We monitor our success in our teacher training program by tracking what our teaching fellows go on to do after the program. We track questions like: Are the teaching? Did they receive their Masters in Education? Are they working in a urban, economically-disadvantaged community?

As a school, we always measure our success by our students' successes. The young teaching fellows program is no different, as they have a tremendous impact on our students and our job in training them as teachers reflect directly on the progress of our students. As noted elsewhere in this form, last year our recent graduates saw 6.2 grade levels of improvement over four years, and in one year our 5th grade class saw 2.4 grade levels of improvement in an academic year! We anticipate that our students will continue to see significant growth as a result of rigorous academics and strong teaching and support provided by our fellows.

Examples of Program Success 

In the past, we have had the following results with our Teaching Fellows Program:

  • 4 Epiphany graduates have returned as Interns/Teaching Fellows
  • 3 Teaching Fellows have returned to Epiphany as Master Teachers (1 is also an Epiphany Graduate)
  • 13 Teaching Fellows have received their Master’s Degrees in Education while serving at Epiphany
  • 73% of Teaching Fellows have continued their careers as teachers or in the field of Education

 


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Management


CEO/Executive Director The Rev. John H. Finley IV
CEO Term Start June 1997
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

The Rev. John Finley is the co-founder and head of Epiphany School, a tuition-free, independent middle school for economically-disadvantaged children and children who have been abused and neglected (www.epiphanyschool.com).  Though students often arrive at Epiphany testing far behind academically, they make huge academic improvement and matriculate to good high schools as young men and women of whom we can all be proud. 

 

Mr. Finley has helped launch twenty other schools inspired by Epiphany’s example across the country and has also been involved in other initiatives in education including the Nativity Preparatory School in Boston, the Nativity Schools Educational Network, Codman Academy Public Charter School, Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, MA, Urban Achievers, Bridge Boston Public Charter School, and Boston Scholars.  He serves on several boards including the Harvard College Overseers’ Visiting Committee for the Memorial Church, Harvard’s Open Gate Foundation, the Harvard Episcopal Chaplaincy, the Bethany House of Prayer, and the Signet Society, as well as on the Advisory Board of Forward Movement Publications.  He is also a trustee of the Stephen Phillips Scholarship Fund, a last-dollar scholarship program in Salem, MA.  In his vocation as an Episcopal priest, he serves the parish of St. Mary’s in Dorchester, MA and is affiliated as well with the Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, MA. 

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Roderick Fletcher Business Manager --
Frank Penney Assistant Principal --
Michelle Gomes Sanchez Ed.D. Principal --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
Outstanding Partnership Award Massachusetts Department of Children & Families 2007

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
Association of Independent Schools of New England --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
National Association of Independent Schools 2003

Collaborations

Epiphany often serves as "the mortar between the bricks" in the lives of our students and their families.  In other words, we partner with other organizations to facilitate their work and to serve these great kids.  In addition to helping our students and their families, we also partner with outside groups to support this community as a whole.  Here is a long (but not exhaustive) list: B-Safe, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boston College, Bottom Line, the British School of Boston, Citizen Schools, Codman Academy, Codman Square Health Center, Cradles to Crayons, Dexter School, Dorchester House, Families First, Farms for City Kids, the Food Project, Groton School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Medical School, Islamic Society of Boston, Joslin Diabetes Center, Junior Achievement, Literary Lights for Children, Milton Academy, the Nature Conservancy, the Ocean Classroom Foundation, Park School, Planned Parenthood, Roxbury Latin, Step Into Art, Stephen Phillips Scholarship Fund, Summer Search, Temple Israel, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

To be a great school, every school needs to be able to attract and retain great people.  Sadly, many urban schools struggle with high turnover rates which lead to a host of problems, but not at Epiphany.  Though the formula for retention used in the Giving Common report gives Epiphany high marks, our results are in fact even better.  This is because those numbers include our Teaching Fellows program  which is specifically geared to recruiting great people from our students' backgrounds (including Epiphany graduates themselves) to teach, to then giving them both the training and professional credentials to succeed in teaching, and then finally to helping them find places in new schools that need their gifts and talents.  Outside this teaching training program, there is almost no turnover in the faculty and staff.  While the work is hard at Epiphany, the folks who come here were called to this work, and they are grateful to be part of a school that is set up for success with small classes, extended school days, 11+ month school year, and holistic, “full-service” support outside the classroom.  We are proud that all of the original founders are still involved with Epiphany in one way or another, and we are also proud that their work here has not prevented them from getting married, building families, and pursuing advanced degrees.  Yes, they put in long hours, and yes the challenges can be dispiriting at times, but our excellent faculty retention indicates that our faculty and staff have the support they need to keep going.  Their experience, balanced with the fresh insights that constantly come to us through the Teaching Fellow program, helps ensure great management, and it also means a lot to our graduates.  Epiphany is committed to being an abiding presence in the lives of our graduates, and it means a lot to them that “their” teachers are still here.

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 39
Number of Part Time Staff 10
Number of Volunteers 200
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 88%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 19
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 21
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 24
Male: 18
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

Automobile Insurance
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Blanket Personal Property
Boiler and Machinery
Broadcaster Liability
Builders Risk
Business Income
Commercial General Insurance
Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional
Commercial General Liability and Medical Malpractice
Computer Equipment and Software
Corporal Punishment Liability
Crime Coverage
Day Care Center/Nursery School
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
Educators Errors and Omission Liability
Employee Benefits Liability
Employee Dishonesty
Employment Practices Liability
Extra Expense Insurance
Fiduciary Liability
Fine Arts and Collectibles
Flood
General Property Coverage
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Inland Marine and Mobile Equipment
Internet Liability Insurance
Life Insurance
Liquor Liability
Property in Transit and Off Premises
Risk Management Provisions
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Water Craft and Aircraft
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Workplace Violence
Accident and Injury Coverage

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Dennis Goldstein
Board Chair Company Affiliation Bain Capital
Board Chair Term July 2013 - June 2016
Board Co-Chair David Foster
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Volunteer
Board Co-Chair Term July 2013 - June 2016

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Tess V. Atkinson Community Volunteer --
Sidney Baptista Price Waterhouse LLC Voting
Timothy Bass Volunteer Voting
Kennett Burnes Cabot Corporation, retired CEO Voting
Peter Christie The Ronkin Christie Group - Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Voting
The Rev. Jennifer Daly Principal & Founder, Bridge Boston Charter Public School Voting
George Colquitt Estes, Jr. Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo Voting
The Rev. John H. Finley IV Epiphany School Exofficio
David Foster Volunteer Voting
Dennis Goldstein Bain Capital LLC Voting
G. Zachary Gund Coppermine Capital LLC Voting
Rawson Hubbell Boston Private Bank and Trust Voting
Peter Keating Keating & Co. Voting
John F. Kennedy Kennedy Ventures LLC Voting
Elizabeth L. March Volunteer Voting
Zachary Martin Volunteer Voting
Eva L. Maynard Boston College Voting
Richard Melvoin Belmont Hill School, Headmaster Voting
Katherine Metcalfe Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Diane Patrick Ropes & Gray Voting
George Putnam The Turnaround Letter Voting
Randal Rucker Family Services of Greater Boston --
Anne Sanderson Volunteer Voting
Sherley Gardner Smith Volunteer Voting
E. Abim Thomas Goodwin Proctor Voting
Katharine Walker Rockin' K Designs Voting
Martin Zinny SAC Capital Advisors Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 5
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 24
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 11
Male: 18
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • --
  • Administration
  • Audit
  • Board Development / Board Orientation
  • Building
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Investment
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Epiphany is a tuition-free, independent school supported almost entirely by over 2,000 individual donors.  These donors are involved in every part of our school, and they come to know Epiphany very, very well.  As a result, when it comes time to recruit new board members, our Committee on Trustees has always had a wealth of strong and experienced candidates from which to choose, candidates who will bring plenty of first-hand experience to bear in their leadership and decision-making.   A new opportunity is emerging for us now, however, to recruit trustees from among our graduates.  One has already joined the board, and more are expected to join soon.  Their input is invaluable. 

Our tuition-free model also helps in governance because it holds us accountable to the highest standards of excellence and transparency.  We know we have no guaranteed revenue.  In order to attract the necessary support, we must demonstrate clearly that we are needed and useful, that we are effectively addressing real problems.  Everything from our financials to our test scores need to be easy to access and to understand.  Every day, we have visitors to school, almost all of whom could someday be volunteers or donors.   Not only do they expect great test scores and great high school placement, but they also want to see a happy school: a clean, safe place where students are doing really well.  In the beginning fifteen years ago, that may not have always been the case, but now, more often than not, Epiphany really is the place we all dreamed it could be.
That said, Epiphany cannot afford to be complacent.  We can do better, and we must.  Everyone in the school understands this, and our community believes that among all the many things we could do to improve the single next best step for us is to start working with students younger, even possibly at conception while we also continue to improve and strengthen our existing middle school.

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2014 to June 30, 2015
Projected Income $3,039,555.00
Projected Expense $3,074,870.00
Form 990s

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

Audit Documents

2014 Audited Financials

2013 Audited Financials

2012 Audited Financials

2011 Audited Financials

2010 Audited Financials

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Revenue $10,228,734 $3,439,719 $3,803,931
Total Expenses $3,383,928 $3,236,734 $3,132,406

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$683,011 $853,467 $838,804
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $2,269,150 $2,236,469 $2,656,214
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $91,109 $69,207 $137,919
Investment Income, Net of Losses $267,581 $105,295 $-13,784
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind $14,431 $20,181 $54,778
Other $6,903,452 $155,100 $130,000

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Program Expense $2,684,368 $2,526,225 $2,499,435
Administration Expense $312,703 $316,543 $297,065
Fundraising Expense $386,857 $393,966 $335,906
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 3.02 1.06 1.21
Program Expense/Total Expenses 79% 78% 80%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 13% 13% 10%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Assets $17,978,454 $11,192,194 $10,994,403
Current Assets $1,839,002 $1,496,078 $1,896,409
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $47,418 $105,964 $111,158
Total Net Assets $17,931,036 $11,086,230 $10,883,245

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $73,565.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 4.0%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 2.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Capital Campaign Purpose We are in the beginning stages of a $20M capital campaign launched to support our Starting Younger Growing Stronger (SYGS) Campaign, which will enable Epiphany to meet the challenges our mission demands and strengthen our school. Specifically, the success of this campaign will allow Epiphany to (a) construct an Early Learning Center which will provide high-quality preschool education and full service care to economically-disadvantaged families in the city of Boston; (b) establish the Epiphany Institute which will allow for the expansion of our teacher training program, both in terms of curriculum and number, and advance our efforts in educational reform, both locally and beyond; (c) expand space and resources for the Graduate and Family Support Organization to address the needs of elementary level students and families, and to provide additional counseling, mentoring, job training, and administrative support and services; and (d) grow our Endowment to cover a higher percentage of our annual operating expenses and ensure a stable and dependable source of income for the school.
Campaign Goal $20,000,000.00
Capital Campaign Dates May 2014 - May 2017
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $14,600,000.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 38.78 14.12 17.06

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Epiphany is blessed with exceptionally strong financial management thanks to its excellent Business Manager and its diligent Board Committees: the Audit Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Investment Committee.  Given our audacious mission as a tuition-free independent school, effective financial management is essential.  One of our school’s social benchmarks students are required to meet in order to graduate is a thoughtful understanding of money—e.g., budgeting.  As their teachers, we expect the same responsible attitude toward financial management from ourselves.  The faculty and staff are good about how they spend money, and that serves the school well.  For example, Epiphany has for years maintained a zero-based budgeting plan in which almost every faculty member has the chance to craft his or her own budget from scratch.  The result is that while there can enormous swings in individual budgets year to year, the overall budget grows at a responsible rate of just 2-3% a year (outside of special new initiatives or programs that must grow (like our graduate support program which expands every year to work with ever more graduates).  For example, one year a teacher may need to replace all of his textbooks, but the next year he might not.  We trust our teachers to make good decisions, and they have not let us down.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's audited financials.  The organization provided further revenue breakout detail regarding Foundation & Corporation funding for fiscal years 2014, 2013 and 2012. The Foundation and Corporation category for fiscal year 2012 includes funding from Churches.
 
Please note "Other" for fiscal years 2014, 2013 and 2012 includes Capital Campaign contributions.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Founded in 1997, Epiphany believes that every child deserves a quality education in a supportive environment. Currently, we serve 92 students in grades 5-8, more than 250 young adults in our graduate support program, and over 260 families all from economically disadvantaged backgrounds from Boston. Our curriculum is based on individualized attention and essential skill building with a far-reaching web of support. We offer 12-hour school days, small classes, and tutoring. We also serve three meals daily and two snacks, run competitive sports programs, and ensure students’ health and social-emotional needs are met. All of our students have high-quality programming 11 months of the year, and our graduates remain active members of the school community. We admit most students by lottery, although siblings are generally admitted automatically because of our close partnership with families. We also reserve 30% of our slots either for children referred by the Department of Children & Families because of abuse or neglect or for children involved with Horizons for Homeless Children. Finally, as part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring Epiphany graduates succeed, we provide substantial resources to all of our former students. Epiphany’s essence is a commitment to its mission to “never give up on a child”. Our students go forth into the world with grit, ready to take on challenges as confident, capable young people.

Epiphany provides students and their families with a combination of academics and full-service programming that directly confronts the achievement gaps between rich and poor, white and black, etc.. Consider, for example, the differences in literacy rates and the impact that has on children. Children who are solid readers perform better in school and have a healthier self-image. They are on the path to becoming lifelong learners, and the ability to read and write is essential to future success. Yet, the reality is that the reading skills in children in low-income families are way below those of children of middle-and upper-income families. According to a 2013 study, students who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a high school diploma. Whether a function of time, financial resources, access to libraries, language barriers, or parents who fail to appreciate the importance of reading, low-income students are at a disadvantage from an early age. To close gaps like these, Epiphany’s admissions policy targets students whose demographic profiles suggest they are most at-risk. Currently, 98% of Epiphany students are from minority groups most affected by the achievement gaps, and fully 100% of our students are from economically-disadvantaged homes.

Specific School Goals include:

 

•  Ensure every child has a chance to live a happy and productive life in service to others

•  Have all graduates matriculate to good high schools
•  Develop independent learning skills
•  Enable students to access vitally needed health, prevention, and social services
•  Engage families fully in the process and benefits of education
•  Encourage social responsibility, civic participation, and community service
•  Provide meaningful training and experiences for teachers and volunteers
•  Demonstrate a model for other schools seeking to maximize student achievement
•  Bring together diverse communities, ethnicities, and faiths in the service of children
•  Train and nurture young teachers interested in careers teaching urban youth
•  Provide continued support for graduates to ensure their ongoing success

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

We set high academic standards for all students with the same core curriculum; limit school size to create small learning environments; ensure every student has an advisor; provide mentorship programs; ensure course content is relevant to students’ lives; provide service learning and community service projects; provide experiential, hands-on learning opportunities; and use a wide variety of instructional methods and technologies.

Academics & Daily School Life: We currently serve 90+ students with an extended day that runs 12+ hours, along with 250+ young adults in our graduate support. Students begin arriving at 6:30AM to help set up for breakfast and meet with teachers, and they usually do not go home until after evening study hall ends at 7:15PM. We have strong programming in Visual Arts and Music and run an hour and 45 minutes of study hall for homework. We hold all-school meetings, weekly chapel services, interscholastic athletics, and a variety of clubs and activities, some of which occur on Saturday. Epiphany has a dress code and clear behavioral expectations. Students are also actively engaged in the life of the city through community service projects.

Summer Programs: To effectively replace “summer learning loss” with “summer learning progress”, it is imperative that our summer programs are cohesively integrated with the regular academic school year at Epiphany. Summer programming kicks off with a sailing trip for 8th graders that is focused on leadership development;  a four-week residential academic enrichment program for 6th- 8th graders at Groton School follows, and a week-long orientation for incoming 5th graders takes place in August.

Full-Service Programming: Children do not develop and learn in isolation, but instead grow physically, socially, emotionally, ethically, and intellectually within networks of families, schools, neighborhoods, communities, and our larger society. As a “full-service school,” Epiphany combines a rigorous academic program with personal supports and the delivery of vitally needed health, prevention, and social services for each student in a loving and supportive community. Through collaborative programming with a large number of established community agencies, the school addresses many pressing needs. For example, we provide three meals and two snacks daily to each student, fit students for new glasses, arrange for psychologists in private practice to meet with students, help families access support from social service agencies, assist parents looking for work or housing, and much more.

Teaching Fellow Program: Typically recent college graduates with experience in education and backgrounds similar to our students, Epiphany’s teaching fellows (some of whom are Epiphany graduates) commit to a year or more of service in exchange for room, board, and a modest stipend. Fellows teach classes, coach sports, run extracurricular activities, supervise study hall, mentor students, and more.

High School Placement: Beginning in seventh grade, students and parents/guardians work closely with the High School Placement Coordinators to ensure that each student carefully considers future educational options; completes required testing, financial aid forms, and applications; and is able to make an informed decision about high school.

Graduate Support Program: GSP serves more than 250 young adults and ranges from the informal –e.g., offering "life advice" and academic help after school– to the more formal –e.g., SAT prep classes and financial aid workshops.Additionally, Epiphany helps cover unanticipated but necessary costs that may arise for our graduates, including books and supplies, by awarding "last-dollar" scholarships to graduates attending private high school.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Administration & Staff: Epiphany is run by the Head of School. Other key administrators include the Principal, Assistant Principal, Director of Development, a part-time Business Manager, and Director of Student Support Services. Epiphany’s teaching faculty includes 25 full-time teachers (10 Master Teachers and 15 Teaching Fellows) and part-time teachers in Art & Music.

Governing Body: Epiphany has an active and diverse Board of Trustees consisting of 29 members who meet five times a year. Board committees typically meet monthly and include Audit, Development, Finance, the Committee on Trustees, Strategic Planning, Academic & Student Life, Graduate Support, and Buildings & Grounds. The Board of Trustees includes an Epiphany graduate, and another graduate is under consideration for nomination soon.

Board of Advisors & Board of Overseers: Epiphany has two boards which function primarily as advisors and advoctaes. One is the Advisory Board composed of 9 leaders in different communities who support of our school and its mission, including the Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, Dr. Robert Coles, and Dr. T. Berry Brazelton. The other supporting board is our Board of Overseers (BOO), which currently can have up to 75 members drawn from a wide array of work and life experiences. 

Volunteers: Epiphany would not exist without the energetic service of the more than 200 volunteers from the greater community who come week after week to tutor, cook, help in the library, and much more. Indeed, a few of our volunteers are at the school nearly full-time. Some of the most productive and meaningful relationships between the school and the community are found with the many tutors who work individually with students in specific subject areas.

Financial Stability: Epiphany’s Development Team consists of a Development Director, a Foundation and Communications Manager, Annual Fund Manager, the Head of School, and the Development Committee (trustees, school administrators, and individual volunteers from the community). This team raises funds from private individuals, plans events, and develops on-going funding strategies to maintain and strengthen Epiphany’s Annual Fund. Over 2,000 donors contribute to the school annually, and we add donors on a consistent basis.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

We measure our success by our students' successes. To know where our strengths are and where we need to improve, we administer a variety of assessments at regular intervals, beginning as soon as students are accepted to Epiphany with the Stanford 10.  These tests help us determine the specific academic strengths of each student. Later on, we use the Stanford 10 to assess each student’s annual progress, although we do not teach to any one test or assessment. Here are some succinct descriptions of some of our various testing tools.

Academic & Social Benchmarks: In January, we administer midterm exams, and in May we administer final exams. Embedded in each of these exams are our academic benchmarks. The benchmarks are the minimum academic skills each student must master in each subject area in order to pass. Teachers will work with students if needed to help them pass, but students who fail to meet benchmarks will either be retained or placed on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) as determined in consultation with each student’s family. Throughout the school year, social and behavioral benchmarks are also assessed through teacher observation and internal documentation of daily behavior. Epiphany’s social benchmarks indicate the importance we place on educating the whole child. Students unable to reach the social benchmarks may be required to repeat a grade or, in the case of 8th graders, may be given a Certificate of Attendance in lieu of a diploma.

PEAR Holistic School Assessment: In addition to our own unique social benchmarks, students also take a standardized Holistic School Assessment (HSA) at the beginning and at the end of each school year. This HSA, administered online by the national PEAR (Program in Education, Afterschool, & Resiliency) measures student social development in three areas: resiliency, relationships, and learning/school engagement. This assessment helps track the emotional development of participants from the beginning of the school year to the end, as well as over the course of four years in the program.

Stanford 10 Test of Individual Achievement: For measurement against national standards, all students take the Stanford 10 Test of Individual Achievement which compares a student’s score with thousands of other students. Our curriculum is not tailored exclusively to these tests, but the Stanford 10 does help provide teachers with information to evaluate students’ academic strengths and weaknesses and to modify curriculum as needed.  This test is administered when students first arrive at Epiphany in fifth grade and again every May.

High School Placement & College Acceptance/Graduation Rates:  100% of Epiphany’s graduates continue their educations every year in good independent, parochial, charter, and pilot schools, or at the city’s elite exam schools. Furthermore, as of June 2014, 90% of Epiphany’s graduates have graduated from high school or earned a GED. By contrast, the three public high schools near Epiphany have a much lower average graduation rate of 52.8%, and this rate does not include 8th graders who drop out between middle and high school. 

According to a January, 2014 publication from the Office of the President of the United States, nationally, only 10% of low-income students graduate college by age 25. Epiphany’s statistics are notably higher. Out of those Epiphany graduates who are eligible to enroll in post-secondary education, 72% have enrolled in post-secondary programs, and out of the first five graduating classes, 54% of those enrolled have graduated from college. This graduation number is even on par with national graduation rates for high-income students (50% of whom receive a Bachelor’s degree by age 25). Although our graduates are graduating at rates more than 5 times the national average of 10% for this population, we are not complacent. Our goal is to have many more of our graduates in this position.


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Sixteen years ago, visionary leaders set out to build a school that offered love, compassion, and rigor for some of Boston’s most vulnerable students. Thousands of volunteers, friends, and supporters helped us grow into a mature organization achieving remarkable results and serving as innovators in the field of education. We have found our “sweet spot,” and we could not be more proud!

Unfortunately, many of the same challenges we started out to address continue today for our students. Our students still live in neighborhoods marked by violence, tremendous poverty, and the despair these bring with them. They are still challenged by various sub-cultures that do not value education but instead glamorize material possessions. Sadly, many of our students have been abused and neglected, and most begin their Epiphany careers far behind academically. Their medical needs are often unmet; they have never seen dentists or eye doctors; their parents struggle with unemployment, housing, and illness. Despite these external factors however, our students persevere, see progress, and they graduate Epiphany with their heads held high and with bright futures ahead of them. Many return to Epiphany to serve as Teaching Fellows, and they all become young men and women of whom we can be proud.

Yet, we know we can do more. “Never give up on a child.” These words lie at the heart of Epiphany School’s mission and drive all we do. What does it mean to never give up? It means constantly strengthening our curriculum, doubling down on professional development, expanding programming to better serve students and graduates. It means that we do whatever it takes to do our best today and better tomorrow.

Epiphany provides a transformative educational experience for students in grades 5-8, but we can do more and be more effective if we reach children earlier. The research in early education is unequivocal: the first five years of life are critical to a child’s cognitive development. We know we can do more by starting younger.

With this in mind and with the help of visionary donors, Epiphany purchased two acres of land just blocks from the Schoolhouse as we explored the last priority in our 2008 Strategic Plan: which was to start younger. After years of careful study, in May of 2014, Epiphany’s Board of Trustees voted to begin a $20 million capital campaign. This Starting Younger, Growing Stronger campaign will enable Epiphany to meet the challenges our mission demands and strengthen our school. Specifically, this campaign will allow Epiphany to construct an Early Learning Center, create the Epiphany Institute to train more teachers and help more schools, expand Graduate and Family Support programming, and grow our Endowment.