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Community Charter School of Paterson Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

Community Charter School of Paterson Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

November 7, 2023

More than 15 years ago, NJCDC, along with parents and community members, had a new idea—a school that would not only provide high-quality education, but would also have a strong connection to the community and a focus on strengthening its families. In 2008, this vision became a reality, as the Community Charter School of Paterson (CCSP) opened its doors to 400 K-3 students.

The school now serves more than 900 students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade across two campuses. CCSP has seen many successes, both in the classroom—last year, two CCSP alumni were valedictorians of their high schools—and outside of the classroom. Scholars plant gardens, play in orchestras, and participate in exciting summer programs. Just a couple of years ago, we opened a new middle school campus across the street from the elementary school campus. This new campus created even more of a community atmosphere, bringing scholars of all ages closer together!

In October, we gathered outside of the elementary school campus on Spruce Street to celebrate CCSP's 15th anniversary. Attendees included CCSP students, staff, families, and trustees, as well as Mayor Andre Sayegh, Councilwoman Maritza Davila, and former Passaic County Commissioner TJ Best. There was a brief program featuring speakers who shared their perspectives on CCSP over the past 15 years. After a short welcome, NJCDC's Founder and CEO, Bob Guarasci, who played a vital role in founding CCSP back in 2008, introduced CCSP's new CEO, Ira Griffith.

Ira thanked the founding trustees and teachers who worked so hard to open the school and support the first students and families. He then thanked CCSP's current staff, trustees, and families, who continue to make the school successful. In particular, he recognized the hard work of Noreen Murphy, who has worked at CCSP since the beginning.

The number 15 signals new beginnings, and I have the opportunity to lead this organization at a new beginning," he said. "We've got 15 years servicing the City of Paterson, one that's so deserving. A city, like many others, that's been plagued by institutional ills. And that is why we exist—to advance access to an excellent education for all of our kids, regardless of their zip code.

Bob then returned to the podium to reflect on his experience founding the school, saying "I remember that day, 15 years ago, when the doors to this school opened. The key words that morning were hope and possibility. And today I stand here, 15 years later, and tell you that the feelings of hope and possibility, for me, are as palpable as ever."

Guests also heard from Ava, a seventh-grade student at CCSP. Ava has been at CCSP since she was in Kindergarten, and she reflected on the experiences that have shaped her. In particular, she shared how her teachers have helped her to discover her love of math, and she thanked all of her teachers for helping her excel. She said, "CCSP is an outstanding institution, as it constantly strives for excellence by not only fostering our goals, but also extending its assistance to a multitude of individuals, in the past, present, and future."

Other speakers included Michael DeBlasio, the President of CCSP's Board of Trustees; Shana Manradge, a CCSP parent and board member; and Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. After the brief program, guests enjoyed delicious cake, donuts, and apple cider, and everyone got to take home a commemorative mug and keychain. As we look back on the success of the past 15 years, we also look forward to seeing what CCSP will accomplish in the future!

As Ira said, "CCSP is a special place. I like who we are, but I love who we're becoming."

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