From freshman year, Cristo Rey schools establish a culture of high expectations by blending rigorous academic preparation, significant professional work experience through the Corporate Work Study Program, Catholic educational values, and support for students to and through college. This unique educational model has powerful formational impact on students—demystifying the world outside their neighborhoods, developing valuable workplace readiness skills, introducing them to inspirational role models and supportive mentors, and building the competence, confidence, and aspiration so important to college and career success.
On average, Cristo Rey students arrive in ninth grade two grade levels behind academically because, through no fault of their own, they have not had the benefit of access to quality instruction in grades K-8. To ensure Cristo Rey students graduate from high school prepared for college, our schools must routinely target six years of learning gains during four years of high school. Cristo Rey schools utilize a proprietary, standards based, college preparatory curriculum that emphasizes lifelong learning behaviors and critical thinking skills to ensure appropriate rigor and empower student success.
Cristo Rey schools are explicitly Catholic in mission. Cristo Rey schools recognize the God-given dignity and promise of all of our students and support them in exploring religion, faith, and spirituality. In addition to teaching a standards-based religious studies curriculum, students are engaged in a ministry program that helps all youth develop the foundations of becoming fully human, models of Christian and family values (i.e. leadership, service, self-discipline, responsibility, integrity), voices against injustice, respectful, and compassionate of others. Our schools welcome children of all faiths and no faiths, and approximately 46% of our students in the Network are not Catholic.
Corporate Work Study Program
Through the Network’s innovative Corporate Work Study Program, Cristo Rey schools are a national leader in building a pipeline of diverse, 21st century talent and preparing underserved youth for the demands of the growing knowledge-based economy. A team of four students shares one entry-level job at a professional organization, allowing students to earn the majority of their high school tuition while gaining real-world work experience.
With 4,100 graduates enrolled in college this year and 6,000 projected to be enrolled in 2020, the Cristo Rey Network is a major contributor to the national discourse on college match, access, persistence, and completion for first generation, underserved youth.
Committed to every student’s success to and through college, the Cristo Rey Network pioneered the University Partner program in 2009. This year - through the generous investment of the Wilson Sheehan Foundation - it has launched College Initiatives 360 designed to expand and strengthen Cristo Rey schools’ college-going culture and support for students and graduates on their path to and through college. This multi-pronged program emphasizes staff development, more targeted use of data and technology, and a College Success Fund that the national office awards to schools on a competitive basis for defined uses to increase their institutional capacity for college support.
Cristo Rey is at the forefront of the alumni support field developing within the higher education landscape, and this program will enable more Cristo Rey schools to employ an Alumni Advisor to offer targeted interventions, advocacy, and connectivity to our graduates as they, generally the first in their families to attend college, navigate this unchartered territory.