Schools that Work Achieve Academic Excellence
Less than one in ten low-income students beginning high school completes a post-secondary degree by age 24. Often stuck in poor-performing schools with low expectations, low-income students struggle to access the quality instruction and support they need to be college-ready by the end of high school.
To systematically begin breaking the cycle of poverty and alleviate human suffering, the critical lever of change is for all cities to consider new ways of providing parents with educational choices and the opportunity to enroll their children into a quality, college preparatory education.
In doing just that, the Cristo Rey Network (comprised of 24 high schools nationwide) employs a sustainable revenue model that does not rely solely on traditional fundraising or government funding and, therefore, exclusively provides low-income families with an affordable, quality educational option.
To fund the member schools, and fulfill the students’ dreams of college success, each school operates an unconventional business model whereby students work five days each month in an entry-level job in white collar companies (law firms, banks, hospitals and other professional service, corporate partners) with the fee for their work being directed to underwrite tuition costs. The Corporate Work Study Program not only provides students with the 21st century knowledge skills to succeed in college and the modern workplace, but also gives hope, and a future, to low-income students who thought college and economic prosperity for themselves was only a dream. This school-year, Cristo Rey students earned $37 million toward their education.
With rigorous academics in the classroom, coupled with the work study experience outside the classroom, Cristo Rey graduates master skills, complete high school, and pursue higher education at rates far exceeding their peers.
According to National Student Clearinghouse, for the graduating classes of 2008-2011, 85% have enrolled in college and 88% of these students (for the classes of 2008-2009) have persisted into their sophomore year. This percent is nearly twice the rate of students from the same socio-economic background as Cristo Rey students.
“The Cristo Rey Network is proving, through its outcome data, that the most vulnerable and at-risk youth in America can and will succeed in enrolling in college when given a high quality, college preparatory high school educational experience,” remarked Cristo Rey Network President and CEO Rob Birdsell.
Cristo Rey schools are transforming the education landscape for low-income youth and changing the trajectories of students’ lives.
“Cristo Rey equipped me with knowledge, skills and unique ideas that will allow me to thrive. My teachers challenged my intellectual curiosity, my administrators challenged me to become an ethical leader, and the Corporate Work Study Program taught me that hard work pays off,” said Octavio, a Cristo Rey Network alumni who is currently enrolled at Boston College. “These experiences have educated me beyond being able to understand a text book. I am able to understand the magnitude of being work prepared and being able to serve others. Before Cristo Rey, I was a student; I am now a scholar.”
More About This Charity
Cristo Rey Network
The Cristo Rey Network empowers thousands of students from underserved lower-income communities to develop their minds and hearts to become lifelong contributors to society. By providing students an extraordinary college preparatory education and a unique four-year, integrated corporate work study experience, we seek to help transform urban America.
- This Achievement helped 6,900 people
- This charity helped 8,062 people in the past year
- $37,000,000 earned by Cristo Rey Network students to fund their education.