NAME OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PROJECT: Cristo Rey Network of Schools
PROJECT ADDRESS: 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 1200, Chicago IL 60604
LENGTH OF TIME THE PROJECT/PROGRAM HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE: 9 years
PROJECT WEBSITE: http://www.cristoreynetwork.org/
The Cristo Rey Network® is comprised of 24 high schools that provide a quality, Catholic, college preparatory education to urban young people who live in communities with limited educational options.
The Cristo Rey Network of schools was founded in 2001 when leaders from groups in Portland, Oregon, Cleveland, Denver, and New York hoping to replicate Cristo Rey Jesuit High School of Chicago gathered for the first time to learn more about the model school. Since 2001, leaders of the Cristo Rey schools have been meeting regularly to share ideas and best practices.
In 2003, the Cristo Rey Network was formally organized as a 501(c)(3) organization. The Network is governed by a Board of Directors, several of whom are elected by the Member Schools. The Members of the Cristo Rey Network are schools approved by the Board. Each member school agrees to adhere to the 10 Mission Effectiveness Standards of the Cristo Rey Network.
B.J. and Bebe Cassin were the first philanthropists to promote the scaling up of the Cristo Rey model. In 2001, they made a $12 million commitment to replicate the Cristo Rey schools. Today, dozens of foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and individual donors throughout the country have contributed to the efforts of the Cristo Rey Network.
A Cristo Rey Network school shall meet the following standards. The School:
1. Is explicitly Catholic in mission and enjoys Church approval.
2. Serves only economically disadvantaged students. The school is open to students of various faiths and cultures, and is culturally sensitive and community-based.
3. Is family centered and plays an active role in the local community.
4. Is accredited by a recognized regional accrediting association. It has a college preparatory curriculum designed for a high level of student engagement in their learning.
5. Requires participation by all students in the work-study program. All students must be 14 years old on or before September 1st or the first official day of work, whichever comes later.
6. Seeks to integrate the learning present in its work program, classroom and extracurricular experiences for the fullest benefit of its student workers.
7. Has an effective administrative structure—normally including positions such as a separate President, Principal, CWSP Director, and Development Director—and a Board structure that includes religious, education, community, business and civic leaders; complies with all applicable state and federal laws, including immigration, labor and not-for-profit tax laws.
8. Is financially sound. At full enrollment, the school is primarily dependent on revenue from the work-study program to meet operating expenses. In addition, the school maintains a comprehensive advancement program to ensure financial stability.
9. Seeks to understand, assure, and improve how and how well its students learn and grow.
10. Is an active participant in the collaboration, support, and development of the Cristo Rey Network.
Each School is different. The assessment process serves as a way for the Network to evaluate the progress of each school concerning these Standards as well as a means for Network schools to share expertise and learn from one another. This process must take into account that each school differs from the others and may have alternate ways of addressing these Standards. Also, schools typically participate in the activities of accrediting agencies and are reviewed by sponsoring religious congregations and dioceses. Assessment of these standards is meant to complement this ongoing work on the part of the school rather than duplicate it.
Various branches of the Vincentian Family are involved in developing or teaching in these schools.