Cristo Rey Schools: A Different Kind of School

Updated June 14, 2016 |
Cristo Rey Schools: A Different Kind of School
The Cristo Rey Network of schools currently comprises some 26 schools in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Truth is they are just getting started.
Cristo Rey schools are unabashedly Roman Catholic. Through and through. They teach Catholic values and religious beliefs. But they do something more which is both unusual and significant. Cristo Rey schools serve students from low income families in urban areas who could not otherwise afford a private school education. The way the Cristo Rey schools do this is to combine a work study program with the academics, sports and extracurricular activities the schools offer. Simply put, the Cristo Rey schools offer a quality education with a work study component.




The Cristo Rey schools got their start back in the 90's in Chicago. The Catholic academic scene was a familiar though depressing one. The diocesan high schools were facing serious financial challenges. Those schools had always been the ray of hope for struggling lower income families who dreamed of an education for their children. The Catholic schools run by the various orders were in good shape because they attracted a clientele which could afford the substantially higher tuition which those schools charged. The Jesuits met with parishioners in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and asked what they needed most. "A good high school" was the unequivocal response. This short video clip shows what the Jesuits did.

The Program
As noted above Cristo Rey schools have a work study program which is an integral part of the life and rhythm of each school. Students work the equivalent of 5 days a month. The school arranges the students' work study
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Updated June 14, 2016 |
What do you do when you are dissatisfied with your local public schools? Homeschool your children? Send them to private school? Let's look at your options.
Dissatisfied with your local public schools? When parents are faced with under-performing public schools in their area, what alternatives do they have? In most cases just three options are available: they can keep their children at home and homeschool them. They can also consider sending their children to private school. Or they could relocate to an area with good schools. Let's leave out the last option which is a real stretch for most families. Selling a home and finding a new one is not a project for the faint-hearted.
Fact: Approximately 2 million children were homeschooled in the United States in academic year 2011-2012. Source: Parent and Family Involvement in Education, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012.
Fact: Approximately 4.5 million students attend private school. Source: Private School Universe Survey.

The mothers in this video explain why they are thinking about homeschooling their children.

The other underlying condition which we have to appreciate is that we are talking about average middle class families. Typically these hard-working folks bring in less than $100,000 a year. In many cases much less than that. I feel that this is a very important factor to deal with up front. Why? Because in most cases parents in this income bracket simply feel that they cannot afford private school. So they don't even bother exploring private school options. They are convinced that private schools are for rich kids. In their minds a private school education for
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Updated June 14, 2016 |
Religious Schools: An Overview
Your religion matters to you. You want your child to attend a school which will combine academics and religious education. Here is an overview of what is available together with some links to denominational web sites.
One of the main reasons many of us parents look at private schools is because we want our children to receive a religious education. I define a religious education for the purposes of this article as an education which adheres more or less to the religious beliefs which we hold dear. In other words if you are Roman Catholic, you will want to think seriously about educating your child in a Roman Catholic school.
It has been several years since I examined the data on religious schools in the National Center for Education Statistics Private School Universe Survey. This survey covers academic year 2011-2012.  So I was fascinated to see that out of the 30,000 private schools in the United States approximately 21,000 were described as religiously-oriented schools. About 9,000 schools were what we call non-sectarian or not affiliated with any specific religion.  By comparison there were approximately 99,000 public schools in the 2011-2012 academic year. That would mean that private K-12 schools are educating approximately 30% of school-age children.
Let's review the 25 religious categories which the Private Universe Survey documents.
Roman Catholic: The Roman Catholic Church has always taken its educational mission seriously. As a result about 7,000 K-12 schools educate 1.9 million students. Catholic schools include parochial schools which are largely K-8 schools and diocesan high schools. These schools are mostly organized and administered at the local and regional level. Add to this mix hundreds of schools which were established by the various religious orders - Jesuit,
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Updated November 06, 2014
7 Ways to Improve Your Math Scores
Add things up and you'll quickly find the answer- math is crucial both in academics and the real world. By following these strategies and following personal training programs, students can uncover their weaknesses and conquer math.
Add things up and you’ll quickly find the answer – math is crucial both in academics and the real world.                                                                                                                        
To progress through high school to college and beyond, you better make sure your math skills are strong enough to face the gauntlet of exams, SAT’s, and more. Mathematics not only opens up career opportunities, but helps students develop critical problem-solving skills that they can use the rest of their lives.
We spoke with some experts in mathematics and learning to get some quick tips on how to improve your math skills. “Math is used in almost all parts of our lives, from sciences and computers to music and art,” states Tanya Mitchell, the Vice President of Research and Development for brain training company LearningRx. Tanya says that math struggles often boil down to weak cognitive skills, and not genetics, gender, age or study habits. By following these strategies and following personal training programs, students can uncover their weaknesses and conquer math.  
1.  Write out your work. 
It may be basic, but writing out your work is an essential rule to doing great math. Alison
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
 Why Did You Select That School?
"Because I heard it is a good school." That may well be, but there are some other factors in the private school selection process we need to consider.
One of the first things a parent says when she speaks to me about private schools is something along the lines of "I want my son to go to such and such a school." When I diplomatically ask why she is interested in that specific school, the answer is usually "because I heard it is a really good school." That is a starting point in determining which school your child should attend. However, there is much more to the process than merely expressing an interest in a school because you heard it was a good one.
So, why not you and I work our way through that initial consultation? Hopefully it will help you refine your private school search process. Ideally it will help you find a school which meets your requirements as well as what your child needs to flourish and be happy.
What are you really looking for?
Understanding what you are really looking for is a critical part of any private school search process. So, start at the beginning and apply a couple of filters. The first filter asks what type of school are you looking for? Day or boarding? With thousands of private schools here in the United States as well as hundreds more in Canada and the United Kingdom, using this filter reduces the number of schools for our consideration rather dramatically.

As this introduction to choosing a private school states, you have to look at a lot of schools before you find the one that's right
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