A powerful model of education designed to change outcomes in Dorchester
Michael Reardon, executive director of the Catholic Schools Foundation, recently noted in his Aug. 26 op-ed, entitled Matching Words with Actions, that "Diversity of thought, culture, and experience truly enriches all of us, but true diversity and inclusion is about action."
Located in the heart of Dorchester and serving under-resourced students from Boston's neighborhoods, Cristo Rey Boston High School understands the unique challenges that impact students from challenging circumstances, both during high school and college.
Only 11 percent of students in the bottom quartile of income earn a bachelor's degree within six years, compared to 58 percent from those in the top quartile for income. To combat this dire statistic, a powerful new model has been built at Cristo Rey Boston, one that offers students from underserved communities the knowledge that resources and mentorship will not end at high school graduation.
Currently, 56 percent of Cristo Rey Boston alumni graduate from college, close to matching the achievement of students from much more privileged backgrounds. But we passionately believe every matriculating CRB alumni has the ability to graduate from college, and know with the right support, students will succeed. Statistics indicate that a young person with a college degree will earn $1m more than a person with a high school diploma over their lifetime. Attaining a college degree is a game changer for students and their families, providing a pathway out of poverty.
With an intentional investment in success for Cristo Rey Boston students, the position of director of alumni relations has been added to the student centric team. This role ensures that a student is supported post-graduation from Cristo Rey and throughout their college journey with a mentor who can help with petitioning for appropriate financial aid, assisting a student in crisis, and guiding students on how to self-advocate. In the process, a powerful and diverse network of alumni is being created, where former students who are established in their careers are the conduit for the next generation of diverse talent coming from Boston.
Knowing that many first-generation students have parents who have not attended college and do not speak English fluently, the alumni advisor role extends the reach of the CRB caring community to include college and early career formation.
It is a powerful model, designed to guide students and families from middle school through to adulthood. The arc of care, from admissions to college preparation to secondary education has been designed to remove institutional barriers in the way of student success. It is why the CRB motto is "College: It is not a Dream. It is the Plan."
ROSEMARY J. POWERS IS THE PRESIDENT OF CRISTO REY BOSTON HIGH SCHOOL. LOCATED IN THE SAVIN HILL NEIGHBORHOOD OF DORCHESTER, CRISTO REY EXCLUSIVELY SERVES STUDENTS FROM UNDER-RESOURCED COMMUNITIES ACROSS BOSTON WITH A MODEL THAT INCLUDES COLLEGE-PREPARATORY ACADEMICS AND PARTICIPATION IN A WORK-STUDY PROGRAM ONE DAY A WEEK.