|January 23, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 2 • Oakland, CA|
Catholic Schools Week
Cristo Rey high school
working toward fall 2018 opening
Cristo Rey East Bay High School may be its working title, but the budding collaboration among donors, businesses and students is rooted in Oakland.
The Cristo Rey high school, its leaders say, grows out of the legacy of the Fruitvale District school that educated thousands over its 95 years.
"Our sincere effort is our desire to serve the community and grow in our ability to serve the community," said John Scudder, "everyone connected with the Cristo Rey efforts are sincerely committed to serving the community."
One of the goals of the Cristo Rey school, Scudder said, is to be the answer to "how do we make high-quality Catholic college prep available to more of the community?"
They know there is need and desire for such an education, as a survey of the neighborhood have shown them.
"There's interest in the community for students to enroll," said Steve Wilcox, chair of the Founders Circle for the high school.
Ann Magovern, one of the Founders Circle board members and executive director of the Fruitvale-based Vision of Hope, conducted a survey of families with sixth- and seventh-graders.
The Cristo Rey Network bases its model on high-quality college preparatory education for students from low-income families. A student who qualifies for free or reduced-price school lunch, for example, is likely to be eligible to attend the school.
The cost of education is funded in part by the students own work. Four students share a job, each working one day a week in a job that pays $32,000 a year. The school acts as the employment agency, with the students' income going directly to the school.
The requirement for the diocese's application to the Cristo Rey Network, due on May 1, calls for 35 jobs; the leaders are more than halfway there.
Saint Mary's College — the college of the Christian Brothers — is among the employers.
The application also requires a financial commitment of $2.5 million, which can be in pledges payable over five years.
Tuition assistance will be part of the equation, which could include grants from FACE — Family Aid Catholic Education. The grants provide $3,050 per year to eligible high school students.
Under the Cristo Rey model, parents do pay tuition, but it is generally much less than traditional high school tuition.
In addition, there is promising foundation support for the project, Scudder said.
The school, Wilcox said, is in the "great tradition in Oakland to serve kids who would qualify for Cristo Rey. This is a program that will build on the service to the poor that schools are already doing."
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