The Cristo Rey Network of high schools delivers a career focused, college preparatory education in the Catholic tradition for students with limited economic resources, uniquely integrating rigorous academic curricula with four years of professional work experience and support to and through college. We partner with educators, businesses and communities to enable students to fulfill their aspirations for a lifetime of success.
Historical Growth Snapshot
When Cristo Rey Jesuit High School opened under the leadership of John P. Foley, S.J. in 1996, it introduced a highly innovative integration of academic and professional experience to Catholic secondary education in the United States. The model had immediate appeal, first to Catholic educators across the country and soon after to prominent philanthropists committed to educational reform.
Through the talent and commitment of local communities and enthusiastic support from philanthropic investors, the Cristo Rey Network has grown from a single school to a national network of 37 high schools, serving 12,500 students and boasting 20,000 alumni. In the decade ahead, the Network seeks to serve 20,000 students annually across 50 schools with 40,000 alumni.
Providing Access to Quality Education
Cristo Rey Network high schools serve economically disadvantaged youth of all faiths and cultures who could not otherwise access a quality education. Cristo Rey schools enroll students whose gross family income is 250% of the federal poverty threshold or below. On average, students come from families whose overall average household income is $38,000 for a family of four. Across the Cristo Rey Network, 98% are young people of color.
Cristo Rey schools do not focus their recruiting on academically high-performing low-income students. Through no fault of their own, our students have had inconsistent exposure to high quality instruction; therefore, Cristo Rey schools must provide consistent, high quality learning that accelerates growth and achievement to ensure college readiness. 70% of our Class of 2023 came from public or charter middle schools.
Cristo Rey Network National Office Overview
As the engine of excellence, accountability, and growth, the 23-member Cristo Rey Network national office team, based in Chicago, delivers programming and tools to advance the vitality of the movement by ensuring the strong performance of each existing and future school. Collaborating closely with each other and with our schools, the staff at the national office creates and delivers programming that protects the integrity of the Cristo Rey movement and advances school excellence and innovation by:
1. Surfacing, scaling, and standardizing effective practices across all schools through professional development offerings, convenings, and tailored consultation in academics, college enrollment and completion, Corporate Work Study Program, performance measurement, and governance;
2. Facilitating new school growth through development and implementation of a national growth plan and support for new schools;
3. Supporting mission accountability – as defined by the Mission Effectiveness Standards – through regularly-scheduled school evaluations and data collection and analysis; and
4. Stewarding national branding, visibility, and fundraising.