Professional Development A National Roundup

Cristo Rey Schools Receive $6 Million to Expand Network

By Mary Ann Zehr — November 06, 2006 1 min read

A new grant of $6 million will help a network of college-preparatory Roman Catholic high schools for youths in poor urban areas expand.

The grant to the Cristo Rey Network from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced last week, will go toward providing professional development for teachers and administrators and opening new schools, according to Jeff Thielman, the vice president of development and new initiatives for the network. A dozen Cristo Rey schools already have been established. In September 2007, more schools are scheduled to open, in Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; the District of Columbia; Indianapolis; Minneapolis; and Omaha, Neb.

All students in the schools work part time in entry-level jobs with local companies and big national businesses, which in turn pay about 70 percent of the cost of running each of the schools, Mr. Thielman said. Ninety-two percent of Cristo Rey students are African-American or Latino. The schools deliberately seek out students who struggle in school.

The Seattle-based Gates Foundation previously gave the Cristo Rey Network a grant of $9.9 million. That grant, which began in May 2003, was primarily used to cover the costs of starting new schools.

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A version of this article appeared in the November 08, 2006 edition of Education Week

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