Could a Cristo Rey school work in Milwaukee?
The Cristo Rey Network of Catholic, Jesuit high schools has its eyes set on Milwaukee.
The network, which operates 24 schools in 17 states, considers Milwaukee a prime location for its 25th school and is partnering with the College of Education on a feasibility study, the first between Cristo Rey and a university.
“I can’t think of another city with as much momentum around transforming the educational landscape as Milwaukee,” says Robert Birdsell, president and CEO of the network.
In the Cristo Rey model, students attend classes four days a week and work at a participating business in the community the fifth day. Wages the students earn go toward their tuition.
The 12-month feasibility study will gauge the business community’s interest in supporting the school and evaluate demand among Milwaukee families.
Marquette has enjoyed a strong partnership with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago through the Urban Scholars program that was introduced in 2006. Each year, three students from Cristo Rey Chicago and one from the Cristo Rey Network join Marquette’s freshman class.
“Marquette has educated Cristo Rey students, and we’ve seen their success and transformation,” says Dr. Bill Henk, dean of the College of Education.
Jeff Snell, one of Marquette’s representatives studying the issue and a champion for social innovation on campus, is a driving force behind the move to bring the Cristo Rey model to Milwaukee. He calls the feasibility study “one example of how Marquette seeks to be present to the city and the world using the field of social innovation’s emphasis on solving problems as a framework.” — KV