April 13, 2016

The Cristo Rey Way

“Faith based is not about getting someone to pursue a particular faith, but an understanding that faith brings an understanding of one’s responsibility to their fellow students, and it's an idea of instilling values that goes beyond religion. That’s what we hope. That a student will come out of Cristo Rey with values that make them better citizens, and that no matter what religion they are, they should come out with that.” –Dr. LlorensCristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School (CRBR) is part of a national network of successful Catholic college preparatory schools. Opening in Fall 2016, CRBR offers an affordable, faith-based, private education option to families in Baton Rouge. With a shared vision of getting scholars to and through college, CRBR offers unparalleled programs for ninth graders with eyes set on higher education.The President of CRBR, James L. Llorens, Ph.D., saw the lack of an affordable Catholic education in the area and wanted to provide an option to Baton Rouge families. He said, “This model was attractive because it provided an opportunity to continue a model that’s a part of a Catholic tradition of education, regardless of anyone’s faith.”CRBR is open to all students regardless of their faith. It offers a rigorous curriculum in order to adequately prepare each and every student for higher education. The school is currently seeking incoming ninth grade students who have a desire to continue their education after high school so the faculty and staff can instill a drive in students to achieve their goals. Principal Aimee Wiles said, “Education was my way out. I always saw education as the key to my future, and I think that’s what needs to be instilled in students.” With a 1:12 teacher to student ratio, students will receive one-on-one help from teachers and peers.CRBR has developed many innovative programs for students arriving in the fall. The Academic Advisory Program helps incoming students get acclimated to the school. This program will help all students who are coming in from different areas with different skill sets get adjusted to Cristo Rey’s unique learning environment. An afterschool program providing students with a quite place to work on homework and get extra help from teachers will also be implemented. CRBR teachers are required to assist with the afterschool program in order to help students achieve at every touch point. The CRBR curriculum includes a special focus on ACT prep every year until students are well prepared to take the test. Keeping in mind Cristo Rey’s dedication to send its students to and through college, CRBR will continue to aid their graduates through an alumni advisor. This person will aid CRBR alumni on their journey to and through higher education by helping them complete the proper paperwork, apply for scholarships and adjust to the college transition.In order to make CRBR an affordable option for families, students are required to participate in the Corporate Work Study Program. Once a week, students will be transported to their work site where they will receive real world experience in a corporate environment while offsetting the cost of tuition. Students will learn first-hand how to communicate effectively and stay organized. CRBR already has over 25 corporate partners ranging from advertising agencies, health agencies, law offices and manufacture companies. Students are matched to a partner based on their skills and interests and will assist in professional tasks while learning new skills taught by the partner. In order to train students, CRBR will be conducting a Summer Bridge Program where students build foundational networking and professional skills. Students will also become Microsoft certified preparing them for the fall.CRBR is focused on preparing students to excel to and through college and in life. The Cristo Rey structure gives those with limited resources an option to give their student an affordable private Catholic education.

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