My son’s 1st grade teacher sends home a packet each week with explicit instructions on the homework for the week and the role my wife and I are to play in helping him complete his assignments. We have the option to go a website to do a spelling and vocabulary assignment, and we are to make sure my son reads for at least 15 minutes a night, which, fortunately, he is happy to do.
As I help my son with his homework and answer his questions in the living room of our home in a comfortable Boston suburb, I can’t help but think of how his childhood is completely different from the experience of our students here at Cristo Rey Boston High School. Two-thirds of our students live in single-parent homes. A sign of the times and a demonstration of the strong commitment to our mission is that the average family income of this year’s 9th grade class is $10,000 less than last year’s incoming students. Nearly 40% of our freshmen live at or below the poverty level, and 77% of our new students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program.
Cristo Rey Boston High School is all about closing the achievement gap between low-income students from the city and young people who live in areas with so much more support and advantages. The double-block courses, tutoring, remediation, and other support programs that are the hallmark of our school are designed to get our students to grade level and beyond. Most our students did not have adults read to them when they were children, and most did not have two parents available to help them with homework when they were younger. Fortunately at Cristo Rey Boston they have a team of 40 dedicated professionals who are devoted to helping them reach their full potential.
There’s a lot of talk these days about what it takes to close the achievement gap. If you want to see a school that is doing just that, come and see Cristo Rey Boston High School. You’ll see the lives and futures of 311 young people transformed before your very eyes.