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September 8, 2016 - New vision for Catholic high school education announced

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September 8, 2016 - New vision for Catholic high school education announced

New vision for Catholic high school education announced


Sept. 8, 2016

OAKLAND -- The Diocese of Oakland has committed to “re-starting” secondary education in the Fruitvale area, a community currently served by St. Elizabeth High School, a Catholic, urban school that has experienced significant decline in enrollment. The diocese plans a new high school using the innovative Cristo Rey model at the site, located next to St. Elizabeth Parish on 34th Avenue.

The new school is expected to use the Cristo Rey corporate work study model, which targets inner-city, urban families. The concept, described as “education that works,” provides students with professional work experiences, which also offset the cost of tuition. Graduates of these schools are entering and completing college at twice the rate of their neighbors in traditional, inner-city high schools.

There are 30 Cristo Rey Network schools in the United States, including Immaculate Conception Academy in San Francisco and Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit in San Jose.

St. Elizabeth has been chosen as the future site because of the diocese’s commitment to the Fruitvale area, the solid physical condition of the St. Elizabeth buildings and the analysis of a local committee.

It is anticipated that the new school can open in the summer of 2018 with a freshman class. A "break year" between the current student population and the beginning of the Cristo Rey school, recommended by the Cristo Rey Network, allows for a successful transition.

“Our first priority is helping students in the three transitioning classes of St. Elizabeth (classes of ’18, ’19 and ’20) assimilate in a new school for the 2017-2018 school year,” explained Bishop Michael Barber, bishop of Oakland. Six other Catholic high schools have pledged to work with the Diocese and St. Elizabeth administration to ensure that every student who wants to attend a Catholic high school can do so. Led by Bishop Barber, the plan will allow current St. Elizabeth High School students to enroll at one of the six receiving Catholic schools with no increase in tuition. The schools will work with students, their families and the St. Elizabeth administration to match students to the optimal school for their needs and interests.

“The Cristo Rey model offers the possibility that St. Elizabeth serves as an anchor in the community well into the next century,” Bishop Barber said. “Our future graduates will have the corporate experience and rigorous academics to succeed. It is truly ‘education that works.’”

For more information, contact:
Helen Osman, Communications
Diocese of Oakland
2121 Harrison Street, Suite 100