Our Mission

Cristo Rey Richmond High School is a Catholic learning community that educates young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service.  Through a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, integrated with a relevant work study experience, students graduate ready to succeed in college and in life. 

Cristo Rey Richmond High School is a part of the largest network of high schools in the country that exclusively serve youth with limited economic means. As a part of the Cristo Rey Network, Cristo Rey schools adhere to a set of Mission Effectiveness Standards to protect the integrity of the model and articulate the shared mission.


The Mission Effectiveness Standards articulate the shared mission and identity of the Cristo Rey Network of schools. Taken as a whole, these Standards establish the intent to which schools agree to operate, and by which they can fulfill their mission and empower students to succeed in college and life as productive, faith-filled individuals.

Standard One: A Cristo Rey school is explicitly Catholic in mission and enjoys Church approval. 

  1. The school meets the requirements of its religious sponsoring body in areas such as religious identity and mission; community atmosphere; faculty, staff, and board formation; and programs of religious education, worship, retreats, and community service.
  2. The school incorporates the cultural traditions and customs of the student body into the celebration of faith.
  3. The school has in place personnel, processes, and programs such that the school is religiously vibrant, marked by its faith-identity in all aspects of the school’s life.
  4. The school incorporates the primary elements of the Cristo Rey Network faith formation document into its religious and faith formation programs.  

Standard Two: A Cristo Rey school serves only students with limited economic resources and is open to students of various faiths and cultures. 

  1. All accepted applicants to a Cristo Rey school must complete an income verification process that uses shared Network guidelines and that incorporates most recently filed tax records, family size, and other relevant financial information. This verification may be either fully conducted by a third-party organization or conducted by the school and randomly audited by a Network-approved third-party to ensure consistent verification practices. The school annually shares the student income information with the Network.
  2. Through its admissions process, the school continually renews its commitment to the marginalized by diligently seeking students from economically disadvantaged families and neighborhoods. While recognizing the occasional need for presidential discretion in extenuating family circumstances, schools recruit students who are eligible for the federal free or reduced lunch program, targeting at least two-thirds of each admitted 9th grade class to have family income below the free and reduced lunch guidelines, set at 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and updated annually. Each school also maintains an admissions policy such that all incoming students have a family income that falls below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for identified schools located in cities for which the local median household income is higher than the national median, as annually updated by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. Beyond the revenue generated by the Corporate Work Study Program, the school provides financial aid to families based on a sliding assessment of ability to pay, while maintaining a policy that every student must pay something.

Standard Three: A Cristo Rey school is family centered and plays an active role in the local community.

  1. The school communicates with parents to help them understand the school’s mission, operations, benefits, and challenges of the academic and work-study program during admissions and freshman orientation.
  2. The school communicates consistently with parents to bring them into the process of their student’s learning and growth.
  3. The school makes a determined effort to fill administrative and faculty positions with qualified people who are culturally sensitive and, as much as possible, reflect the racial, linguistic and cultural identities of the student population.
  4. Through its outreach, the school establishes itself as an active participant in the improvement of the surrounding community and shares programs, resources, and facilities.

Standard Four: A Cristo Rey school prepares all its students to enter and graduate from college.

  1. The school implements a comprehensive college-ready curriculum, designed for a high level of student engagement in learning, learning that is sufficiently rigorous to prepare every student for college and career success. The faculty is committed to and has planned for systematic implementation of the curriculum.
  2. The school’s curriculum and instructional practices are also designed to provide the foundation for eventual post-graduate success.
  3. The faculty demonstrates commitment to regular and effective use of evidence-based instructional strategies with a high probability of maximizing student achievement.
  4. The school provides students with a variety of intervention structures necessary to succeed in a college preparatory curriculum, e.g. bridge programs, tutorial programs, etc.
  5. The faculty meets the individual needs of student learners.
  6. A variety of relevant assessments (e.g. ACT College and Career Readiness System, curriculum-aligned formative and summative assessments, diagnostic assessments) are used to inform classroom instruction and to plan for improvements in student achievement.
  7. The school closely examines student retention data and actively works to increase student retention.
  8. The school obtains and maintains accreditation by the recognized regional high school accrediting association and meets the state graduation requirements. 

Standard Five: A Cristo Rey school requires participation by all students in the Corporate Work Study program.

  1. All students must be 14 years old and legally authorized to work by their first day of work.
  2. The Corporate Work Study Program structures its job portfolio to ensure that at least 90% of students are working in paid or funded jobs and at least 80% of students are working in jobs paid for by the organization where they work. Because paid CWSP jobs provide students with the strongest opportunities to build social capital, professional skills and life-long professional relationships, schools strive to maximize the experience of all students in organization-funded positions.
  3. The Corporate Work Study Program is conducted as a business and is subsequently attentive to the needs and expectations of the school’s corporate clients.
  4. A yearly fee for the students’ work appropriate to the going market rate for a full-time salary and benefits is charged to corporate sponsors, representing a business expense, not a charitable contribution to the school.
  5. The Corporate Work Study Program sets, reviews, and maintains its FTE job price according to local market conditions, based on a range of sample annual mean wage salaries for positions within the school’s metropolitan area that most closely resemble the work students perform,. The school applies an increased adjustment of 25% – 40% for taxes and benefits and a decreased adjustment of 75% to account for the total number of work days. See most recent Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report (Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates).
  6. The Corporate Work Study Program strives to maintain its job price in accordance with local Consumer Price Index (CPI) changes.
  7. The Corporate Work Study program strives to retain at least 90% of paying and funded jobs from one year to the next.
  8. The Corporate Work Study Program contracts with non-profit, non-paying organizations to serve the local community and to provide students with exposure to the non-profit world. The school targets placing no more than 10% of students in these positions.
  9. The Corporate Work Study Program properly trains students for the workplace and provides sufficient guidance and assessment throughout the school year.
  10. Site supervisors and school staff evaluate students’ performance in the work program using a common Cristo Rey Network form, at least twice a year. Performance data is shared annually among the schools.
  11. Directors of the Corporate Work Study program participate in the ongoing cross-selling initiatives among work-study directors throughout the country.

Standard Six: A Cristo Rey school integrates the learning present in its work program, classroom and extracurricular experiences.

  1. As a Catholic institution focused on educating the whole student, the school recognizes that its work and academic programs are interdependent and interconnected. At the school’s very foundation is the conviction that work and academics enhance one another for the benefit of the students, the sponsors, the teachers and the community.
  2. The school makes certain that all faculty and staff understand they have a stake in the success of the work program. All strategies and programs related to integration respect the sensitivities of the work situation. The school assumes the added workload and effort necessary for integration.
  3. The school maintains equally high standards and expectations for students at school and work.
  4. Students receive academic credit for the Corporate Work Study program, as arranged with the local accrediting agency.
  5. Both the Academic and Corporate Work Study staff select and retain and, if necessary, dismiss students based on academic and/or workplace performance.

Standard Seven: A Cristo Rey school has effective administrative and board structures and complies with applicable state and federal laws.

  1. The school’s Board includes religious, community, business, and educational leaders, is appropriately trained, understands its responsibilities and role in the school, and supports and understands the school’s mission and programs.
  2. A Cristo Rey school, while always following the requirements of its religious sponsor, has elements of independent governance that promote Board members taking an active role in the school’s success.
  3. The Governing Board performs a regular self-evaluation.
  4. The Governing Board annually evaluates the performance of the President.
  5. The school is staffed appropriately to ensure the effective education and formation of the student body – minimally including the following separate positions: President, Principal, Work Study Director and Development Director.
  6. The school designs and implements a compensation structure that is supportive of quality performance.
  7. The school’s internal accounting system is appropriately managed, and the school and work-study program undergo an independent audit each year.
  8. The school complies with all applicable state and federal laws, including immigration, labor and not-for-profit tax laws.

Standard Eight:A Cristo Rey school is financially sound.

  1. A Cristo Rey school is not tuition driven. At full enrollment, collected average income from family contributions will not exceed 15% of operating expenses.
  2. A Cristo Rey School consistently raises sufficient operating income through CWSP, vouchers, tax credits, investment income and traditional fundraising to cover the remainder of its annual operating costs.
  3. At full enrollment, a Cristo Rey school has a minimum of 350 students and a maximum of 600 students, unless otherwise agreed as a condition of membership.
  4. The school develops a multi-year budget model to anticipate future needs and trends and reviews it at least once a year to ensure that the school is financially sound and sustainable.
  5. Each school will have a cash reserve on hand equal to six months’ operating expenses.
  6. The school effectively tells its story and promotes raising funds from the larger community.

Standard Nine: A Cristo Rey School supports all students in accessing and persisting through colleges that match their achievements, needs, and ambitions.

  1. A Cristo Rey school generates a pervasive college-going culture of high expectations, reflected by its traditions, norms, events, physical environment, curriculum, and consistent messaging by all staff to its students and families.
  2. A Cristo Rey school appropriately structures a counselor-led, comprehensive college counseling program for grades 9-12 that leverages Network resources and benchmarks, maintains a strong and explicit focus on four-year colleges, and includes the following staples of a sound program:
    • Protected time for college counseling throughout all four years to provide instruction on the primary levers of college completion
    • Sufficient, qualified college counseling staff at a maximum of a 250:1 student to counselor ratio
    • Multiple opportunities for exposure to college campuses and representatives throughout all four years
    • Opportunities for family engagement throughout all four years
    • A data-driven approach to conducting college research leveraging technology and best practices in college list development to ensure a list targeting high-prospect and best fit schools for all students
    • Efficient and effective systems to manage the complexities of college application and financial aid, including software for tracking applications, established policies and protocols for financial aid application completion, etc. (applicable to schools with 11th and 12th graders)
    • Utilization of alumni data to continuously refine the college counseling program (applicable to schools with graduates)
  3. A Cristo Rey school has staff and resources in place to track, support, and engage graduates through:
    • Protected time to prepare seniors for the college transition (applicable to schools with 12th graders)
    • Prioritization of graduates at risk for non-persistence (applicable to schools with graduates) 8
    • Systems for communication and problem-solving with graduates (applicable to schools with graduates)
  4. A Cristo Rey school establishes a robust network of advocates at local and national colleges and universities to ensure students’ access, resources, and on-campus supports.

Standard Ten: A Cristo Rey school is an active participant in the Cristo Rey Network.

  1. The school is operating in accordance with the results and plans outlined in the Feasibility Study.
  2. The school participates in the various conferences and gatherings for the Cristo Rey Network.
  3. A Cristo Rey school benchmarks itself against other Network schools, paying particular attention to schools with similar enrollments, demographics, and years of operation.
  4. The school shares its learning and expertise with other Network schools.
  5. The school participates in the Network support and assessment processes, such as the Mission Effectiveness Review Process and the yearly Annual Data Report collection. Cristo Rey Network Mission Effectiveness Reviews The assessment process is meant to be a peer-to-peer review that relies heavily on a school’s own self-assessment to guide the organization on a path of continued improvement and success within the framework of these Mission Effectiveness Standards. Mutual accountability among schools maintains and strengthens our shared brand as the Cristo Rey Network of schools and fosters the sharing of best practices and continued innovation among schools. This process takes into account that each school differs from the others and may have alternate ways of addressing our Standards. Also, schools typically participate in the activities of accrediting agencies and are often reviewed by sponsoring religious congregations and dioceses. Assessment of these standards is meant to complement this ongoing work on the part of the schools rather than duplicate it.
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