A new Catholic high school geared toward low income students will open in Oklahoma City in the fall of 2017. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced Thursday that the new Cristo Rey school will be located on Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma City campus.
The Cristo Rey model heavily uses work-study. All students work at a partner corporation one day a week.
Renee Alvarado Porter will be the school’s president. She says despite the time devoted the work-story, students will still spend the same amount of time in class as at other schools.
“What we’ll do is we have longer school days, and the school year as well will be extended. There are still a certain number of days that are required that a student has to be in class,” Porter says.
Tuition at the school will be approximately $14,000 dollars per year. The students’ work-study covers about 60 percent of the cost. Families will contribute about 10 percent on average, and the remainder of the tuition will come from other sources.
The Oklahoma City school will join 32 other Cristo Rey schools throughout the country.
“The Cristo Rey network applied for and has an exemption from the Department of Labor to allow our students to begin to work at age 14. And so it’s all part of what the network has done really to make the model functional and feasible from the very beginning,” Porter says.
The school will start next year with a freshman class of 125 students. Within four year, it will grow to 500 and serve grades nine through twelve.
Archbishop Paul Coakley says the Oklahoma City school will have a certain degree of autonomy within the Cristo Rey network.
“We’ll have our own board with local membership and there will be membership on the board obviously from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City as well as other interested persons,” Coakley says. “It’s going to have a very local flavor even though it’s part of a national network.”
The school is designed to exclusively serve low income students and provide them with a college prep education. A family of four must earn less than $34,000 per year in order to qualify. Students must be eligible to work.
The school has over 30 corporate sponsors that will participate in the work-study program.
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