An expanded model has been implemented at Cristo Rey Boston, offering students the knowledge that resources, and mentorship will not end at graduation. As part of a national initiative from the Cristo Rey Network focused on student persistency in college, Cristo Rey Boston has made some key personnel changes that support student success.
Under the leadership of Ms. Debbie Rateau, Director of College Counseling, students, and families focus on the college process all four years. With a defined curriculum for each year, Ms. Rateau and Mr. Phil Coleman ensure that students and families have the information to make informed decisions regarding college by spring of senior year. The overarching goal for each student is to help them find a “right fit” college that will support them in completing their degree and not leave them overwhelmed with debt.
However, both Cristo Rey Boston and the Cristo Rey Network understand that there are unique challenges that impact students from under-resourced communities that can potentially derail aspirational students working towards a college degree. This could include the need for greater financial aid, a family crisis that required the students to earn income to support the family, and the lack of understanding about how to effectively use the resources offered by a college. Hence the push from the network for schools to focus on post-graduation support.
As a result, Mr. Freddy Mata-Bueso will move from his current position as Director of Admissions to a full-time position of Director of Alumni relations. A previous role in the Boston Public Schools in the higher education resource center gives Mr. Mata-Bueso the opportunity to combine professional and personal life experiences into this new role. A graduate of Cristo Rey Boston with a degree from Boston University, his journey models the path that so many families look to achieve for their own students.
Working to develop strong relationships with colleges, Mr. Mata-Bueso will interface with colleges on students' behalf. Knowing that many families are unfamiliar with how post-secondary institutions work, he will act as a much-needed resource. His primary focus will be on college persistency, helping students navigate situations that threaten to derail their education. Looking ahead, he is interested in building a strong alumni network where former students who are established in their careers are the conduit for the next generation of talent.
Ms. Ana Mendez has been hired to step into the Director of Admissions position, working alongside Nancy Robinson in the Admissions office. Ms. Mendez has walked in the shoes of many CRB students, at an early age understanding that the path to success was via her education. Ana is a first-generation student herself, a graduate of Boston Latin School and U/Mass Amherst. Her goal is to reach deep into the communities we serve and help people recognize that Cristo Rey Boston is a viable, tuition-free alternative, offering a high school education focused on college and career preparation for students who demonstrate desire and the skill set to achieve.
It is a powerful model being implemented in the 38 Cristo Rey Network schools across the country, designed to guide students and families from middle school through adulthood. The arc of care, from Admissions with Ms. Mendez, college preparation with Ms. Rateau to post CRB with Mr. Mata-Bueso has been designed to remove institutional barriers in the way of student success.