The REACH Program at Regis High (NY)

Regis High School (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Regis High School, one of three Jesuit high schools in Manhattan (and one of six total in New York), is the subject of a Wall Street Journal article today detailing Regis's effort to make the school more available for minority and lower-income students.

The WSJ (subscription only) notes: "Every year, Regis High School picks about 40 fifth-grade Catholic boys with promise for an intensive boot camp that includes four years of summer school, plus Saturday classes every fall and spring. At the end, usually about a third of them have the grades, test scores and commitment to get seats at Regis."

Advertisement

Regis developed the program after realizing that too many students were unprepared for the school's high demands. 

The school was endowed a century ago to offer a free Jesuit education to poor and immigrant boys, but the closure of many Catholic elementary schools over the years hurt the pipeline of well-prepared eighth-graders.
 

In 2002, Regis set up a three-year program called REACH—Recruiting Excellence in Academics for Catholic High Schools—to develop the potential of low-income middle schoolers.

"The farm system was drying up," said admissions director Eric DiMichele. "Rather than lowering standards, you're bringing kids up to meet these standards."

Several students in REACH said its focus on achievement got them thinking more seriously about college and their futures.

One is Uziel Dominguez, the 13-year-old son of a nanny and a deli worker. Now, he hands his phone to his mother when he tackles homework.

Regis's REACH program, or something like it, is probably going to become more common as Catholic high schools continue to struggle with inadequate public schools and the closure of Catholic grade schools. Brophy College Preparatory, the Jesuit high school in Phoenix (of which I am a proud alum), recently opened a middle school to accomplish similar objectives to those of Regis. It's called the Loyola Academy, and it's been a great success.  

Those of us in Catholic education must continue to innovate and find similar programs, keeping these questions front and center: How do we make an excellent education, particularly one rooted in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition, more available and affordable? In addition to Regis and Brophy, what are some other models out there?  

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
J Cosgrove
4 years 5 months ago
The Christian Brothers have a program for middle school age kids, mostly boys since that is what the Christian Brothers mission is. There are several San Miguel schools in the US but unfortunately they are having financial problems keeping some of them open. Also there is much more of a strain on Christian Brother vocations than for the priesthood which means it is really bad. I have been to a couple of their schools and they do a good job but it is just a finger in the dike. Much more is needed just at the time where Catholics are mostly drifting away from the Church.

Advertisement

The latest from america

This year’s W.Y.D takes place less than three months after the conclusion of the Synod for Young People that was held in the Vatican last October.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 21, 2019
On Jan. 18, a teenager wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, center left, stands in front of an elderly Native American singing and playing a drum in Washington. (Survival Media Agency via AP)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- An exchange between Catholic high school students and a Native American tribal leader in Washington Jan.

Like most public writers, I was used to getting notes that were crude, crazy or even mildly threatening. Normally, I would say a quick prayer for these obviously troubled people and get on with my day. This time it felt different, precisely because the author wasn’t insulting or obviously deranged.
Rachel LuJanuary 21, 2019
In cities across the country, local activists marched in support of a progressive agenda centered on economic justice, racial justice and immigrant rights.
Brandon SanchezJanuary 20, 2019