At Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep (CRD), we strive to educate the whole person. We are committed to preparing our students to lead fulfilling lives and to be independent, creative, and ambitious thinkers. Staff and students work within a safe and structured environment where respect and strength of character are modeled by staff and parents, demonstrated by students, and valued by all members of our community.
Our faculty and staff work to inspire students by providing them with a range of student-centered experiences that appeal to their varied skills and interests. We help form students who appreciate the value of knowledge and inquiry and are fervent in their pursuit of both. Thus, we facilitate a journey of self-discovery for each young person, so that intellectual and spiritual growth become hallmarks of his or her life.
CRD provides an inspiring formative education, set within a nurturing environment that enables student exploration and discovery of their best and truest selves. Thus, CRD permits students to fully realize the essential role of faith, culture and good character in constructing a solid foundation for their future.
Created in partnership with our families, our culture of care and accountability forms young women and men of leadership in service to a deeper life with God and a deeper life with one another. This culture will inspire our students to have the confidence to pursue any opportunity available to them and to aspire to service, leadership and active engagement in their community and the wider world.
Guided by our Mission and Academic Vision to prepare students for lives of intellectual and spiritual growth, our graduates will be:
While academic rigor is of the utmost importance at CRD, it is incomplete without substantive character formation. Character traits are one of the biggest predictors of success (Duckworth, 2007), and we endeavor to cultivate these positive character traits in our students through instruction, discussion and reflection. To this end, we integrate character development throughout the student experience, including the classroom, the work study program, and extracurricular activities. CRD accomplishes this integration by helping students develop an appreciation for the importance of character and reinforcing the qualities of a good character.
Good students strive for good character, but what is “good character?” Good character traits and values are universal - they overlap religions, cultures and communities. To ensure the success of our community, we adhere to these universal values and traits and integrate them into all aspects of the school community. In particular, we believe in the power of modeling and teaching a growth mindset (Dweck, 2014). With a growth mindset, our students will (1) believe that their most basic abilities and skills can be developed through hard work and dedication, (2) be more resilient to setbacks, love to learn, and set high standards for themselves and others, and (3) be dependable and honest with one another and aware their needs for spiritual, emotional, and academic support.
Through cultivating students’ inherent good character through our Character Formation Program, we create a positive school culture that inspires every student to achieve personal growth and academic success. This Program takes several forms beyond its integration into daily instruction. For example, small groups of students meet with advisors in a more relaxed, single-sex environment to reflect on their own personal character growth, share joys or concerns at work or in school, and, most importantly, make meaningful connections with each other. In addition, our character education program offers large group presentations from guest speakers, including our CWSP partners, staff, parents, and other community leaders. Finally, our counselors focus on the socio-emotional health of our students and families by offering individualized, solution-focused therapy, support groups, and social services.
Thus, character formation is the lynchpin that will provide our community with a strong foundation as we aspire to shape our students into moral and productive citizens in the 21st century.
Dweck, Carol. Department of Psychology. Stanford University. Web. 24 July 2014.
Duckworth, Angela L. The Duckworth Lab. University of Pennsylvania. 2007. Web. 24 July 2014. [https://sites.sas.upenn.edu/duckworth]
At CRD, maximizing student achievement requires the investment of our faculty and staff in providing the highest quality instruction and support. To this end, we maintain conditions that support teacher and student success. Using high-quality professional development, the CRD faculty strives for excellence and professionalism by introducing and maintaining high standards for academic rigor.
For example, faculty and staff engage in learning opportunities that introduce and develop the best practices for teaching and learning, particularly those that emphasize the importance of student-directed learning rather than students as passive consumers of education. We fulfill our commitment to our students by implementing proven learning strategies to facilitate student-centered instruction. Students learn best when their ideas, skills and experiences are shared and reinforced during instruction.
Our faculty engages students to acquire and organize new knowledge and skills. They work collaboratively to create courses that integrate different academic disciplines and the work study program. Our faculty models a culture of growth and love of learning by observing each other’s instruction and providing feedback. Capitalizing on student knowledge and skills acquired across disciplines, teachers will reinforce students’ prior learning and help them reach their maximum potential. Through this integration, students will develop six lifelong learning behaviors that serve as a foundation for students’ future learning and success in life.
Lifelong Learning Behaviors
At CRD, we are committed to creating a community of lifelong learners. Lifelong learners embark on a path of academic, professional and spiritual growth and serve as a renewing force in our community, our country, and our world.
Lifelong learners exhibit persistence and initiative, collaboration, productivity, precision and accuracy, self-direction, and complex-reasoning strategies. Through classroom instruction, counseling, the work study program, extracurricular activities, and modeling by our faculty and staff, CRD introduces students to these lifelong learning behaviors over the course of their education. CRD provides opportunities to practice and refine these behaviors in academic, professional, and spiritual settings.
Persistence and Initiative
CRD students practice and refine the lifelong learning behaviors of persistence and initiative by asking questions; actively participating in school, the community and professional settings; remaining engaged in tasks when answers are not immediately apparent; and setting a series of goals to accomplish a task.
CRD students practice and refine the lifelong learning behavior of collaboration by working together as a group to solve problems and reconcile differences among group members; creating a positive, innovative environment by encouraging group members to respect and challenge each other; and actively listening to others’ thoughts, concerns and opinions.
CRD students practice and refine the lifelong learning behavior of productivity by practicing effective time management in the classroom, at work, and in the home; organizing their academic, professional, and spiritual lives; developing plans for attaining, and achieving goals; exhibiting an attention to detail in their academic and professional work; and seeking academic, professional and spiritual guidance when needed.
Precision and Accuracy
CRD students practice and refine the lifelong learning behaviors of precision and accuracy by focusing on details, thoughtfully checking their work for errors, learning from their mistakes, and consciously placing themselves in an environment that is conducive to producing high-quality work.
CRD students practice and refine the lifelong learning behavior of self-direction by consciously reflecting on the vision they have for themselves via asking hard questions, working with mentors who push them, taking on leadership opportunities within the school community, and defining success on their own terms.
Complex Reasoning Strategies
CRD students practice and refine the lifelong learning behavior of complex reasoning skills by exploring multiple angles of problems, applying existing knowledge and skills to unfamiliar problems, breaking down challenges into smaller pieces, and considering different approaches to tasks.
We recognize that mastery of these lifelong learning behaviors is, in itself, a lifelong learning process, and we strive to encourage our students to employ a growth mindset to the development of these behaviors. Our students’ active exposure to and refinement of these lifelong learning behaviors, however, creates the foundation of skills and knowledge continual academic, professional, and spiritual growth.
Faith and our Spiritual Journey
CRD is a Catholic school formed in the shared mission of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Education empowers us to “reach the fullness of [our] potential as individuals created in God’s image and assisting them to direct their gifts toward building the earth” (Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame). Our faith is the foundation of a mission that welcomes and includes individuals of all faiths and backgrounds. CRD is a place of personal discovery for students, faculty, staff, and the wider community where everyone strives to become his or her best self. We challenge each other to grow spiritually through daily prayer, reflection and devotion and by giving graciously of ourselves. At CRD, we encourage students to joyfully share the gifts and talents discovered here for the betterment of this community and the wider world.
We foster a culture of graciousness and spiritual growth through our dynamic retreat program, our communal worship, and our moral instruction. On a daily basis, our faculty and staff commit themselves to being open and honest witnesses of faith and to encouraging our students to be witnesses to one another, their families, and the community. Our call to service, gracious self-gift, and thoughtful reception of others’ gifts enliven our CRD community and drive our dedication to outreach within our school, community and world. At CRD, we know that our gifts and talents are truly realized when we share them with this community and the world.