Cristo Rey Brooklyn is a Catholic high school partnering with families of all creeds to educate deserving young people from underserved communities to become men and women of faith, purpose and service. By integrating a rigorous curriculum, a unique work-study experience and the support of an inclusive school community, we enable students to succeed in college and beyond with the values essential to a fulfilling life.
To be considered one of the best high schools in New York as measured by academic growth and achievement, graduation rates and college success. Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School alumni will be recognized as lifelong learners, inspirational community and professional leaders, and committed to a purpose beyond self.
Statement of Philosophy & Mission Principles
We are driven by the principle that all children regardless of race, color, creed or economic circumstance are entitled to the opportunity to pursue and fully realize their God given potential, while serving others and contributing to society.
As a Roman Catholic educational institution, a member of the national Cristo Rey Network since 2008, one endorsed by the Sisters of Mercy and an institution exclusively educating historically underserved families of all faiths within the Brooklyn Diocese and beyond, we are inspired by the words in the first chapter in the first book of the Bible that “God created man and woman in his image”, that every human life is sacred and that the dignity of the individual is the foundation of a moral vision for society.
We are profoundly grateful to live in a country whose national “birth certificate”, the Declaration of Independence, articulates these fundamental values when it asserts “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness".
However, we also understand that a critical challenge of the American story has been to ensure those fundamental principles exist not just as aspirational ideals or rights enjoyed by a portion of its citizens, but as a reality for all Americans. Therefore, Dr. King’s dream of some sixty years ago, that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," is not an aspiration at Cristo Rey Brooklyn HS, but an expectation.
We believe a precondition to achieving this dream is educational opportunity and achievement. This mission promises no immediate gratification. It rarely captures headlines. It is more grit than glory. The ultimate fruits of our labor may not be seen for years. But if in concert with our young people and their guardians, we together commit to this common purpose, then positive, even transformational, outcomes are almost guaranteed.
The Cristo Rey educational model, constructed upon a foundation of high expectations, academic rigor, core spiritual and personal values, experiential work study, an intensely supportive and loving community and aligned objectives and shared responsibility among students, families, staff, board and supporters comes as close, if not closer, than any other system to fulfilling this ambition. It deserves to be nurtured, cultivated and emulated.
Our students are capable of great things and prove it daily. We do not coddle, patronize, condescend or traffic in the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” At the same time, many of our young people, for reasons largely beyond their control and notwithstanding the sacrifice and commitment of their families, come to us not having enjoyed the same educational access and resources as many of their peers. Our calling is to close this “Opportunity Gap”.
We are called to create the conditions for students to engage with many points of view through intellectually rigorous, morally informed civil discourse. We don’t tell our students what to think; we train them how to think and how to discern with an informed conscience.
Initially a provisional member of the national Cristo Rey Network, Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School opened to 43 freshmen students in September 2008 as Lourdes Academy High School in the 100 year old, former Our Lady of Lourdes elementary school building in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. In 2011, the school was rechristened Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School and in 2012, achieved full membership in the Cristo Rey Network.
In 2013, after five years in our initial home, we moved to the former Catherine McAuley High School in East Flatbush. A full fledged high school facility, our current home, provides us with the capacity to grow enrollment and offer numerous programs and resources lacking in our previous location.
In May 2018, after a two-year accreditation review period, CRBHS achieved full accreditation from the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). NYSAIS is a voluntary association of nearly 200 independent schools that share a common goal of promoting the independence, well-being and public understanding of, and respect for, New York independent schools and serves as an accrediting body chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. In 2020, the NYSAIS Board of Trustees voted to extend our accreditation term by a full four years, to June 30, 2024. This ground-breaking milestone is one of CRB’s highest achievements to date and demonstrate our progress towards fulfilling our Mission and realizing our Vision to provide a high quality, independent college prep education to young people from Brooklyn and surrounding communities who otherwise could not access one.
With the support of the Cristo Rey Network, our religious endorser, the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy, Diocese of Brooklyn and hundreds of work study partners and supporters, Cristo Rey Brooklyn today serves 300 students and claims close to 600 graduates.