Literacy and retention are crucial themes in the Cristo Rey Network. But a shout-out to CRSM teachers Sarah Morley and Stefanie Goy who traveled to L.A. in early January to present the innovative student support program they have created to network principals gathered at their mid-year meeting. The duo gave an overview of their Room 120 program that merges Academic Assistance and Literacy Support as part of the principals’ conversations on retention for network schools.
“I was was deeply impressed—“wowed” is what I really want to write—by the experience of witnessing our academic leaders actively engaged together in advancing their understanding and effectiveness,” Jane E. Genster President and Chief Executive Officer wrote in the weekly CRN message. “The quality of the presentations; the depth of focus in each area; the wise, creative and generous responses of our principals to their colleagues; and the manifest commitment to confronting each of these challenging issues head-on all suggest the vibrance — and the enormous promise and potential — of the Cristo Rey Network.”
One of the reasons CRSM has such a high retention rate is because of the support students get from program like the one these teachers provide. Preston Kendall, CRSM President, said he has received more than a dozen calls from presidents, principals and network staff “telling me how talented and professional they were. None of us are surprised at such effusive praise.”
For teachers Sarah and Stefanie, the 24-hour trek to the 60-70 temps in Southern California was a nice break from bitter January in Waukegan. “It was an awesome experience,” said Sarah. “A couple of the principals said they want to come out to visit and observe and many others asked for information. When you’re involved in the day-to-day, it’s not always easy to realize the impact you are making. But we learned how very important our work is and it was a good refresher for what we do.”
Despite their short overnight stay, the teachers were able to squeeze in a trip to a couple Hollywood legends – Pink’s Hot Dogs and the Hollywood sign, along with a stroll along the Venice Beach Board Walk. And, they met couple Megan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills 90210 fame) and their baby boy at LAX.
“We got a lot of support from Mike (Odiotti), principal, and Marlene (Eby), assistant principal, and students were emailing us that they missed us,” said Sarah.