Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Catholic School Program Preps Minority Applicants

The small number of Latino and black students admitted to the elite high schools of the New York City public school system has been a source of frustration among civil rights leaders, families and other advocates for years. 

Admission to the top schools such as Stuyvesant is based on an exam. But a new story in The Wall Street Journal asserts that the pipeline of well-prepared minority students could be strengthened through enrichment programs. 

A Roman Catholic Jesuit school for boys in New York, Regis High School, has created a three-year program called Recruiting Excellence in Academics for Catholic High Schools (REACH). The program identifies talented boys and provides them with academic enrichment to prepare them for admission to the high school. According to the story, about one-third of the 40 boys who enter the program in fifth-grade are eventually admitted to the high school. 

“Rather than lowering standards, you’re bringing kids up to meet these standards,” admissions director Eric DiMichele told the newspaper

According to the Journal, the freshman class at Regis this year will be about 19 percent Latino and 4 percent black. About 15 students are being admitted from the REACH program.

The Journal article makes a good point about one option for opening doors for Latino and black students. But is the scale of impact for the REACH program large enough? Though it may seem small, the school says it spends about $3,000 on each REACH student. 

What sorts of diversity efforts are private schools in your community engaging in?