Dear St. Francis de Sales Community,
As spring is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with an update on our progress toward implementing a Work Study program at St. Francis de Sales High School in the fall of 2020.
As you may recall, we formed an exploratory committee over a year ago with representatives from Big Shoulders Fund, the Archdiocese of Chicago, and St. Francis de Sales High School to discuss the potential for the school to initiate a Work Study program, in which student education would be supplemented by real-world experience in local businesses.
The committee spent the better part of the last year talking to community members, businesses, families, area elementary schools, and alumni to understand their interest in and the potential for a Work Study program. The response and enthusiasm for the program have been overwhelmingly positive.
In Work Study, students obtain a quality, college prep education while developing real world job skills by working one day per week. A Work Study program will provide our students with a tremendous opportunity to gain valuable college and career skills and life experiences.
As we proceed to implement Work Study for the 2020-21 school year, we want to keep you up to date on how our work is proceeding:
In the last few months, more jobs have been secured and we currently have over ten job partners committed to supporting the Work Study Program. The work to secure the jobs necessary to support Work Study is being lead by a committee of community leaders including two SFDS alumni John Czulno and Mike Zunica, former Alderman Ed Vrdolyak, and others. Director of Business Development, Mike Dooley is actively working with our jobs committee on expanding these partnerships. Please contact Mike at 773-401-9810 for more information.
We have also established an Academic Committee that is working to structure school programming to ensure that the curricular content and instructional time best serve students’ academic needs. Serving on this committee are numerous academic leaders from both the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Big Shoulders Fund.
In preparation for the Work Study program, we are adjusting schedules sligthly for the 2019-20 school year to offer entry college-level courses in concert with St. Xavier University to our Junior and Senior students.
We continue to meet bi-weekly with Big Shoulders and the Archdiocese to structure the Work Study program so that it ensures success for our students in the workplace, at school and in life.
We will be spending the next few months continuing to build our job partners and working to meet our goal to begin the Work Study Program in the fall of 2020. We will keep you updated throughout the spring and summer.
If you want to discuss or need more information please reach out to me. We truly believe the Work Study Program will transform the lives of our students, preparing them for success in college and in life.
WORK STUDY December 2018 Update: St. Francis de Sales continues to move forward on the Work Study Initiative. Below is a summary of our work to date. If you have an questions, please reach out to Principal John Kimec at 773-731-7272.
A committee including representatives from St. Francis de Sales High School, Big Shoulders Fund and the Archdiocese of Chicago have diligently worked over the last year to evaluate the potential for a Work Study program at St. Francis de Sales High School.
The committee put together a feasibility study summarizing the year of work and the findings. Feedback has been very positive from current students and families, prospects and the community and there has been strong interest and commitments from potential employers to support a Work Study program at St. Francis de Sales High School. The findings from the feasibility study were shared with decision makers at the Office of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago and with Big Shoulders Fund.
Based on the study, including the support of employers and the community, the Office of Catholic Schools and Big Shoulders Fund are supportive of moving forward in the Work Study planning process to establish a relationship with an independent entity that will operate and manage the Work Study program at St. Francis de Sales. Once this happens, the Archdiocese and Big Shoulders expect to begin steps toward full implementation. The school plans to announce next steps this spring and to commence a Work Study program at St. Francis de Sales in the fall of 2020.
People often ask us: What is Work Study? In a few brief paragraphs, here is the answer:
In a Work Study Program, a group of high school students is put into a job-sharing team where they work once every four days at a local business from 8:30am-4:30pm. The students’ academic schedules are modified so that four students share one full-time entry-level job without missing academic class time – the students attend the same number of instructional hours as in a traditional school setting.
A Work Study Program provides students a tremendous access to opportunity – not only the opportunity to afford a private/Catholic high school that prepares them to attend and succeed at great universities, but also the opportunity to gain valuable life and work experiences in a professional setting. Students take ownership of a quality, college prep education while developing real world job skills. These experiences have been shown to help student achievement, and colleges have shown great interest in this experience as a differentiator in admissions decisions.
Work Study Programs began in 1996 with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School on the Southwest Side of Chicago and now serve more than 30 other schools around the country. Payment from employers for the effort of the job sharing team offsets a portion of the cost to educate the students. There are hundreds of work-study students working in and around Chicago each weekday.
You can read much more by linking to our Frequently Asked Questions!
But we don’t want to bring Work Study to St. Francis de Sales unless our community supports the model, so your input is welcomed!
We need your input!
We need your input. Please take 3 minutes to complete this survey (en español) and share your thoughts on Work Study with us. If you have any questions, please call Principal John Kimec at 773-731-7272. Our survey can be found here! Thank you.
April 2018 Work Study Feasibility Study -- What we have been doing to date!
“St. Francis de Sales High School has resided in the 10th Ward for nearly 80 years educating students from all economic backgrounds in search of a Catholic Education. St. Francis de Sales complements the other strong schools in our community. I am excited to learn that St. Francis de Sales is considering a Work Study program. Work Study programs benefit both students and businesses. The 10th Ward is a vibrant community and we want St. Francis de Sales to be part of our community for years to come. I encourage businesses and families to learn more about Work Study and share their feedback with the school.”
Susan Sadowski Garza, 10th Ward Alderwoman
Work Study Jobs Committee Comes Together!
A group of SFDS supporters and community leaders have come together to advance our feasibility study. We are grateful to the “Jobs” Committee including:
John Czulno, SFDS Alumni and President, Naylor Pipe
Mike Dooley, Director of Business Development SFDS Work Study Program
Richard Dunlap, VP Business Development, Thoroughbred Trading
Tom Flanagan, Retired Executive
Dr. Michael Liptay, Rush University Medical Center
John Pope, Former Alderman
Ed Vrydolyak, Former Alderman
Mike Zunica, SFDS Alumni and President of St. Rita
The committee is working hard to engage with local businesses to evaluate their interest in hosting a job staffed by St. Francis de Sales students beginning in the fall of 2019. They also would like your feedback! To share comments or offer suggestions, or to join the committee, contact any committee member or reach out to Director of Business Development, Mike Dooley at the contact information below.
We’re excited to share that to date three companies have committed to supporting the jobs program. They are Naylor Pipe, Apple Chevrolet and Stockyard Bricks. Thank you!
This April, we are meeting with the Calumet Area Industrial Commission to better understand the needs of local businesses and to get their input on Work Study.
If you have questions or ideas to share, or know of local businesses we should be engaging, contact Mike Dooley, Director of Business Development at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 773- 401-9810
Community Outreach Update
Thank you to Bridget de la Peña and the Archdiocese, we were able to meet with most principals from Council 11 and Council 12 on March 14th and 15th. They asked good questions, were helpful in providing feedback, and offered to share information with their schools
We are now working to schedule a series of community meetings during the next few months at some of these schools and surrounding Parishes.
In the mean time, we want to hear from you! Please share your comments on our anonymous Google form here.
More information can be found here: https://www.sfdshs.org/work-study/. As we proceed with the study, we will share communication updates monthly.
We leave you with this thought from Mike Zunica, SFDS ’81 and President of St. Rita High School, who shares our belief that a Catholic education can change lives:
I believe the greatest gift someone can give to their child is a Catholic education. I still value and cherish my experience at St. Francis de Sales. With Catholic education and its affordability at a crossroads I was thrilled to hear that SFDS has a plan to survive and thrive. A feasibility study is now underway to determine whether or not a Work Study program [Christo Rey model] could help make that "greatest gift" a reality to those in need. I am excited to join the committee and to assist in ensuring a bright future to SFDS.
Mike Zunica SFDS 1981 and President of St Rita HS
We are excited to announce that St. Francis de Sales High School is launching a feasibility study to explore a possible new program here at de Sales! We are presently working with our partners and largest funder, Big Shoulders Fund and the Archdiocese of Chicago to determine the benefits of and potential for the possible addition of a Work-study model to our curriculum for the 2019-2020 School year...just in time for our 80th Anniversary! The Work Study model was pioneered 20 years ago in Chicago by the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School.
We will continue to update our process as we move through the process. Read more information on the Feasibility Study and the Work-Study model here.
Contact John Kimec at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to share any comments or feedback you have during this process.