Collaborative Education

Sarah Grossman:

At a time when many U.S. schools are failing students of color, one school stands out as an unusual success.

St. Benedict’s Prep, an all-boys preparatory school in Newark, has a graduation rate of 98 percent, compared to a national rate of 82 percent.

But when you realize that the majority of St. Benedict’s students are low-income male students of color, the numbers become groundbreaking. Nationwide around one in four black, Latino and low-income students does not graduate high school, according to the Department of Education.

So how did a school in Newark, run by Benedictine monks, manage to break the mold and graduate almost 100 percent of its low-income students of color?…

“Counselors in most schools are just making sure kids have the right classes,” Father Edwin said. “We have a counseling center with two psychologists, and interns who are PhD or Master’s candidates in school counseling, and four to five different group sessions a week.”

The group sessions are catered to students in specific adverse situations, Fr. Edwin said. The “Blues Boys” is for students who suffer from depression; “Unknown Sons” is for those who don’t have a relationship with their father; “Anger Management” is for those dealing with emotional control issues.

“It works, I can tell you that,” Fr. Edwin said. “It’s about not giving up on yourself. You may fall on your back several times, but you can figure out a way.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.