High School Transition and Persistence

College Persistence Counselors help our students navigate a complex high school landscape, choose a best-fit high school and provide support through graduation.

Overview

We offer proven guidance about quality education choices so that students can make informed decisions and access best-fit high schools that will support their academic growth, leading to more post-secondary opportunities.

During 8th grade, College-Persistence (CP) Counselors work with students and families one-on-one, in weekly classes and through workshops to find their best-fit high school.

Throughout high school, College-Persistence counselors:

  • Are in active contact with alumni at minimum every six weeks
  • Make annual on-site visits at each alumnus’ high school
  • Offer tutoring and advocacy when needed
  • Provide trauma-informed care when needed
  • Facilitate summer enrichment and job opportunities

How does CJA help students prepare for the transition to high school?

  • Weekly Classes: Starting in 7th grade, students attend weekly courses with guidance in researching schools, preparing for high school applications, entrance exams and scholarship applications. In 8th grade, College-Persistence class focuses on completing high school and scholarship applications, developing organizational skills, goal setting and building a foundation to help students access the resources at their high schools.
  • One-on-One Counseling: Students and families meet with their CP Counselors separately to help guide them to their best-fit high school.
  • Summer Bridge: The summer after 8th-grade graduation, alumni are invited to our High School Bridge Workshop: a full-day seminar which includes goal setting as well as discussions on course selection, extracurricular activities, healthy relationships, identifying resources on campus and building strong study skills and strategies.

What support does CJA provide alumni during high school?

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  • Frequent Contact: College-Persistence counselors are in frequent contact with alumni throughout high school with the goal of having meaningful communication with each alumnus either in person, on the phone or via an email every 6 weeks and often more frequently.
  • In-Person Meetings: Alumni are always welcomed back to CJA’s campus to visit their counselors in person. Most days of the week, there are alumni visiting CJA!
  • High School Visits: Once a year, CP Counselors visit each alumnus at their respective high school. This allows our counselors to build relationships with staff and counselors at the high schools our alumni attend and to evaluate whether or not these schools continue to be a good fit.
  • Ongoing Advocacy: CP Counselors work with each alumnus’ school to help ensure students are heard and have what they need to succeed. If an alumnus needs to transfer high schools, CP Counselors help with that transition.
  • Academic Support: CP Counselors provide one-on-one tutoring and help students create study and remediation plans as needed.
  • SAT/ACT Prep and Testing: The CP team ensures that high school juniors are taking SAT prep classes and offers resources for students to improve their scores.
  • Open Gym: One Saturday per month (outside of the pandemic) CJA’s gym is open for alumni to gather, play some basketball or just catch up with friends. This is also a great time for alumni to build community with each other and to check in with their CP Counselors (many of whom are pretty good basketball players!)

Where do our alumni attend high school?

Each CJA graduating class and student is unique. For some, a flexible school that offers a variety of academic supports and extracurricular activities is the best option, for others, it is a charter school, selective-enrollment public school or highly selective boarding school. Finding the best-fit high school for each student’s needs is what is most important. Here are a sample of the schools our alumni attend or have attended:

  • Chicago Bulls College Prep
  • Chicago High School for the Arts
  • Christ the King Jesuit College Prep
  • Culver Academies (Culver, IN)
  • Holy Trinity High School
  • Intrinsic Charter School
  • La Lumiere School (La Porte, IN)
  • Lane Technical High School
  • Loyola Academy
  • North Lawndale College Prep
  • St. Ignatius College Prep
  • Walter Payton College Prep

High School Scholarships

For private schools, our alumni have earned scholarships and financial aid through the generosity of their high schools and scholarship programs including the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, LINK Unlimited and HighSight. Outside of this support, CP Counselors advocate for their students to ensure they have the resources they need in order to be successful at their chosen school.

Summer Employment at CJA

Each summer, high-school-aged alumni are invited to apply to be:

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  • Facilities Aides: Rising high school sophomores are offered the opportunity to work with the Director of Facilities to improve our school building and grounds while developing painting, building and repair skills.
  • Classroom Aides: Rising high school sophomores and older are invited to work in the classroom with our students during the summer term, with older alumni taking the lead in some instruction as they explore an interest in education.
  • IT Interns: Rising high school juniors and older are invited to work with our IT department to support our classroom technology needs while learning basic help desk and introductory programming skills.

Summer Enrichment

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During the summer, the College Persistence Team helps connect our alumni with summer enrichment opportunities. This can be a STEM-specific day-camp at Northwestern or a sleepaway summer camp like the WGA Caddie Academy, Susquehanna University’s Pre-College program or The School of the New York Times. The CP Team ensures that any fees for these programs are greatly if not entirely reduced by assisting students in securing scholarships. They also coordinate transportation and accommodations.

Whether it’s trying a new class, traveling to a new state or sleeping away in a cabin or dorm, these experiences are deeply impactful for our alumni.