At ICA Cristo Rey, our students rigorously prepare to go on to higher education, and to succeed as accomplished, skilled alumnae of ICA Cristo Rey. Our school is committed to providing college access to 100% of our students. Each student of the Class of 2016 is attending college following graduation, and it is our mission that each young woman who attends ICA Cristo Rey has the same opportunity. Furthermore, it is our mission that each student of ICA Cristo Rey is equipped with the proper tools and skills necessary to flourish in higher education. Throughout their time at ICA Cristo Rey, students are preparing to be intelligent, confident young women who thrive in higher education.
As they prepare to go on to higher education, we know that our students need help navigating academic, social, and emotional challenges. The Counseling Department, comprised of Melissa Ruiz (Director of Academic Counseling), Gianna Benson (College Counselor), and Christine Coleman (Personal Counselor), supports each student's needs as she grows and develops at ICA Cristo Rey Cristo Rey as a young woman of learning.
As Director of Academic Counseling, Ms. Ruiz works with students and families to ensure that each student feels academically supported at ICA Cristo Rey. She encourages each student to give their full and complete effort in school, and provides resources and avenues for each student to do so. Through structures such as tutoring opportunities, after school seminars and the use of academic probation charts, when necessary, students are kept vigilant about their grades throughout the academic year. Ms. Ruiz also keeps families informed about their student via phone calls and in-person meetings. Dedicating much of her time to cultivating relationships, Ms. Ruiz meets with students and families to ensure the consistent involvement of both in the student’s education. She not only meets with students who are struggling, but reinforces good habits by talking with those students who are finding academic success. Ms. Ruiz is committed to letting a student know she is there for support, but she is also committed to letting students know when they have improved and acknowledges them for it.
As College Counselor, Ms. Benson facilitates our College Counseling Program by creating and implementing College Checklists for each class at ICA Cristo Rey. These checklists require students to complete tasks which will lead to their attending college following their senior year. These tasks include researching colleges, applying to scholarships, and exploring career options. Acting as a resource for students throughout the checklist process, the Counseling Department offers access to its library and computers, and provides opportunities to participate in external support programs. Annually, Ms. Benson organizes the Fall College & Programs Fair and an On-Site Admissions Day for students to learn about and apply to colleges across the country. In addition, events such as the Cash for College Workshop ensure that all students applying to college are strongly supported throughout the college and financial aid application processes. Besides organizing events, Ms. Benson personally invests in students by meeting with them during break, lunch, and afterschool to ensure they have submitted necessary documents and items for their college and financial aid applications.
As Personal Counselor, Mrs. Coleman builds relationships with students, and encourages healthy, mindful ways of being for each student she meets with. With special concern to mental and emotional health, Mrs. Coleman responds to crises which may arise in the lives of the students at ICA Cristo Rey. These crises may include conflicts in personal relationships, the possibility of self-harm, and anxiety. She is assisted in responding to these kinds of crises by a knowledgeable counseling intern from the University of San Francisco. To encourage the empowerment of students on campus, Mrs. Coleman also facilitates the Girl Rising Club, a global campaign for the education and empowerment of women, at ICA Cristo Rey. Through the Girl Rising Club, students are able to attend and engage in events which build a stronger recognition of community amongst the young women on campus at ICA Cristo Rey and amongst women worldwide.
All three counselors have a specific focus but each one acknowledges that each realm is crucial for the development of our students. With this approach, the counseling department works to ensure the students are cared for as a whole.