What is a Work Study Program?
A work student program is a blended high school experience where students have the opportunity to engage in a traditional high school curriculum four days a week and spend one day in a work setting. Students have the best of both worlds as they have access to a rigorous college preparatory curriculum taught by dedicated and passionate faculty as well as experiential opportunities to excel in the workplace. Studies have shown that graduates from a work study program are more likely to go on to successful college careers.
In the Work Study Program, students are placed into job-sharing teams where they work once every four days at a local business from 8:30-4:30pm. 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 over the course of the year as in a traditional school setting.
Because students are working, tuition is reduced significantly. Although the cost to educate a St. Francis de Sales graduate is close to $16,000, on average families pay no more than $2000 to attend St. Francis de Sales because of the money received through work study as well as outside support.
Why is SFDS considering a Work Study Program?
The reason we’re doing this is primarily because we asked ourselves “how can we best serve the community?” And the answer came back that we can best serve the community by giving students a fundamentally different academic experience, by adding a work and life experience, than they’d ever receive at a traditional high school.
A Work Study Program provides students a tremendous access to opportunity – not only the opportunity to afford a 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 also developing real world job skills. These experiences have been shown to help student achievement, and universities show great interest in this experience as a differentiator in admissions and scholarship decisions.
Will every student participate in the Work Study Program?
Yes, every St. Francis de Sales student will participate in the program.
How will the academic program work with the Work Study Program?
The academic program continues to be college preparatory, with schedules adjusted accordingly to make sure that the curriculum is fully delivered and covered in four days instead of five. This means that the school will have a somewhat longer school day and school year.
The academic program is arranged such that instructional time is maximized during the four school days and the work does not interfere with the academic program. In fact, the work is considered part of the academic program because of the skills students develop. Students receive grades for both academics and work.
Does the work schedule interfere with the academic program?
No, the academic program is arranged such that instructional time is maximized during the four school days. Work Study Programs began in 1996 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 downtown Chicago each weekday.
What are the benefits of a Work Study Program?
The benefits of a Work Study Program are many, including:
- Student scholars receive professional, real-world experience to enhance a student’s college and career readiness;
- Student scholars are provided job skills training and ongoing support;
- Graduates are more likely to go on to successful college careers; and
-Students are motivated to excel in school and pursue professional careers.
Payment from employers for the effort of the job-sharing team offsets a portion of the cost to educate the students. Our initial efforts indicate to us that there are a good number of employers that want to employ students to support their business and help the students through the work experience and skill development.
There is another subtle benefit that Work Study students have experienced. In many cases, employers have kept students on during breaks and the summer period – where employers pay the students directly and the students can begin saving for their education
What kinds of jobs will students work?
Students work in law firms, hospitals, distribution centers, universities, businesses, car dealerships, and manufacturing plants. Students may answer phones, or file papers, work in social media, or other administrative tasks. Students are trained before they head to work, and are mentored over the year.
Where will the jobs be located?
The jobs will be located within a 15-mile radius of St. Francis de Sales High School; transportation from the school to the jobs will be provided.
How will my child get to the job?
The school will transport students to their jobs. Students are driven to the business and picked up after their work day ends.
Will my child need a work permit?
No, the school will procure and ensure completion of all necessary paperwork for your child.
What kind of documentation does my child have to provide to work?
The only documentation needed is what you would normally provide the school to register, including transcripts, a birth certificate, and immunization history.
How does a Work Study program work if my child receives a Tax Credit Scholarship?
If your child receives a tax credit scholarship, they will still participate in the Work Study model, but will owe no additional tuition. The money raised will go support all the other educational costs.
If my child is part of the Work Study program, will I still have to pay tuition?
All families (except families receiving a Tax Credit Scholarship) will still pay tuition but it will be less than the current tuition rate, in the range of $2000 per year per student for most family income levels.
Will SFDS still have sports and other extracurricular offerings?
The school will continue to offer the same sports and extracurricular opportunities, but with the understanding that on working days, the employer is counting on the students to make their job the first priority. As a result, a student may miss some games, practices or meetings.
How do I apply to the St. Francis de Sales Work Study Program?
The first step in the admissions process is to complete the online application that can be found here:.... Once your application is complete, students and families will be invited for an interview. The early decision application closes on November 22. More information on admissions can be found here: