Educational Institutions

Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep

  • Waukegan, IL

Mission Statement

Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep is a Catholic learning community that educates young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service. Through our rigorous college preparatory curriculum, integrated with a relevant work study experience, students graduate ready to succeed in college and in life.

Cristo Rey St. Martin serves students in Lake County, IL - primarily from Waukegan and North Chicago.

Main Programs

  1. Corporate Work Study Program
  2. Volunteer Ministry
  3. College Preparatory High School
Service Areas



The Waukegan and North Chicago neighborhoods surrounding our school struggle. Unemployment, crime, poverty, and inadequate access to affordable healthcare and education plague many families in the area. This “Rust Belt" area lacks jobs and opportunities for young people, and Cristo Rey St. Martin is working to change these realities through education.

By leveraging the resources of the many STEM companies (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) that dominate the corporate landscape, we are creating an affordable alternative to the substandard public school options.

ruling year




Mr. Preston Kendall



Mr. Michael Odiotti



college prep, catholic, Waukegan, Cristo Rey, work study, high school, Catholic High School, Cristo Rey Network, Corporate Internship Program, economically disadvantaged students





Physical Address

501 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

Waukegan, IL 60085


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Secondary/High School (B25)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

Higher Education Institutions (B40)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is not required to file an annual return with the IRS because it is a religious organization.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


Self-reported by organization

Cristo Rey St. Martin (CRSM) served 369 low-income students during the 2014-2015 school year. CRSM is the only private, affordable, academically rigorous college preparatory option available for low income students in Lake County. Our 2015 graduating class had a 100% college acceptance rate; of these acceptances, 82% were to four-year schools. The average CRSM family has 4.8 members and a median family income is $35,120. More than 80% of our students fall below the national poverty guidelines to qualify for free or reduced lunch. CRSM's student enrollment for the 2015-2016 academic year is at 390 - the highest in our history.

Today, of the small number of Latinos and African-American students who will actually enroll in college, only a mere 10% will graduate. CRSM is committed to changing that percentage in Waukegan and North Chicago so that our graduates will serve as inspiration and guides for others in their communities.


Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Corporate Work Study Program

Every Cristo Rey St.
Martin student carries a full course load of college preparatory coursework and works five full days each month for one of our contracted business partners in our Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). Their employers range from global corporations, local law firms, banks, and hospitals as well as not-for-profits. All of the money that they earn in these entry-level full-time equivalent jobs goes towards their tuition. The cost of one CWSP job (shared by a team comprised of four students) is $29,900.

Besides providing our students with an innovative way
to fund their college prep education, CWSP experience reinforces the critical
thinking skills and positive lifelong learning behavior that are emphasized in
St. Martin classrooms. Our students’ workplace experience allows them to apply
and make connections from the classroom to the world of work and prepares them
- and all Cristo Rey Network students  - for
success in college and throughout their lives.


Youth Business

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General



Program 2

Volunteer Ministry

Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep invites our students to grow in their faith journey with God. Through our Campus Ministry program, we listen to their needs and help them share their gifts with both their school and the world. As part of our Catholic identity, we respect and appreciate the unique gifts and various religious traditions that reflect the make up of our students and staff.

Becoming people for others is a hallmark of the CRSM experience. In early November, students and staff together participate in two days of community service. CRSM does not have required service hours yet OVER HALF of our students volunteer in their community throughout the school year.


Youth Leadership

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General



Program 3

College Preparatory High School

Not available



Population(s) Served

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)


Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Cristo Rey St Martin's mission is to create students who are college ready, work prepared, and committed to faith and justice. Cristo Rey St. Martin provides access to quality college prep education exclusively to under-served young people in Lake County, primarily in Waukegan and North Chicago so that they get to and through college.

    Lasting change can only occur with the support and investment of all our constituents: students, families, teachers, administrative staff, Corporate Work Study Program partners, and benefactors of our school. Many schools measures success in graduation rates alone, however at CRSM this is just one metric that confirms our work. Success here is broad and all-encompassing—success can only occur when our 3 mission foci of academic rigor, work preparation, and social responsibility overlap. Success at CRSM involves academic growth, individualized learning, collaborative leadership, premier course offerings, college persistence supports, peak enrollment, “full employment" for our student workers, excellent retention rates and acquisition of corporate work study partners, and community excitement and engagement. Economic and social constructs take so much away from young people already, why let education go, too? CRSM overcomes these obstacles through collaboration of a dedicated staff, Corporate Work Study Program and compassionate business partners, and individuals committed to making a difference.

    Over the next five years, CRSM looks to maintain a minimum of an 80% 4-year retention rate and see 70% of CRSM alumni earn a Bachelors degree. This will result in a college graduation rate of 56% for CRSM 9th graders. This is 7 times the national average for low-income students and equal to the college graduation rate for the general population.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    The strategies for achieving these goals are as follows:

    I. Enhance student preparation for college success. This will be accomplished by engaging all CRSM students in some type of summer programming - whether through summer jobs with Corporate Work Study partners (100 students had summer jobs during the 2015 summer), College/University summer programs for high school students, or some other reputable summer program; continuing to increase the academic rigor of the school (increasing the number of students who score a 3 on AP exams and exploring dual-credit options); and continuing to expand college mentoring programs.

    II. Raise college persistence and graduation rates. CRSM hired a new position for the 2015-2016 academic year, Director of Alumni Support, who will be focused on providing support to CRSM alumni enrolled in college programs. This first year, her focus is on those students at the College of Lake County since the graduation rates for minorities is so poor there. CRSM is also exploring engaging CWSP partners to help to mentor students. In addition, CRSM is exploring partnerships with existing local colleges to provide structured associate degree programs.

    III. Promote CRS faculty and staff stability to encourage stronger, longer-term relationships with students. Strategies to make this happen include canvassing staff to find out what benefits are most important to them, finding creative ways to encourage professional development in the most cost-effective manner, and surveying peer institutions regarding benefits/pay.

    IV. Solidify and expand CWSP business partner relationships. This includes achieving 90% of paid corporate jobs when enrollment is at 400 students and maintaining at least a 93% retention rate for corporate jobs from year to year. CRSM is exploring a student skill development badge program, a way of promoting teacher/job partner relationships, and creating professional development opportunities for corporate work study partner supervisors.

    V. Complete Phase 1 of the new campus. The organization has a contract to purchase a vacant K-Mart property on Belvidere Road, which will be renovated to provide a safe and modern facility for CRSM students, teachers, staff, and guests.

  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Preston Kendall, President of CRSM since 2011, has continued to upgrade the leadership team members. Since joining he added an entirely new Corporate Work Study Program team, a new Assistant Principal, a new Dean of Students, a new Director of Development, interim CFO, and supporting staff. The staff changes were made to increase enrollment, control the deficit, and create sustainability. The Board of Trustees has grown substantially and now consists of 23 members. Board Members possess expertise across a number of different industries to benefit the school. Board member backgrounds include Personal Finance, Investments, Higher Education, Legal, Non-profit Management, Religious Communities, and Corporate Experience at multinational corporations, local privately held businesses, as well as non-profits.

    CRSM's progress in increasing enrollment, raising the jobs fee/price, increasing the number of paying jobs, and increasing income from Development efforts, have combined to now put the school on a stable financial footing.

    Each year for the last four years, the school has operated with a slight surplus. Because of this improved financial performance, CRSM completely eliminated its debt load and is now poised to assume the rigors of a major capital campaign. CRSM has a compelling story of meeting a vital educational need in the community; an impressive, established track record of accomplishing goals; and, now, a clear course of action for developing a dynamic new home for CRSM.

    CRSM also has a definite asset in its Principal, Michael Odiotti, Ph.D. He has established a clear path for academic success for both students and staff. It has been under his direction that the school established the Summer Bridge Program, the Academic Assistance Program, and the hiring of the Director of Alumni Support. Dr. Odiotti places a focus on individualized student support, encouraging teachers to work collaboratively on instructional strategies for individual students and to participate in weekly 2-hour planning sessions. An Instructional Leadership Team composed of teachers and administrators runs a professional development program that helps drive academic change and excellence.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Progress is often best measured by the people involved in an organization. With increased academic achievement, growing job satisfaction of CRSM staff, and healthy community support, CRSM has made remarkable progress despite many challenges.

    Credit for the progress is due to the dedicated leadership of CRSM's president, principal, and Board of Trustees. These individuals have created momentum for growth and a sustainable future for the school. Their vision to create a financially sustainable and academically strong college preparatory school for low-income students is a reality that requires both time and support. As enrollment grows, CRSM staff is committed to ensuring that our students continue to achieve academic success, continuing to build relationships with our CWSP Business Partners, growing relationships with donors and supporters, and enhanced relationships with CRSM alumni.

    Because academic goals are critical to success, the following are the crucial academic indicators for FY16:

    1. Exceed national growth rate using cohort on ACT Battery (ASPRE) and Map tests
    2. Maintain 90% or better of students at or above a 2.0
    3. Maintain a failure rate of 2.5% or less, which has been achieved for the last four semesters
    4. A minimum of 40% of seniors will score at least a 3 on at least one AP exam
    5. Maintain an annual retention rate of at least 92% and a freshmen to senior retention rate of at least 80%
    6. 100% of seniors will apply to a 4-year college or university

  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    When describing the success of CRSM, it is easy to cite the balanced budget and increased revenues from the Corporate Work Study Program or fundraising events. Remembering the primary mission of educating students to get them to and through college, measures of success should begin with academics.

    For the Class of 2015, CRSM had the highest freshmen to senior retention rate in our school's history with 87% of the students who started as freshmen graduating in June of 2015. 100% of graduating seniors were accepted into college, with 82% accepted into 4-year colleges. CRSM was named as one of America's Most Challenging High Schools by the Washington Post for the 4th consecutive year: 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Enrollment in CRSM AP classes jumped from 150 in FY14 to 235 in FY15. 95.8% of CRSM students maintained a GPA of 2.0 or greater during FY15.

    Cristo Rey schools are designed to rely on the income from the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) and the Cristo Rey Network has set a target of generating 70% of the annual operating income from the CWSP. In 2011, the CWSP generated less than 50% of the operating income; therefore this needed to be a focus area for improvement. Staffing, student preparation, and student support are now key initiatives to improve job retention/acquisition and the financial footing of the school. These efforts have produced excellent results with CWSP generating 63% of CRSM's operating income in FY16.

    One of CRSM's biggest challenges now is generating support for the renovation and move into a new facility. The current facility is too small and far too outdated to enable us to serve our students optimally. The landlord of the current facility has made the decision to not perform any more major repairs to the buildings on the campus. CRSM is currently packing 396 students into a 100-year old building designed for 200 students! The vacant K-Mart space currently under contract will provide an additional 70,000 square feet for our students and the renovation will provide a 21st Century environment for students and staff.
Service Areas



The Waukegan and North Chicago neighborhoods surrounding our school struggle. Unemployment, crime, poverty, and inadequate access to affordable healthcare and education plague many families in the area. This “Rust Belt" area lacks jobs and opportunities for young people, and Cristo Rey St. Martin is working to change these realities through education.

By leveraging the resources of the many STEM companies (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) that dominate the corporate landscape, we are creating an affordable alternative to the substandard public school options.

Additional Documents

Social Media

Funding Needs

The most important funding need is for Corporate Work Study Program jobs. One contracted full-time equivalent entry-level job is shared by four students. Our students currently earn about 50 percent of the true cost of the education through these contracted business partners. In order to achieve greater economies of scale, we need to contract with more business partners.   While the true cost of educating a student at CRSM is $12,500, our average family, which includes 4.6 members, has a per capita income of $8,592; the median family income is $36,177. More than 80 of our students fall below the national poverty guidelines to qualify for free or reduced lunch. While we ask our families to invest in their children's education through a yearly $2,500 tuition payment, many struggle to do so. Therefore, we offer 84 percent of our students some financial aid. A student's earnings through the Corporate Work Study Program covers about 50 percent of the true cost of his or her education. After accounting for parent contributions, we must still raise $5,000 per student to cover the cost of education.


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep



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Mr. Preston Kendall


Mr. Michael Odiotti


Preston Kendall is president of Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep. He was part of the leadership team that founded the original Cristo Rey school in 1966: Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago. As its Vice-President he filled the responsibilities of CFO and Director of Cristo Rey's innovative Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP).

In 2004 he left to become the first full-time employee of the Cristo Rey Network, formed to replicate the school model and made possible by generous grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation. After helping open the first 19 network schools across the U.S., Kendall left the network to be part of the founding team of its 20th school, Christ the King Jesuit High School on Chicago's west side. He served as the Vice President for Corporate Internships for both Christ the King and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School from 2007 to 2011, running a single CWSP that served more than 900 students.

In September 2011, Kendall was tapped to serve as President and lead a turn around effort at its school in Waukegan, IL, St. Martin de Porres High School, now Cristo Rey St. Martin College. Kendall worked in the insurance and financial services sector. He was Washington National Financial Services' Vice-President when he left to start Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. Kendall has a BA in English and Writing from Northwestern University and a Masters of Management from its Kellogg Graduate School of Management.


"Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep is one of the highest achieving urban schools in the Chicago area and in the Cristo Rey network. Why?

We are the school that works. We are a member of the Cristo Rey Network, a thriving
association of 28 high schools that utilize an innovative work-study program to provide
affordable, Catholic education to more than 8,000 students nationwide. We exclusively
serve families with limited financial resources. Every one of our students works five full
days per month to pay for most of the cost of their education and to gain professional
experience. By working, students learn about the corporate world, connect academic
coursework to the work they do at their corporate placements, and gain skills that will
serve them beyond high school.

We believe in our students. Our mission is to educate young people to become men
and women of faith, purpose and service. We provide our students with the opportunity
to develop faith in God and to understand that there is a purpose to their life. It is our
responsibility to help our students discover and develop their unique gifts and talents.
We believe we are called to contribute to a better world, to serve others, and to be on
the side of those who are left behind. Everything we do is based on these values.

Our students succeed. We offer a rigorous, supportive, college preparatory curriculum
that prepares every one of our students to enter and graduate from college. 100% of our graduates for the past three years have been accepted to two and four-year colleges and universities. We offer rigorous core courses, tutoring and remediation for students who need it, Advanced Placement classes, an intense college-counseling program that helps students select the right college, and a range of extracurricular, service and athletic

Enrollment in 2016 reached 398 students. Come visit us!"



Mr. Christopher Perry

CIVC Partners

Term: July 2014 - June 2016


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