St. Thomas partners with several schools in ways that enhance the academic learning of both sets of students. Some of our long-standing and most active partnerships include working with:
- Cristo Rey Jesuit High School
- Kekaha Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha Learning Center
- Wellstone International High School
- College Prep Elementary
- Open Arms of Minnesota
- UST’s Tutor-Mentor Program
- Early College Awareness Visits sponsored by UST’s Center for Intercultural Learning and Community Engagement’s (CILCE)
Partnership with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School is a Catholic high school in the heart of the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis. Cristo Rey provides a college-preparatory education in the Jesuit tradition for students of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds who would not normally have access to such an education.
The school is a member of the national Cristo Rey Network, an association of similar urban high schools serving young people from families who are economically-disadvantaged. A hallmark of a Cristo Rey education is the students' participation in their Hire4Ed Program. In addition to attending classes, students work in an office environment five days a month thereby earning up to 70% of the cost of their education. To accommodate this work schedule, the school has an extended school day and year. The school’s curriculum is designed to support the students’ work experience in addition to preparing students for university, college, or other post-secondary education.
Several St. Thomas faculty members teaching courses with service-learning components have worked collaboratively with Cristo Rey students and faculty in areas including: Communications and Journalism, English, Theology, Statistics, and Computer.
Largest of all of these courses is the introductory Communication and Citizenship class (COJO 111) a team taught course required of all Communication and Journalism majors involving approximately 200 St. Thomas students and the 9th grade Cristo Rey students each year. Several Cristo Rey staff and faculty members as well as St. Thomas faculty and staff have worked diligently to develop a collaborative, sustainable partnership that helps both their students and ours to achieve curricular goals as well as to encourage Cristo Rey students to think more about pursuing a college education.
For more information about our partnership with Cristo Rey, please contact Barb Baker, Service-Learning Program Manager, at 651-962-5380 or .
Partnership with Kekaha Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha Learning Center
The Kekaha Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha Learning Center on Kauai’i Hawai’i has been a partner with UST’s Communication and Journalism Department for over twelve years. During their January-term course, “Hawai’i: Multi-Cultural Communication in Diverse Organizations,” faculty and staff work with the students and staff of the Learning Center, a public charter school on Kauai’i. Approximately forty students, from pre-school to high school, attend this bi-lingual school. Younger students are taught exclusively in their Hawaiian dialect of Ni’ihau, with English introduced in upper-elementary classes. The school’s goal is for their graduates to be bi-lingual in English and in Ni’ihau.
These students are part of the small native Hawaiian community of Ni’ihau that works tirelessly to preserve its culture against many odds.
Service-learning projects vary from year to year, depending on the school’s curriculum. Students have studied and worked together on projects regarding the Hawaiian Duck, an endangered indigenous species, studied the coral reef together, conducted research and given presentations, developed puppet shows, and performed instrumental music for a DVD students created together. Materials are shared with the students’ families and the wider Ni’ihau community as a significant resource for the community to keep their language alive.
Partnership with Wellstone International High School
Wellstone International High School in South Minneapolis provides English and content instruction to English Language Learners ages 14 to 21. St. Thomas students in English and Psychology classes have had an opportunity to assist students in classrooms and to interact with immigrant students from various backgrounds. The University of St. Thomas' Center for Writing also provides community-based consulting at Wellstone International High School.
For more information about this partnership, contact Barb Baker, Service-Learning Program Manager at 651-962-5380,or Dr. Susan Callaway, Associate Professor of English, and Director of the Center for Writing at 651-962-5602 or WRITING@stthomas.edu.
Partnership with College Prep Elementary:
College Prep Elementary (CPE) is a charter school that serves predominantly Hmong and Karen students in grades K-6. UST students in a Critical Reading and Writing class worked with 5th graders to document oral histories of their families’ journeys to Minnesota. UST and CPE students applied academic concepts in their writing and learned about one another. UST students learned more about Hmong culture and the difficult journeys many families took to come to the United States. CPE students learned not only more about their family history but also about college from the UST students with whom they worked. Many parents of CPE students also expressed gratitude for an opportunity to share more of their journeys to their new homes with their children.
A UST Drama and Poetry class and 6th graders from CPE jointly produced, directed, acted, and managed stage-craft for Stone Heart, a play written by local Native American playwright Diane Glancy. This term, CPE 6th graders and St. Thomas students will write and produce their own 3-act plays based on folks tales from around the world.
For more information about this partnership, please contact Michael Raimondi, Executive Director of College Prep Elementary and St. Thomas adjunct English faculty member at 651-605-2360 or email@example.com.
Open Arms of Minnesota:
The University of St. Thomas has enjoyed a service-learning partnership with Open Arms of Minnesota since 2004. Open Arms is an organization that prepares meals for and delivers meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, MS, ALS, and breast cancer.
Each semester, faculty in disciplines as diverse as philosophy, communication studies, theology, art history, justice and peace studies, sociology, health and human performance, business, and psychology learn the content of their courses through application to the work of Open Arms. For example, students in sociological methods have developed skills in survey writing and analysis by conducting surveys for the benefit of Open Arms. Students in epidemiology learn about food-born pathogens by preparing food safety kits for distribution to new Open Arms’ clients. Students in business have applied their skills in marketing by raising funds for Open Arms’ projects in South Africa. And students in theology have learned about the theology of the Second Vatican Council and its concern for the innate dignity of the human person by delivering meals to Open Arms’ clients, and reflecting on these experiences in academic journals.
Questions about the partnership with Open Arms? Contact: Dr. Kimberly Vrudny.
Each semester UST’s Tutor-Mentor Program partners with school and community programs within Minneapolis and St. Paul. UST students assist school-aged youth in a variety of ways including academic work and enrichment activities. UST faculty members sometimes incorporate a service-learning component by requiring or encouraging work with the Tutor-Mentor Program. Students are placed at sites based on community requests and their own personal availability. After attending an initial training session, students complete ten site visits and a mid-semester reflection in order to receive recognition for their participation. Transportation is arranged through the program. Applications for Tutor-Mentor are available in the CILCE Center (MHC 153) at the beginning of each semester.
For more information, contact Kate Caffrey, Program Director, at 651-962-6800.
Early College Awareness Outreach
UST’s Center for Intercultural Learning and Community Engagement (CILCE) regularly brings middle school students to campus for a tour and introduction to college. Often these schools request an academic presentation or mini-class to excite middle-schoolers about what they can study in college. Some faculty have incorporated a service-learning component into their courses by having students plan an interactive activity for these visits sharing what they are learning with the younger students in an age-appropriate fashion.
For more information about these visits and ways to involve your students, please contact Meghan Allen Eliason, Director of CILCE, at 651-962-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org