Frequently Asked Questions

"Love is shown more in deeds than in words."
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Curious about our mission? Below are answers to frequently asked questions. Want to learn more? Please call us at (718) 861-9084 or email us at info@sis-nativity.org, and we will happy to help you!

What is unique about Saint Ignatius School?

How many students does New York Nativity’s Saint Ignatius School serve?

Why is your enrollment (relatively) so small?

What is the recruiting and admissions process for students?

What are you looking for in students who apply?

What is the typical profile of a Saint Ignatius School family?

Are parents involved at Saint Ignatius School?

Where do your students go after they graduate?

Do you have graduates who are now in college?

Are you a charter school, a private school, or a Catholic school?

How is your school funded?

What is the curriculum for Saint Ignatius School students?

How can I get involved at Saint Ignatius School?

What is unique about Saint Ignatius School and New York Nativity’s program?

Often schools experiment with how and what to teach. As a New York Nativity School, Saint Ignatius School adheres to a 450-year Jesuit tradition of educational excellence and a proven 40-year Nativity-model program.

Nativity Mission Center was the first “Nativity-model” school, founded in 1971 by Jesuits and lay volunteers on New York’s Lower East Side. It was the inspiration for Saint Ignatius School, founded by a Jesuit in a Hunts Point storefront in 1995. Nativity-model schools are now breaking the cycle of poverty in more than 60 communities around the U.S., including Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego and many other cities.

Our program consists of three, time-tested and integrated components:

  • Extended Day Program: we provide small, single-sex classes, a rigorous curriculum, and an extended day, that provides time for tutoring, help with homework and activities. This gives students the opportunity to enjoy learning and develop a sense of purpose and community.
  • Summer Leadership Program: offers five weeks of additional learning opportunities and recreational activities centered on character development, leadership skills and community involvement. Situated at the school for two weeks and then at a residential camp in Lake Placid, New York for three weeks, the program prepares new students and reinforces learning in returning students.
  • Graduate Support Program: graduate support staff, emphasizing college preparedness, work with students, families and secondary schools to ensure a successful transition to high school. We stay connected to our alumni by providing personal guidance and support, tutoring assistance, and, in many cases, financial aid. Our Graduate Support Program provides ongoing financial, social, and academic support for our graduates throughout their high school years and support throughout the college application process which is one of the reasons our students excel relative to their peers.

How many students does Saint Ignatius School serve?

There are 80 students in middle school at Saint Ignatius School in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx for the 2016-2017 academic year. We also serve 90 of our alumni in high school through our Graduate Support Program. These high school students, who include Saint Ignatius School graduates as well as graduates of Nativity Mission Center, receive academic support and often financial support to ensure the outstanding rate of high school graduation and college enrollment that our program has achieved. Our goal is to increase enrollment to 90 students (30 per grade) for sixth through eighth grade while maintaining a very favorable teacher-student ratio. Our dream is to serve even younger children (4th and 5th graders) so that they can acquire valuable skills and values at an earlier age.

Why is your enrollment (relatively) so small?

The Jesuit concept of “cura personalis” (care for the whole person) inspires our educational philosophy, and is particularly important when working with children from low-income families. We believe that an educational environment centered on small class sizes with a healthy teacher-student ratio (1:9, vs. 1:26 at the local public schools) is at the core of our mission and the most significant factor in our students’ success. Most of our students start our program one or two years behind grade level in reading, language, and math. Limiting our enrollment, hiring outstanding teachers who engage students in learning, and incorporating academic, social support, and leadership programs within an extended-day and extended-year schedule give our students the opportunity to achieve remarkable success during their critical middle-school years at Saint Ignatius School.

What is the recruiting and admissions process for students?

Our parents and families are our most effective means of recruitment for new families. Typically, relatives and friends of current and past students apply after hearing the good news about Saint Ignatius School. Parents and guardians are invited to an information night in mid-January to explain to prospective students/families how our school community operates, including our goals, values, and expectations we have for students and families. Students and families then complete a thorough application that includes teacher recommendations, student and a parent essay, and financial records. We then invite prospective students to Saint Ignatius to take part in Math and ELA classes taught by our teachers, where teachers and administrators observe student interactions and engagement. We also administer an in-house academic exam to assess each candidate’s basic skill levels in reading, writing and math. The last step in the admissions process is for teachers and administrators to conduct home interviews with students and families. Acceptance letters are mailed in early May.

What are you looking for in students who apply?

Our first criteria is that students come from families that have great economic need. Their family’s income usually qualifies them for the free and reduced lunch program in their public school (as benchmarked against the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which in 2016 is $24,300 for a family of four). We are also looking for students and families who are committed to and motivated by the college-prep mission of our school, founded on Jesuit educational values of developing the whole person and focused on preparing students for high school and college. Our students are entering our school, on average, one to two years below grade-level in reading and language in their previous school, as measured by the results of their sixth-grade, pre-year standardized testing. We do not select students based on their grades—above all, we look for students who, regardless of their academic record, show desire and motivation for college.

Do children need to be Catholic to be admitted to Saint Ignatius School?

No. We serve children regardless of their religious affiliation. Although we are a Catholic, faith-based school, inspired by Jesuit educational values, we serve children not because they are Catholic but because we are Catholic. 97% of the families we serve are Hispanic, 3% are African American, and approximately 73% of them are Catholic.

What is the typical profile of a Saint Ignatius School family?

Parents and guardians of our students have big dreams for their children and deeply believe in the transformative power of education. We are honored to partner with them to develop each child’s God-given gifts. The 2016 median income for our families is $29,362. Forty-four percent of our students come from single-parent homes, and 66% are being raised by two parents. Most of our parents completed some or all of their elementary (K-6 or K-8) school education, but only 30% completed their high school education. Nearly all of our students speak Spanish in the home, and 75% are first generation immigrants to the United States.

Are parents involved at Saint Ignatius School?

Yes. Parents and guardians are full and essential partners in our mission. Before a student is formally accepted to Saint Ignatius School, all parents and students agree in writing to several core terms for continued support of the school throughout the year. Among the conditions spelled out in the agreement, parents and students are required to attend three (3) in-person parent-teacher-student conferences each year. Parents are required to attend a mandatory monthly meeting held at the school to inform them of past and future events, along with being provided a guest speaker that covers pertinent topics (financial literacy, immigration, English Language classes). As part of the enrollment agreement, families are required to volunteer at the school for six hours per year. We also have an active Parent Committee, made of elected officers among parents of enrolled students. The committee is responsible for sponsoring and hosting social events and fundraising events. Finally, it’s important to note that although Saint Ignatius School is not tuition driven, parents make a financial commitment to send their children to our school for $75 a month per child. For those who cannot pay, parents can contribute extra time to help us in our school community.

Where do your students go after they graduate?

Every year our graduates go on to attend excellent schools, nearly all Catholic and Independent, with a few others who elect to attend specialized and charter public high schools. Our graduates have attended: All Hallows, Aquinas, Bishop Loughlin Memorial, Cardinal Hayes, Cathedral, Catherine McAuley, Cristo Rey, Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies, Fordham Preparatory, High School of Hospitality Management, Monsignor Scanlan, Mount Saint Michael Academy, Notre Dame School, Preston, St. Catherine Academy, St. Jean Baptiste, St. John’s Preparatory, St. Raymond Academy for Girls, St. Raymond High School for Boys, School of the Holy Child (Rye), The Ursuline School, Xavier High School.

Do you have graduates who are now in college?

Yes. Students in recent graduating classes have been accepted at and are currently attending a number of in-state and out-of-state universities and colleges, including Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College, Buffalo State College, City College of New York, Clarkson University, College of Staten Island, College of the Holy Cross, Dickinson College, Dominican College, Fordham University, Hunter College, Iona College, John Jay College, Johnson and Wales University, Lehman College, Loyola University Maryland, Manhattan College, Manhattanville College, Marist College, Mercy College, Middlebury College, Monroe College, Mount St. Mary College, New York City College of Technology, New York Institute of Technology, New York University, Providence College, Queens College, Queensborough Community College, Rosemont College, St. Joseph’s University, St. Joseph’s College, SUNY Albany, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Purchase, Stony Brook University, Syracuse University, Texas State University, University at Buffalo. Other graduates have opted to attend two-year community college programs in New York, with the expectation that they will matriculate to a four-year program.

Are you a charter school, a private school, or a Catholic school?

We are not a charter school. Nor are we a parochial school. We are a private Catholic Jesuit school, sponsored by the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), with an independent Board of Trustees, Jesuit Board of Members, and a community of benefactors that funds 95% of our costs each year. We participate in the diocesan sports league, but we do not operate under the aegis of the Diocese of New York. While our admissions policy is open to families of all faiths, we make clear to all prospective students and families that our religious tradition is firmly rooted in the Catholic Church, and as such all of our students participate in daily prayer and in the Catholic Mass, study the catechism of the Church, and are expected to answer Saint Ignatius Loyola’s call to be “men and women for others” by helping each other in school and participating in community service each year. Also, two of our board members are ordained priests – both Jesuits – one, the President of Regis High School and the other, currently the Development Director of the New York Province and a former President of Canisius, McQuaid, St. Peter’s Prep, and Xavier High Schools. A third member is the Provincial Assistant for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education.

How is your school funded?

As a private, all-scholarship (i.e., non-tuition driven) school, we are supported financially through the generosity of individuals and with the help of corporate and foundation grants. Our families are committed to paying a monthly program fee of $75 to help with costs for some of our extracurricular programs; otherwise, all income to support our annual operating budget of $1.5M comes exclusively from private, outside benefactors, foundations and investors. To learn more about opportunities to support our students financially, please see Ways to Give.

What is the curriculum for Saint Ignatius School students?

Students in grades 6-8 are required to successfully complete coursework in their core academic classes. The core subject areas at Saint Ignatius School follow the New York State Curriculum in alignment with the Common Core State Standards. The religious education program follows the NY Archdiocese curriculum. Our curriculum is demanding, engaging, standards based and addresses the development of the whole child (cura personalis). Teachers follow an interdisciplinary approach to help students understand the connections among specific core subjects which include: ELA, Math, Social Studies, Science and Religion with an emphasis on the development of the intellectual, social, moral and spiritual growth. Every student takes Music, Computers, Physical Education and Library on a weekly basis. Standardized tests including NYS ELA and Math assessments are administered in the spring to measure annual growth. Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests are scheduled in the fall and spring.

See our Curriculum

How can I get involved at Saint Ignatius School?

Our number one priority for community involvement is securing student sponsorships. Our funding goal is to establish full-year scholarships ($12,500 each) for all 80 students. Many individuals and family foundations have found this to be a highly rewarding way of investing in a young person’s future. We also actively partner with organizations and foundations who share our mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education and fund operating expenses as well as specific programs that align with their focus of interest. If you or someone you know is looking to help change a young life, we are looking to recruit additional adult mentors and tutors to work directly with our students on-site each week in the South Bronx, which is about a 10-minute walk from the local 6 subway. Finally, we host and welcome you to a number of fundraising and informational events throughout the year as well. You can read more about making a gift, volunteering, or attending an event through our ‘Get Involved’ section of our website.

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