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Finding the Best-Fit High School for Every Child

by Partnership Staff
2 minute read

Mason Jennings graduated from the Partnership’s Sacred Heart school this month, following the path of his two older siblings. He’s headed to Regis High School next year; his brother, Myles, attends Cardinal Hayes; and his sister, Diem, attends Convent of the Sacred Heart. They each chose a different high school—and together, they embody the goal of the Partnership’s high school placement support program: finding, being accepted to, and securing funding to attend the “best fit” high school for every student.

“The Jennings family is a shining example of how parent partnership and student agency can access excellence in High School Placement,” says Chris Matesic, the Partnership’s High School Placement Director.

Diem, the eldest, was initially on track to attend a specialized public school. Her mother describes her as highly goal-oriented and focused, and thus likely to excel anywhere. Yet the rising junior has found something more at Convent of the Sacred Heart: co-curriculars like violin that sustain a passion begun in elementary school, exchange programs with sister Sacred Heart institutions across the globe, and personalized attention from teachers that “helps me grasp and understand topics and classes that I may need help with,” explains Diem.

Myles embraces the standout welcome he has received from the Cardinal Hayes community—a welcome he in turn extends to others. “I’ve made friends in my honors classes and I consider my lacrosse teammates brothers,” he explains.

Mason gravitated to Regis for the academic challenge it offers: “Next fall, I look forward to overcoming obstacles and continuing to succeed,” he shares. But he also sought out a high school that could continue another foundation he has built in elementary school: an active spiritual life. “Sacred Heart has spiritually prepared me for the best school experience because they helped me actually establish and build on my relationship with God,” he notes.

The Partnership’s Sacred Heart School has been an integral partner in nurturing all three, says Mason, Myles, and Diem’s mother, Enjoli Francis. “It is really helpful when you can send kids off to school and know that the same things that you are saying to them at home are reflected at school–a sense of yourself, of your potential, of your leadership.” 

Myles, Mason, and Diem Jennings
Myles, Mason, and Diem Jennings

She and her husband considered other school options but sent all three children to Sacred Heart based on the strength of its co-curricular programs, like music, its academic program, and the faculty’s clear investment in and attention to her children. “They saw what we’re trying to do and became a part of that.” 

When it came to high school placement, Ms. Francis credits principal Abi Akano with suggesting that Diem take the admissions exam for Convent of the Sacred Heart. “That opened the door to us keeping our ears open to all the possibilities” for Mason and Myles as well.

Our schools are beyond fortunate to have parent partners like Enjoli Francis and Mark Jennings and high school partners like Regis, Cardinal Hayes, Convent of the Sacred Heart. To have others who see the same promise in our students that we do means the world to all of us at the Partnership. Thus, the Jennings’ family’s experiences highlight more than the value of our network’s high school placement program; they demonstrate that helping kids thrive truly is a partnership.