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The NativityMiguel Model

The NativityMiguel model was created in 1971 with the establishment of a small school in Manhattan’s Lower East Side to fulfill the needs of underserved neighborhoods by providing quality, tuition-free education to low-income children who demonstrated the discipline and desire to learn in a challenging academic environment. The school was rigorously structured to prepare its graduates for admittance to area private and Catholic high schools, and ultimately became the inspiration for other educators seeking to provide an outstanding education to inner-city students. Today there are more than 70 schools based on the NativityMiguel model, serving over 5,500 low-income students in 28 states and Canada.


The model is characterized by:

  • Small schools with small classes

  • Quality, holistic education: academic, physical, social, creative, emotional and spiritual

  • Extended school day, week and year

  • Family engagement 

  • Equitable education for under-resourced communities

  • Accessible; not tuition driven

  • Life skills and a support system that continues through high school


The academic demands and high standards for moral values cultivate discipline, motivation, and compassion toward others. In addition to succeeding academically, NativityMiguel school students become leaders and agents of change within their communities.


NativityMiguel schools have a proven record of success:


  • Ninety-two percent of alumni from network schools graduate from high school; 74% of those alums enroll in private or independent high schools, compared to a national average of 6% for minorities.

  • Almost 80% of alumni graduate from high school in four years, whereas the national average for comparable students is 55%.

  • Sixty-one percent of network alumni enroll in colleges and universities, which is 30% higher than the national average for low-income students.

  • Fifty-six percent of the alumni are graduates of colleges or trade institutions, versus a 14% national average for similar students.

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