Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School and Corporate Work Study Program was founded in 2007 as a member of the Cristo Rey Network (www.cristoreynetwork.org). The Archdiocese of Washington (www.adw.org) invited the Salesians of Don Bosco of the St. Phillip the Apostle Province of New Rochelle, New York, (www.Salesians.org) to co-sponsor and co-found a ‘Cristo Rey’ model school in the Washington metropolitan area, and to imbue the educational approach of St. John Bosco into the new school. The educational vision of the Salesians of Don Bosco inspires all those at Don Bosco Cristo Rey to teach as Jesus taught and to imitate Him in all we say and do.


Fr. Steve Shafran, SDB, was appointed Project Director beginning January 2006 and became the school’s first President on July 1, 2006. With the founding leadership in place, the school began to plan for the recruitment of the first class of students and inaugurated the renovations of the former elementary school building in Takoma Park, Maryland on December 5, 2006. During the school’s development, Fr. Steve approached Georgetown University, Jones Day, and Boland about being potential work-study employers. Their commitment to employ future Don Bosco Cristo Rey students leveraged support from 24 other companies who embraced the mission of helping DC’s neediest young people work hard for the majority of the cost of their own education.

To prepare for their new jobs, the first summer workforce training “Boot-camp” of the Corporate Work Study Program took place at the office building of the Archdiocese of Washington on Roeder Road in Silver Spring, Maryland in August, 2007. With the initial renovations complete, the doors of the new school opened on August 24, 2007 with 127 students and 17 faculty and staff on Larch Avenue in Takoma Park.

The first major expansion of the school building was completed in April 2010 with the addition of a new Library-Technology Center, Counseling, youth Ministry, Student Support and Administrative Offices along with a new entrance and building façade facing Larch Avenue. The most recent addition to the school was ready for the opening of the 2014-2015 school year, when DBCR welcomed a record-size freshmen class. This new Academic Wing added three science labs, five classrooms, the Carlyle Computer Lab, Staff Professional Resource Room, Multi-purpose Training Room, Counseling and Academic Center, new Reception area, and additional restrooms and provides the necessary technology and space to enable DBCR to grow to its intended capacity of 500. With great rejoicing, Donald Cardinal Wuerl blessed and dedicated the new expansion on September 4, 2014.


The first Graduation took place on June 2, 2011 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC with 70 graduates who were all accepted to college. Since then, 100% of Don Bosco Cristo Rey graduates have continued to be accepted to college, receiving over $16 million in merit and need based scholarships.


Don Bosco Cristo Rey is an accredited institution and has received the approval of the following entities:

  • AdvancED
  • Recognized and Sponsored by the State of Maryland
  • Recognized and Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington
  • Recognized and Sponsored by the Salesians of Don Bosco
  • A member of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)
  • A member of the Cristo Rey Network