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About ACE

Catholic schools have established themselves as unparalleled engines of both human formation and social transformation. They have a proven record of producing young men and women who are more likely to graduate from high school, engage in the political process, and give back to society through charitable activities.

For the future of our children, our Church, and our nation, it is imperative that we preserve and transform these institutions, which have so much potential to, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI put it, “nurture the soul of our nation.”

We are committed to doing everything we can to achieve this goal, and we need your help. Since the program’s founding in 1993, ACE has strengthened K-12 schools through innovative practices in four realms integral to school transformation: forming talent, expanding access, enhancing school vitality, and conducting research on school improvement.

Today, with a presence in every state in the country, we strive to ensure that all children, regardless of background, have the opportunity to receive an excellent Catholic education.

Learn more about ACE and it's beginnings from Fr. Tim Scully's interview on the "Catholic School Matters" Podcast with Dr. Tim Uhl.



Forming Leaders

 enhancing vitality

Always striving to form the next generation of teachers and school leaders with the talent, imagination, and zeal to serve some of the most under-resourced schools in the United States, we have deepened and expanded our formation efforts in a number of ways. With enhanced recruitment efforts, an innovative “good-to-great” principal formation program, and a redesigned and newly endowed initiative focused on English language learners, we seek to renew and transform our schools to meet the changing needs of our society and Church for years to come.

ACE Teaching Fellows forms talented, faith-filled college graduates to renew and transform Catholic school classrooms. ACE Teachers form a select cohort of the nation’s top emerging Catholic school teachers and leaders, and through ACE’s innovative instructional model, they develop the skills and knowledge necessary to serve our nation’s children, especially those from low-income and immigrant communities.

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The Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program prepares future principals of Catholic schools to lead with skill and zeal. Remick Leaders work to strengthen and transform their schools by cultivating intentional Catholic school culture, applying executive management skills to direct school operations, and increasing academic achievement through data-informed, mission-driven instructional leadership.

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Expanding Access

 expanding access

At the heart of ACE’s mission are our efforts to provide a high-quality education to as many children as possible. By increasing access to high-performing Catholic schools, we can give more children the chance for a great education. Through multifaceted efforts to change the educational policy landscape and to help schools maximize the opportunities already available to them, we strive to bring to reality our belief that parents have the right to choose the highest quality education for their children.

The Catholic School Advantage Campaign seeks to catalyze a vibrant national movement that focuses on both promoting the unique value of Catholic schools to Latino communities and helping these schools respond effectively to the unique needs of their Latino families.

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The Program for Educational Access is a multidisciplinary collaborative enterprise dedicated to increasing access to quality education opportunities for low-income families, with a particular focus on parochial schools.

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Enhancing School Vitality

 enhancing vitality

Catholic schools have long provided a high-quality education to all children who arrive on their doorsteps. With this in mind, ACE works to bolster the ever-increasing standard for academic excellence in Catholic schools, while maintaining—indeed, reinvigorating—the Catholic culture and identity that make these sacred places one of our of greatest national treasures.

From academics and athletics to culture and spirituality, ACE sustains and strengthens the vibrancy of Catholic schools for the children who need them most. Our work extends to the following areas:

Notre Dame ACE Academies comprise a national network of academically excellent, financially sustainable, and distinctively Catholic K-8 schools, serving low-income families and preparing students for both college and heaven.

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The Notre Dame Center for STEM Education seeks to increase student interest in, identity with, and learning of the STEM disciplines through unique programs, such as the Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows, summer camps, and professional development.

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Research and Publications

 enhancing vitality

While many of ACE’s initiatives provide tremendous talent and human resources to Catholic schools, we are also aware that we must continuously assess the success and limitations of our own programs, and address the need for increased scholarship and research on Catholic education and quality education more broadly. At the same time, we must work to engage the national education reform conversation with the unique value of Catholic schools. Our emphasis on rigorous research and public outreach will expand in the coming years.

The following research and publications are currently in progress or are available for download. You may also visit the ACE Press site for more information about books and reports for purchase. For more information on educational research, please visit the about the Institute for Educational Initiatives homepage.

Lost Classroom, Lost Community. This book by Margaret Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett shows that the closing of Catholic schools harms the very communities they were created to bring together and serve, and it will have vital implications for both education and policy debates.

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