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The ACE Blog

New Blog, Who Dis?

Monday, September 14, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning Blog

The meme “new phone, who dis?” became popular when people began upgrading their smartphones and realized that they didn’t know all of their contacts’ information by heart. When an unsaved contact called or texted, the new phone owner could claim, “new phone, who dis?”

Awe-struck All Summer: An Update on PATH's Virtual Programming

Monday, September 14, 2020 by Alec Torigian

PATH Summer Experienece

Some admitted it more readily than others, but it certainly seemed like everyone had their doubts. How can I be a middle school writing teacher when I just completed my first year of college? How could we possibly build meaningful community over the course of a short summer in which we only ever meet through Zoom? These are such hard times ­– how could we possibly be what the kids need us to be for them?

The Aspect of Love

Friday, September 04, 2020 by Hannah Steiner - ACE 26, Indianapolis

“You’re an ACE teacher?!” one student exclaimed during a brief chat after her soccer game. “All the ACE teachers are so nice!”

I’ve met most of the people who deserve that shout out, the people who have paved my way into an automatic positive repertoire: Imani Bunn, Andrew Jansen, Allie Griffith, Sam Lobo. It extends further than that, too. It extends to every ACEr, every little cog in the great big ACE machine, dedicated towards bringing Christ to the students of Catholic schools, day in and day out. But what exactly should I take from this student's words – “so nice”?

PIE ... Slicing Up 2019-2020

Friday, September 04, 2020 by Christie Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

PIE Slicing Up 2019-20

It’s September 2020, and educators across the country are embarking on a new school year. Many things are still in question...Is it safe to educate face-to-face? If so, how long will it last? How can we reach all children with distance learning, given that schools and students are unprepared? 

Answers vary from school to school and state to state. In the face of these questions and obstacles, the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) holds steadfast in advancing the mission of inclusion in Catholic schools. PIE welcomed its 4th cohort this summer, and we are ready for whatever the new academic year brings.

In the weeks and months to come, we will continue to advocate and reach as many educators, schools, and dioceses as possible in creative ways. After all, we are in the business of accommodating and adapting to meet the needs of everyone!

Some Things Will Never Change

Tuesday, August 04, 2020 by The Program for Inclusive Education (Diane Freeby & Christie Bonfiglio, Ph.D.)

Some Things Never Change

As summer draws to a close, and we prepare for the uncertain future of the new school year, a teacher’s traditional icebreaker – What did you do over summer vacation? – is likely to evoke very different responses than past years.

Forming Educators from a Distance

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Kenna Arana

Forming Educators from a Distance

At the beginning of 2020, who would have foreseen that this would become the year of Zoom calls? Our day-to-day lives have been transformed by the need to social distance, and we’ve all had to find new ways to connect with one another. By now, we’ve become accustomed to seeing only as much of people as can fit into a rectangle, and “Zoom fatigue” is setting in. We’re eager to know what life will look like in a few months, and as educators, we’re especially eager to know what it will look like to reopen schools and classrooms.

Leadership in Teaching and Coaching

Monday, June 29, 2020 by Sam Lobo - ACE 25, Indianapolis

Leadership in Teaching and Coaching

As a high school soccer and middle school volleyball coach, I’ve had to talk about leadership to several students, so I’ve spent some time pondering this question: 

What makes a good leader?

Being an Ally as a Blended Learning Teacher

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning - How to Be an Ally

The Higher-Powered Learning team strives to empower teachers with digital tools to personalize their instruction. While our personalized learning approach hinges on the use of technology, we understand that student data comes from other places, too.

Back to Basics: Taking Care and Achieving Balance

Monday, June 08, 2020 by Diane Freeby Judy Madden

PIE Blog Back to Basics

The Program for Inclusive Education is grateful for the many skilled and generous colleagues who support our programming. It is my privilege to welcome Diane Freeby and Judy Madden as guest authors. Diane and Judy serve our ACE community and the many educators that pass through our doors. Their gifts are boundless and their laughter infectious. Thank you for your contribution to our mission and sharing your thoughts with the PIE community!  

                ~Christie Bonfiglio, Ph.D.; Director of the Program for Inclusive Education

Finding Hope from a Distance

Thursday, May 28, 2020 by Anna Bourjaily - ACE 24, Sacramento

Anna Bourjaily ACE Blog - Hope from a Distance

I’ve grown accustomed to a new norm as a teacher: sleeping in.

Instead of my usual 6 a.m. alarm, since March 16th my alarm has gone off at 7:45, with just enough time for me to roll over in bed and grab my computer. From there, I sit and wait for my school Gmail to explode with notifications of assignments posting for the day. Within minutes, another set of emails arrives from students who are up and ready to go right at 8:00 asking for clarification in directions. Nine times out of 10, they read the directions too fast, but every so often I’ve forgotten to post something or forgotten a step in the directions. So begins another day of virtual instruction. This one will not end until close to 11 p.m., once I am done grading assignments and editing the next day’s assignments. The day finishes with a daily update video for my sixth graders explaining what to expect the next day.

Zoom with a Dash of Salt: Community Dinners in the Age of Quarantine

Friday, May 22, 2020 by Audrey Scott

ACE 21 Tampa Zoom Reunion

“We had this awesome house reunion on Zoom,” says Iona (née Hughan) Popa, who was a member of ACE 21 in Tampa. “Those relationships… I know that ACE has deeply influenced who I am.”

The Remaining Pages

Thursday, May 21, 2020 by By: Joe DiSipio - ACE 25, Sacramento

Joe DiSipio - The Remaining Pages

Joe DiSipio is a member of ACE 25 in Sacramento, where he taught fifth grade for the last two years at Saint John Vianney School in Rancho Cordova, California. When his time at SJV is complete, Joe will receive his M.Ed. and join the ACE Teaching Fellows Pastoral Team to help recruit and form future cohorts of ACE teachers.This piece was originally published in the SJV parish magazine, Built on the Rock


Have you ever read a great book that so captures your imagination that you feel immersed in this story, in this world, that you don’t want to finish the book? It is a conflicted feeling; as you see the remaining pages dwindle, you are torn between wanting to know what comes next and never wanting to leave this place you’ve come to love. Maybe you never wanted to leave Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts or countless other lands. But the story must come to an end.

i-Ready Data Suggest Higher-Powered Learning is Addressing Educational Inequalities

Monday, May 18, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

i-Ready Data Suggest HPL is Addressing Educational Inequalities

In the past few months, eLearning has become necessarily widespread because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families have quickly implemented at-home structures to teach their children. Unfortunately, the extensive use of eLearning raises issues of equity. Two months after school closings, the New York Times wrote about the stark contrast between the eLearning experiences at a high-income school and a low-income school. This article highlights the differing experiences between two families who attend schools serving students from different income backgrounds. Similarly concerned with disparities during eLearning, EdSurge published an article discussing recent data from the software program, i-Ready. The latest data shows a set of troubling statistics that indicate usage data for the program is related to income levels – lower-income students are using the program at lower rates. Still, when they are using the program, they are using the program for longer periods than those in other income levels.

Accelerating the Transition to eLearning

Friday, May 15, 2020

Accelerating the Transition to eLearning

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to move to eLearning, many schools around the country and the world struggled to make this shift. In some cases, districts reduced instructional time, while in others it led to parent, student, and teacher frustration.

A Time for Everything

Thursday, May 07, 2020 by Bridgette McDermott

Clock - Time for Everything

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away...a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace…” - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4, 6-8

As I reflect on the past few weeks, these verses from Ecclesiastes have stuck with me. I have often found myself teetering between moments of pure hope and joy and moments of pain and sadness. We have all entered into a “new normal,” learning how to love and to sacrifice for those around us in the midst of social isolation and pandemic fear. It can feel challenging and difficult to weather this season of life and to remain hopeful in the process.

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