The Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) is grateful for the many educators that work tirelessly on behalf of all students in Catholic schools. During this season of Thanksgiving, we ask for many blessings upon our inclusive educators and the students, schools, and communities they serve. We extend a special thanks to PIE 1 completers Amy Matzke and Jessica Gardella for their guest authorship and moreover, their dedication to our shared mission to welcome, serve, and celebrate all students!
~Christie Bonfiglio, Ph.D.; Director of the Program for Inclusive
As we enter into this time of reflection, it is with full hearts that we share those things that make our community a family and for which we are truly thankful. The following prayer, courtesy of Living Prayers, embodies our community spirit and has enabled us to recognize God’s presence in our lives.
We feel so blessed to have been given such a wonderful family.
The Lourdes community is filled with an inclusive spirit. Weekend masses are full of lectors, ushers, and cantors of diverse ability levels and backgrounds. The church motto, “All are welcome, and all means all!” has encouraged our school to create a safe and loving environment for all types of students and families.
Through our affiliation with Notre Dame, we have come to think of our PIE cohort and mentors as an extended family in whom we can ask for support and advice. They are present to celebrate with us and to help us when we face challenges. The relationships that we have created through our studies are priceless. We know that no matter how many miles separate us, our community will sustain us as we work towards true inclusivity.
We ask that our roots would be deep in your love.
Through the PIE program, we have come to understand that the Catholic call to inclusion is Gospel-based. Our identity is rooted in the teaching of Christ, and therefore we have the perfect example of love and compassion. Through this, Lourdes Academy has been empowered to develop a Student Support Team and is filled with joy as we strive to provide a nurturing and successful place for our students. Through our time at Notre Dame, we have discovered a wonderful world of resources that we use to empower our teachers, enrich our students, and support our families.
Fill our hearts, friendships, and homes with your truth and forgiveness.
Throughout this transformative process, we have received open support from our school administration, teachers, and staff. It has been evident from the beginning that we are all committed to student success and willing to work together to meet the diverse needs of our population. This spirit of cooperation is a true gift, and we know that it will sustain us as we tackle the obstacles to come. One of the biggest blessings that we have received is the network of colleagues and experts in whom we can rely. Our PIE professors are our biggest champions, and we would not be successfully building our program without them.
We are thankful for each person, for their unique qualities and special characters.
Watch over each one and keep them safe,
Fill their lives with your goodness,
As a small school, Lourdes Academy has the privilege to watch our students grow and develop from pre-K through eighth grade. Working together over this long period provides us with the ability to get to know the students very well. It allows us to appreciate the unique nature of each family and to develop relationships that last a lifetime. The safety net that this type of intimacy creates has enabled us to lift up our families when necessary and to celebrate with them as often as possible.
Inspire their hearts to follow you,
Bless the work of their hands,
And weave us all closer together.
When we came home from our time on campus, we were so fired up and ready to change the world...nothing was going to stop us. Then the harsh realities of life kicked in, and we realized that it was going to be a tough battle. Having a loving and supportive cohort that shares ideas and experiences has helped keep the fire burning. Our leaders have been awesome and provided us with the resources we need for success.
Our Student Support Team has already been able to implement Positive Behavior Intervention Supports and use Curriculum-Based Measurement data to assist teachers and students and to track student progress. We have been able to parallel teach, alternative teach, and work with stations at all grade levels at Lourdes Academy. We are in the process of re-evaluating the Individualized Service Plans already in place and are assessing new students who have been referred for services. None of this would have been possible if we were not part of the University of Notre Dame “PIEoneers.”
For our Notre Dame family, for our PIE cohort, and for our school family, we give thanks and praise to our Almighty Father.