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Motivating a Hunger for Knowledge, Not Grades

Thursday, February 02, 2017 by Monica Kowalski, Ph.D.

Monica Kowalski Motivation Theory

In the field of educational psychology, experts have many different theories of motivation. One of my favorites is ‘Achievement Goal Theory’. This theory deals with the reasons that people choose to pursue certain tasks, or the types of goals behind their behaviors. Achievement Goal Theory specifies two distinct types of goal orientations: mastery goal orientation and performance goal orientation.

5 Reasons You Should Apply to ACE Teaching Fellows

Monday, January 23, 2017 by Alex Kruszewski

I want to teach in Catholic schools

1. You will be CHALLENGED.

ACE calls our Teaching Fellows to embrace challenge: we are challenged to find ways to reach our students and to help them grow academically while also creating a sense of family in our classrooms and schools. This dual focus on heart and mind might just be the challenge you are looking for! Our ACE Teaching Fellows welcome the challenges of their classrooms and communities, creating opportunities for change with individual students and schools. Read “The Middle School Roller Coaster”, the story of Darby Evans (ACE 22) and her time in an English Language Arts classroom in Fort Worth, Texas. Many of our graduates have also leaned on their ACE experiences to tackle larger issues beyond the individual classroom. Jenny O’Donnell (ACE 16) has helped find new ways for St. Adalbert Catholic School to improve instruction and earn an A grade from the Indiana Department of Education. Read her story ”Seeking Challenge: Using Knowledge to Create Change” to see how the challenge of ACE Teaching Fellows can prepare you for future successes.

Risky Business

Thursday, January 19, 2017 by Katie Bodie, ACE 20 - Corpus Christi

First day of school

During the spring of my second year as an ACE teacher, I interviewed at a school that did not yet exist. I taught my demo lesson to the principal and president instead of students. I toured an elementary school and struggled to picture what it would look like with high school students walking the halls. Although it was difficult to predict what the first year may hold, I was drawn to Cristo Rey Dallas immediately.

Blended Learning and Social Justice

Thursday, January 12, 2017 by Elizabeth Anthony

Notre Dame ACE Academies Higher-Powered Learning Blog

Warning: I was a Philosophy major, and old habits die hard. Please indulge my philosophical musings before we jump into more actionable information.

At the heart of Christianity lies the belief that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. This central tenet of our faith should influence all of our actions, but we all know there are some instances in which this principle is easier to uphold than others. 

3 Final Lessons from 2016

Thursday, January 05, 2017 by Mary Pullano - ChACE 15; ACE 20 - St. Petersburg

Mary Pullano ChACE 15 Final Lessons from 2016

The end of the year 2016 marks the end of my experience of the ACE in Chile teaching program. I have learned so much! Moving to the southern hemisphere turned most of my preconceptions about the country upside down. I knew that I was signing up for an adventure when I said yes to ChACE, but I had absolutely no idea what unexpected experiences and extraordinary people were ahead of me. I want to highlight some of the “teachable” moments that have helped me to grow as an educator and as a person. 

Creating the Body of Christ

Monday, January 02, 2017 by Will Rigali - ACE 21, Corpus Christi

Will Rigali ACE 21 Corpus Christi ACE Teaching Fellows

Three months before my 22nd birthday, I did something that I always aspired to do: I earned a degree from my dream school, the University of Notre Dame. I was full of energy, full of life, and full of myself. It is an accomplishment that I will cherish until my very last breath. In those four years, I spent a great deal of time focusing on myself as I worked to become a polished young professional ready to enter the stratosphere of millennial society.

If I Could, I'd Still Choose You

Monday, December 19, 2016 by Theresa Steinmeyer - ACE 23, Tampa


Eight months after resolving to move back home to Chicago after college, I’m standing with one of my community members in front of a fourteen-foot plastic alligator at an official Florida Welcome Center rest stop. Over the past day and a half, we’ve driven through three states I’ve never seen before, cycled through the soundtracks of half a dozen musicals, and survived our first dinner at Waffle House. And yet, the most intimidating encounter is still a week away: our first First Day of School, when I’ll meet the 140 sophomores and juniors listed on my rosters.

What is Higher-Powered Learning? - Part 2

Saturday, December 17, 2016 by Elizabeth Anthony

Higher-Learning Blog Notre Dame ACE Academies

So now you have met the team behind Higher-Powered Learning (HPL), but you may still be wondering, “what is Higher-Powered Learning?” If you’re reading this post, you probably understand the reference to the “higher power.” We used it in our name to communicate our primary commitment to “the art of leading the young to wholeness, in the image of Jesus Christ” (Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C.). 

What is Higher-Powered Learning? - Part 1

Monday, December 12, 2016 by Elizabeth Anthony

What is High-Powered Learning? Part-OneYou may recognize this picture from ACE’s 2016 Annual Appeal Video:

As Fr. Scully says in the video, Nelvin had struggled in Language Arts, and this photo was taken after he recently achieved a perfect score on his spelling test. What the video does not tell you, though, is that Nelvin has progressed through nearly two grade-levels of reading material in a single semester thanks to his amazing ACE teacher, his own hard work, and his school’s new blended-learning program. Want to know more about blended learning? Read on!

Trust the Process

Monday, December 12, 2016 by Brendan Bell - ACE 22, Sacramento

Brendan Bell ACE 22 Sacramento

The NBA season is well underway, and as a native Philadelphian now teaching in Sacramento, I do my best to keep up with both the Kings and the Sixers. While watching the Sixers string together a couple wins recently, I started to think about how the team’s development over the past few seasons highlights some of the best lessons I learned about myself during my two years in ACE. As the Sixers closed out a win over the Miami Heat, it made me think, “Record aside, there are actually a lot of similarities between my ACE experience and the Sixers’ development over the past few seasons.” The motto in Philadelphia is “Trust the Process,” and I have found much about this theme that overlaps with my own ACE experience.

The Middle School Roller Coaster

Friday, December 02, 2016 by Darby Evans - ACE 22, Fort Worth

FB middleschool

I love it when their eyes widen. That is my favorite part.

"You teach English? To middle schoolers?" people ask, incredulous, awed. "Oh man, I was the worst in middle school."

Inclusive Schools Week—A Celebration of All in Catholic Schools

Friday, December 02, 2016 by The Program for Inclusive Education

In this season of Advent, the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) is grateful to be among an amazing network of advocates for inclusion in Catholic schools. This week we celebrate our mission and begin today, December 2, with a Day of Prayer for Inclusion.

Program for Inclusive Education Prayer for Inclusion

Were Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us?

Monday, November 28, 2016 by Caleb Cobbin - ChACE 16, ACE 21

ACE in Chile Were Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us

Earlier this month, the ChACErs met together on the road. Well, sort of. There was an actual road involved: we arrived to the retreat via a road that took us to Zapallar, two hours northwest of Santiago and seventy minutes north of greater Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. But none of us were on the same road; some ChACErs, like myself, are just beginning their time in Chile and are preparing to teach in the English department at Saint George for the upcoming academic year. Some members of the previous cohort will be staying for another year in Santiago, and some are returning to the US.

Where Two (or Seven) Are Gathered

Monday, November 21, 2016 by Brett Cavanaugh - ACE 20, Brownsville

Brett Cavanaugh Community

As a discerning senior, I was certain of only two things: I wanted to serve the Church, and I enjoyed working with young people. With those two ideas as my guide, teaching in a Catholic school seemed like the natural fit. As I learned more about the ACE program, I was thrilled about the teacher training component and confident that I would grow in my faith through teaching. The great unknown was the pillar of community. As a quiet person, I was a bit hesitant. I was used to having time to be introspective and was comfortably confident in my ability to be independent.

A Letter to My Pre-ACE Self

Thursday, November 03, 2016 by Maeve Mulholland - ACE 22, Sacramento


Dear Maeve-before-ACE,

You’re feeling pretty good about yourself, aren’t you? You have just graduated from Williams College, a prestigious school, where you were captain of the lacrosse team and were surrounded by tons of super smart people. You have “suffered” through eight-hour stints at the library, written several 15-page papers, and done this all while maintaining a decent social life and enjoying your college experience. You figure you know yourself pretty well at this point. You are hardworking, motivated, and certain that you know how to handle a challenge. Next year you’ll start at Our Lady of Grace as the third-grade teacher. You’re sort of nervous to be moving across the country to live with people you barely know. The teaching part–that’ll be difficult–but, as I said, you’re a hardworking, motivated person, right? Surely you’ll figure it out. You know yourself pretty well, after all.

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