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Making Dreams Possible through Inclusive Education

Monday, April 01, 2019 by Brian and Marcie Schaab, ASA Parents
All Saints Academy-Grand Rapids, MI

All Saints Academy Grand Rapids - Inclusive Schools

The Program for Inclusive Education is privileged to continue last month’s inclusion story. All Saints Academy (ASA) opened its doors to ALL learners and welcomed Maya Schaab. Six years later, Maya’s parents describe their unique experience. Thank you Brian and Marcie Schaab for your faith in ASA and your willingness to share your journey.

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

The Biggest Dance

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 by Maddie Felts, ACE 24 - Dallas

March Madness - ACE Community Basketball

As we enter the last week of March, many of us are following our brackets and the NCAA basketball tournament. Back at Notre Dame, groups of students are putting together their lineups for the largest 5-on-5 outdoor basketball tournament in the world, Bookstore Basketball. Here in the Dallas ACE community, however, our first-year teachers are anxiously awaiting preparation for the premier basketball tournament of the year: the ACE Summer Community Basketball tournament.

A Guide to Implement Blended Learning in a Middle School Language Arts Classroom

Monday, March 25, 2019 by Francesca Varga

This post was originally posted on the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education's blog for Teen Tech Week. 


Welcome to middle school: the awkward in-between stage when students are not bright-eyed little ones anymore, but they are not quite independent learners yet either. Middle schoolers often need a bit of a push to “buy in” to instruction, but when the connection happens, it is like magic. Recently, we talked about blended learning and what it looks like in an elementary classroom. Although some of the same practices can successfully occur in the middle school blended classroom, teaching and learning looks quite a bit different in this distinct context.

So Blessed I Said "Yes"

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by Casey Gelchion - ACE 24, St. Petersburg

Casey Gelchion Blessed to Say Yes

“Wow. I wish I could do ACE." I distinctly remember being surprised by this thought during my junior year at Notre Dame. Since my freshman year, I was drawn to ACE. I had attended nearly every ACE event without thinking I would ever apply. I was an avid supporter and cheerleader who carried the ACE-decorated water bottle, magnets, and posters, but I was also an accounting student on track for a career in finance. At the time I couldn’t imagine a way to reconcile these two forces.

HotDog Man to The Rescue!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Hot Dog Man Teaser

“Can we have a piece of paper?”

Students often ask this question of teachers, and it can lead in a number of different directions. For Eve Wenger’s third-grade students at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Oklahoma City, the question ended up taking them further than she ever could have imagined.

How to Implement Blended Learning in an Elementary Reading Classroom

Monday, March 11, 2019

How to Implement Blended Learning in an Elementary Reading Classroom

This post was originally posted on the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education's blog for Teen Tech Week. 


Technology has revolutionized innumerable aspects of our lives. Do you remember when you had to call someone’s home phone to ask them a question, rather than shooting off a text message? Or when a trip overseas involved a long and dangerous journey rather than a quick airplane ride with free movies and snacks? There are very few industries that remain undisrupted by radical technological innovations, but one that has not changed nearly as much as others is education.

When Did You Become an Inclusive School?

Monday, March 04, 2019 by
Michael Debri, M.A., M.Ed.; Executive Director/Elementary Principal
Abby Giroux, M.A.; Middle School Principal
All Saints Academy-Grand Rapids, MI

All Saints Academy Grand Rapids - When did you become an inclusive school?

The Program for Inclusive Education is privileged to collaborate with many amazing educators across the country who support and advocate for inclusion in Catholic schools. It is my privilege to welcome Michael Debri and Abby Giroux from All Saints Academy (ASA) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as guest authors. ASA is committed to opening its door to all learners, and it is a blessing to share their story. Thank you for your tireless efforts for inclusive education!

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

Reigniting a Love for Teaching

Monday, February 25, 2019

Elizabeth Anthony - Reigniting a Love of Teaching

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the impact the Higher-Powered Learning Program is having on students. Everything we do, we do on behalf of the students we serve. But for Father Nate, Francesca, and me, the students we serve are the teachers on the schools’ Blended Learning Advancement and Strategy Teams (BLASTs) who work tirelessly to learn and implement new methods of instruction in their classrooms.

Navigating Turbulence

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Higher-Powered Learning Navigating Turbulence

Turbulence is a fairly common occurrence on plane rides. Although you get the occasional smooth ride, most flights involve at least a few jumps and shakes. I consider these rough patches to be an unavoidable part of almost every one of my travel experiences, and I think this can be a metaphor for many areas of life.

Gathering Doesn’t Have to Be Gourmet

Tuesday, February 05, 2019 by By: Shawn Hall, ACE 24 - Indianapolis

Shawn Hall - ACE 24 Community Indianapolis

Cooking has been a source of joy throughout my life. While cooking feels like a daunting task to many, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where I learned my way around the kitchen. At an early age, I picked up the fundamentals of cooking from my dad, and we still enjoy cooking together when I am home. When I learned that community dinners would be an essential part of the ACE experience, I saw this as another stepping stone on my path toward culinary greatness. Teaching middle school math and science would just be my day job (just kidding, Sister Gail).

In-Sites for Inclusion: Better than Pinterest!

Thursday, January 31, 2019 by Christine Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

The Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) advocates for best practices in meeting the needs of all learners. With many resources available at the click of a mouse, PIE encourages you to look for and implement frameworks, strategies, and interventions that are backed by research and proven to be effective. The following resource provides a synthesis of websites featuring evidence-based practices. It is PIE’s gift to you for 2019. Many thanks to my national colleagues and members of the PIE faculty for their combined authorship on this resource: Dr. Michael Faggella-Luby of Texas Christian University and Dr. Sean J. Smith of the University of Kansas.

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

4 Keys to Giving Great Feedback

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 by Francesca Varga

4 Keys for Great Feedback

Frequent, specific feedback is shown to be one of the most powerful ways to improve teacher instructional practice and, ultimately, student growth. But what does helpful, growth-promoting feedback look like? The best feedback conferences are framed as comfortable, open conversations. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: when you are confiding in a friend or someone you are comfortable with, you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to advice. According to Bracken and Rose's 2005 book, When Does 360-Degree Feedback Create Behavior Change? And How Would We Know It When It Does?, great feedback should have the following characteristics:

The Infamous “What Should I Do with My Life?” Question

Monday, January 28, 2019 by Maggie Blake - ACE 24, Washington, DC

What Should I Do With My Life? Maggie Blake

“What should I do with my life?”

I've faced this question at two particular moments in the last few years. The first time I approached this question was during the semester that I spent studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland. One day, on a train ride to a town in the west of Ireland, I got an email that set off little alarm bells in my brain: “Apply for the ACE Internship & Early Admission!” I deleted the email immediately. My sister had been a member of ACE 21 and I had seen just how challenging the ACE experience was for her. Why would I voluntarily choose to go through two years of challenge and stress?

Higher-Powered Feedback

Monday, January 14, 2019 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Feedback

Most teachers know the critical importance of feedback in the classroom. Regular feedback delivered in dialogue with students has been shown to be one of the most powerful ways to improve student learning (and we’ve written about how blended learning enables students to receive more frequent feedback here). In the Higher-Powered Learning Program, the teachers are our students, and we apply many of the same principles of student learning to these teachers’ professional development.

A Small Wonder

Thursday, December 20, 2018 by By: Jackie Winsch, ACE 24 - Philadelphia

Jackie Winsch - A Small Wonder - ACE Teaching Fellows Philadelphia

“A small wonder where minds soar and hearts touch.”

Just before you reach Saint Laurentius School's vibrant blue and yellow school door, these words greet you on a sign outside the school. A local school in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Saint Laurentius's 125-year history continues to fuel a changing and evolving geographical area with tradition, community, and faith-filled education.

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