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What U.S. Catholic Schools Can Learn from Education in Haiti

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Without windows.

Without lights.

Oftentimes without basic school supplies.

As we visited Catholic schools in Port-au-Prince, I found myself wishing there was something we could do to provide these children with the type of education that many of us experienced, an education where so many things are provided and even taken for granted.

Making the Dream a Reality: 3 Challenges from Dr. King

Saturday, January 16, 2016 by Alec Torigian


As a young man with no smartphone and poor map reading skills, I naturally got lost the first time I drove to see the school at which I would teach in Mobile, AL. Everything and everywhere was new, and I had no idea how to get around. Then I saw it…Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. I knew my school was the last historically black Catholic school in the Archdiocese, and I knew it played a role in the city’s civil rights movements, particularly in the ‘60s. With only that information, I headed toward the street sign and took the turn in faith; sure enough, I eventually stumbled upon the beautiful old school I would be blessed enough to call home for the next two years.

The Key to a Successful School Year? Try Joy

Thursday, January 07, 2016 by Kole Knueppel


During my time as a school leader, we regularly set a goal to have the most joyful school in the country.

We reminded our team and family of teachers that as ambassadors of Christ and his church, there must be a marked difference between our school and the schools down the street. To live distinctively as a disciple of Christ does not mean that we carry ourselves in sanctimonious, somber obedience, grimly waiting for eternal rest. Instead, the closer we are drawn to Christ, the more light and tender-hearted our outlook can be.

Why What We Believe about Students Really Matters

Wednesday, January 06, 2016 by Mary Frances "Frankie" Jones


In the current political climate of education reform and high-stakes accountability, we often hear calls for “higher expectations.” For those of us invested in the work of transforming Catholic schools, we wouldn’t argue for lowering them.

ACE's Top Stories of 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

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As we prepare for the ball to drop, for a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne, and to ring in the New Year with loved ones, New Year’s Eve also gives us a chance to look back at the year we’ll be leaving behind. Here at ACE, we’d like to share with you our top stories from 2015, a year filled with blessings for all those who devote their lives to Catholic schools.

Plus, what’s more fun than a countdown?

A New Year’s Resolution Inspired by New Teachers

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


“What are you looking for in a candidate?”

I hear this question a lot while coordinating off-campus recruiting for ACE Teaching Fellows. My answer reliably centers around the three pillars of our program — formation as a professional educator, community building, and spiritual growth — since these are the three non-negotiable priorities of a Catholic school teacher, especially one choosing to live in intentional Christian community with other recent college grads as ours do. Get experience with real-life students, I say, and ideally in a classroom setting, because it’s different than how you remember it. I often enumerate the character traits that we ask recommenders to comment on: grit, zeal, self-awareness, organization, gratitude, leadership, integrity, and openness to spiritual growth.

An Advent Call to Discipleship

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


I once taught a student who made me think daily about “building community,” something near and dear to our hearts at ACE. He often sat alone during partnered work in math, simply refusing to engage—he didn’t reach out to the community, but no one reached out to him either.

A New Hope: Catholic Schools and “The Force Awakens”

Friday, December 18, 2015


A long time ago, in a diocese far, far away . . .

. . . women and men lined up outside movie theaters across the country, wearing costumes and waiting with breathless expectation for the most anticipated film in years. At last, the weekend had finally arrived in which the world could all witness the cinematic masterpiece that is Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Road Chip.

Just kidding.

Kitchen Table Connections (or 5 Ideas to Re-Envision Homework)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 by Clare Roach, M.Ed.


I don't need to read the newspapers or the latest Edutopia guest blog to encounter the great homework debate. I need only sit down at my kitchen table on any given afternoon to identify with both sides of the argument. On one hand, I can see that homework extends learning outside the classroom and provides extra opportunities for practice and scholarship. But I can also sympathize with opponents of homework who argue that it cuts into family time and is too often meaningless and rote.

Why the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Is a Win for Catholic Schools

Monday, December 14, 2015


For a more detailed look at the original ESEA and the effects of the new ESSA on Catholic schools, see this memo from friend of ACE Steve Perla.

When the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was signed into law in 1965, it was seen as a milestone on the path to ensuring every student had fair and equal opportunities to receive an excellent education.  For many, this was great news.

With a focus on closing the achievement gap between low and middle income children, the legislation was a marquee piece of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Despite the significant changes that have come with reauthorization every five years since 1965, ESEA hasn’t strayed too far from its original purpose; namely, aiming to provide all children with equitable educational opportunities. Again, encouraging news.

ACE Blog Roundup: End of the Semester Got You Feelin’ Grinchy?

Friday, December 11, 2015

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Here are some Catholic Ed Stories to Make Your Heart Grow Three Sizes:

For many Catholic school educators out there, there’s only a few more days until the long-awaited Christmas break. Whether you’re a teacher in a rush to create final exams or a school leader working to get all of your ducks in a row in time for break, here are a few major stories in both the Catholic and educational (and oftentimes both) world to read if you’re looking for little break.

Celebrate Advent a la Mexicana with Las Posadas

Wednesday, December 09, 2015 by Katy Walter Lichon, Ph.D.

LasPosadasBlogPhoto credit: Barbara Johnston, University of Notre Dame

Are you are looking for ideas on how your school can be culturally responsive and sustaining for Mexican-American students this Advent? You may want to consider celebrating Las Posadas. This interactive and vibrant tradition of seeking posada, Spanish for accommodation or an inn, is more than four hundred years old and provides students a rich experience in which to engage their faith.

Our team in ACE’s English as a New Language Program have compiled what we hope will be helpful resources for teachers, leaders, and students to better understand the celebration of Las Posadas and incorporate it into your school’s holiday celebrations.

The Critical Family-School Connection

Friday, December 04, 2015 by James M. Frabutt, Ph.D.


Last week I had the opportunity to present to the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Charlotte. Hosted at Charlotte Catholic High School—and with a few past, current, and hopefully future Remick Leaders in attendance—the presentation focused on faith, parents, and Catholic education.

The talk draws on a qualitative analysis that colleagues and I conducted by isolating what more than thirty Church documents—dating back to 1885–had to say about parents and Catholic education (summarized in an ACE Press Publication, Entrusted in Faith, Frabutt & Rocha, 2009; see also Frabutt, Holter, Nuzzi, Rocha, & Cassel, 2010).

One of the prominent themes derived from these documents is that parents are the primary and principal educators of their children, and they best model the Christian life by being witnesses of the faith themselves. The documents build on that foundation, however, by stressing that parents do not bear this responsibility alone. In the true nature of community, they bring to fulfillment the education of their offspring via deep partnership with teachers and educators.

Hurrah for the Pumpkin Pie!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by Matt Kloser, Ph.D.


Imagine this charge: write a blog post that integrates the mission of Catholic schools, Thanksgiving, and STEM education. Impossible you say? On the contrary…

Give Thanks for Catholic Schools

Monday, November 23, 2015


Family and friends, good health, and the many other blessings God has given us—these are all things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. At ACE, we’re also thankful for the incredible gift of Catholic schools. These sacred places are making a lasting impact on the lives of children all across the country every day.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I asked a few of our team members to share the things for which they are most thankful. Here's what they had to say:

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