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The ACE Blog

December Retreat 2018: A Photo Essay

Thursday, December 13, 2018

December Retreat 2018 Photo Essay

Each year, ACE teachers gather in Mable Falls, Texas, for our annual December Retreat. December Retreat serves as a weekend of rest, reunion, prayer, and celebration. This year’s December Retreat theme, “Disciples with Hope to Bring”, draws from the Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

12 Days of Christmas for Inclusion

Monday, December 10, 2018 by Christine Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

In the season of giving, the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) would like to propose the following gift ideas for your students. If you follow the traditional 12 days of giving, your students will experience an inclusive classroom all throughout the year. PIE has linked one popular resource with each of the 12 days of Christmas. Wishing you peace and joy this holy season!

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

FTK

Monday, December 10, 2018

Higher-Powered Learning For the Kids

One of the ACE Teaching Fellows’ favorite sayings is “FTK,” which stands for “for the kids.” Everything we do, we do on behalf of the students we serve. So how is the Higher-Powered Learning Program impacting students?

Leader Feature: Bridget Kramer

Monday, November 26, 2018

Higher-Powered Learning Program Bridget Kramer

In the few short months we have known Bridget Kramer, we have seen her take full ownership as she leads a new initiative while remaining steadfast in her commitment to all of her other responsibilities as the leader of a beautiful school. Learn more about the key steps Bridget has taken to advance the Higher-Powered Learning Program and cultivate a positive school community for teachers, parents, and students in today’s post.

The Blessings of Being a "Volleyball Aunt"

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by By: Dana Deradoorian - ACE 24, Tucson

Dana Deradoorian ACE 24 Tucson Volleyball Aunt

"AHHHH, A-C-E, ACE!"

The volleyball players on the court shout and roar, the substitute players repeat with equal gusto, and finally the crowd in the stands echo the cheer one last time. Another perfect serve, another ace, another point for the St. Augustine Wolves!

3 Ways Your Small-Group Instruction May Be Failing

Monday, November 12, 2018

3 Ways Your Small-Group Instruction May Be Failing - Higher-Powered Learning

In recent years, small-group instruction has become one of the hottest topics of education. Because blended learning enables small-group instruction, it is extremely important to us. Many people assume that a lower student-to-teacher ratio automatically leads to higher quality instruction, which leads to more effectively meeting students’ needs. But is that really the case?

Saints and Scholars Welcome

Tuesday, November 06, 2018 by Kitty Harrington, ACE 24 - Mission

Kitty Harrington Saints and Sinners

When you enter the fourth-grade classroom at St. Joseph School in Edinburg, Texas, the first thing you’re likely to notice is a large sign that reads “Saints and Scholars Welcome.” This sign, along with the bunting around the room that is covered in images of canonized saints, serves as a reminder–a reminder not just to the nine-year-olds who arrive each morning, but also to me as their teacher: the purpose of this sacred place is greater than we realize, and we are not alone on our journey to fulfill this purpose. We look to the saints as role models throughout the year, and in religion class we learn their life stories: laughing at their misadventures, crying for their tragedies, and wincing at each lost limb.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for PIE

Monday, November 05, 2018 by Amy Matzke & Jessica Gardella - Lourdes Academy, Daytona, FL (PIE 1)

PIE Thanksgiving Prayer

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

Teacher Feature: Rachael Hillman

Monday, October 29, 2018

Rachael Hillman Higher-Powered Learning

We are thrilled to feature for the very first time a classroom from one of the Higher-Powered Learning Program schools in Minnesota! Read on to learn more about one of the most innovative classrooms in the program and what Rachael Hillman has learned in her first few months of blended learning.

Celebrate Good Times....with Data!

Thursday, October 11, 2018 by By: Francesca Varga

One critical piece of a successful blended learning program is the teacher’s use of student data. No matter how detailed data reports may be, they are useless without a teacher analyzing and acting upon them. We have seen creative, fun ways that teachers are implementing data tracking and celebrations in their classroom and wanted to share four of our absolute favorites with you. Need data celebration inspiration? Read on!

Being First

Tuesday, October 02, 2018 by Beth Foraker - Founder, National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion

Being First

The Program for Inclusive Education is privileged to partner with many amazing educators and organizations across the country that support and advocate for inclusion in Catholic schools. It is my privilege to welcome Beth Foraker, the founder of the National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion, as a guest author. Her tenacity and dedication to this mission extends across the country, and she has impacted so many families and schools with her gifts. It is a blessing to share her words, and PIE is grateful to serve alongside her!

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

Five for Five

Monday, October 01, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Learning Five for Five

When we initially visited and selected schools for the first cohort of the Higher-Powered Learning Program, our three-year, blended-learning implementation program, we were shocked by the differences among schools. The largest schools have nearly 400 students each, while the smallest has just over 100. A few of the schools have more contemporary architecture with clean, white walls and big windows; others have the look of a classic Catholic school, with rock-solid walls and exposed brick (maybe they’re just being trendy?).

STAR Goals: The Importance of Personalized Student Goals

Monday, September 17, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Rocket Fuel - Higher-Powered Learning

As we mentioned in this post, one of the most powerful ways our teachers increase student engagement and learning is to help students set individual goals for their learning. Of course, setting goals for student learning is not something that only happens in blended classrooms, but we have found that it is especially crucial to the success of blended classrooms because learning is so much more individualized. Therefore, we generated four of our own criteria for successful student learning goals, and we want to share those with you today.

"Burning Down Barns"

Thursday, September 06, 2018 by Nacia Hatch, PIE 1

Burning Down Barns - Program for Inclusive Education

The Program for Inclusive Education’s (PIE) first cohort completed programming in July and embarked on their mission of inclusive education following an energizing two-week capstone experience on the campus of Notre Dame. It was a time of spiritual retreat, community unification, and comprehensive instruction after a year of online programming. The experience was filled with joyous convergence, passionate advocacy, and humble gratitude. Nacia Hatch lived this inaugural experience and was introduced in the August Blog. It is my privilege to share her thoughts following her journey with PIE. Many thanks for Nacia’s guest authorship and all she is doing to welcome, serve, and celebrate all students!

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

"Ohana" Means Family

Tuesday, September 04, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Ohana Means Family Higher-Powered Learning Blended Learning

The Higher-Powered Learning team is growing, and we are excited to introduce you to our newest member, Francesca Varga! Francesca was a teacher and instructional leader for nine years before joining us at ACE this summer. She has extensive experience with blended and personalized learning at the middle and high school levels. Below is Francesca’s first contribution to our blog–but certainly not her last!


We often preface the concept of blended learning by citing the need to fill students’ learning gaps through data-informed instruction. However, in my nine years of teaching, I have found that culture and building community and strong relationships with students is essential to the success of blended learning, and of learning more broadly. Here is a quick glimpse into my inspiration for implementing blended learning in my classroom and the students who made it possible...

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