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From PIE’s Desk to Yours

Friday, December 04, 2020 by By: PIE 2 Educators with an Introductory Excerpt by Jenny Zander, Early Childhood Center Director - St. Theresa Catholic School in Phoenix, AZ

PIE Blog - From PIE's Desk to Yours!

The Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) presents a special resource this month: From PIE’s Desk to Yours. We hope you enjoy words of affirmation from inclusive educators who participated with our second cohort. The PIE 2 educators have witnessed struggles and successes, yearned for more for every student, and joined our mission to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. In addition to their encouragement, they each provide an evidence-based practice (EBP) that they learned during PIE, which is dedicated to effectively supporting diverse learners in their classrooms. Jenny Zander writes the introductory excerpt, and we hope you will explore the remaining EBPs for implementation in your classroom. Many thanks to the amazing inclusive educators who continue to give their very best and welcome, serve, and celebrate all students in Catholic schools!

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

Making Pandemic Changes Count: Part 2 - Motivate the Emotional Side

Monday, November 30, 2020

"File:Macbook Pro Power Button - Macro (5477920228).jpg" by vincentq from Melbourne, Australia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0"File:Macbook Pro Power Button - Macro (5477920228).jpg" by vincentq from Melbourne, Australia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every day we see schools changing in response to the pandemic: new procedures, hybrid classes, increased engagement with technology. You can ensure these changes are not made haphazardly. You can ensure these changes count. 

Think of this time of imposed change as an opportunity to lead your school toward positive student outcomes and lasting school improvements. In Part 1 of this series, inspired by Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch, we presented tactics to lead fellow teachers by engaging the rational side of change-making. This week we will discuss motivating the emotional side.

Making Pandemic Changes Count: Part 1 - Direct the Rational Side

Monday, November 23, 2020

"Old Light Switches" by Orange Steeler is licensed under CC BY 2.0"Old Light Switches" by Orange Steeler is licensed under CC BY 2.0

School change can be intimidating, arduous, and bumpy–like riding a mountain bike down a curvy path. With the added complication of pandemic accommodations, changing your school’s trajectory may seem ill-advised or impossible. We argue that now is precisely the moment to take a close look at your school’s path, particularly with regard to technology. We are already in a period of school change; you and your fellow teachers are already making decisions about the new identity of your classes. How will you ensure the changes you make are meaningful, positive, and lasting? How will you leverage this difficulty into an opportunity?

Finding Grace in the Daily Drive

Monday, November 23, 2020 by Kenna Arana

ACE Teaching Fellows - Finding Grace in the Daily Drive

Whitney Lim and Raymond Moylan never know what their daily drive down Broad Street in Philadelphia will bring, but they both agree that it’s grace-filled.

As first-year teachers in ACE 27 and community members, they’re part of a long ACE tradition: carpool buddies. That means mornings and afternoons swapping stories and reliving the fun parts of the day together.

Adapting Lesson Plans for COVID-19 Guidelines

Monday, November 09, 2020

Higher-Powered Learning - ACE Blended Learning

Your class undoubtedly looks different than it did one year ago. Still, you must teach the same information with the same quality you did one year ago. How?

Whether you are distance learning, in-person, or hybrid, safety guidelines necessitate alterations to your lesson planning. Recreating lessons from top to bottom may be unfeasible right now, and understandably so. (Frankly, this may feel unfeasible during the best of times). Adapting past lesson plans using current guidelines helps maintain rigorous learning goals and precludes abandoning hard work from previous years. Below are some suggestions for adapting lessons to COVID-19 guidelines as you:

Build and Never Give Up!

Friday, October 30, 2020 by By: Jill Reffett - Executive Director, Enriching Many By Reaching All in Catholic Education (EMBRACE) Kansas City, KS & Jeanne Loftis - Co-Founder, Oregon Inclusive Catholic Education (Oregon ICE) Portland, OR

The Program for Inclusive Education is pleased to introduce Jill Reffett and Jeanne Loftis, two amazing advocates for inclusion in Catholic schools. Both women direct non-profit organizations that advocate and provide support for Catholic schools in their pursuit to include ALL students. Jill is the executive director of EMBRACE and Jeanne co-founded Oregon ICE. PIE will highlight these organizations in individual blogs, but now we highlight their personal journeys as mothers of children with Down syndrome on the heels of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Thank you, Jill and Jeanne for your tireless efforts to welcome, serve, and celebrate ALL students, as well as your personal accounts! 

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

Where Two or Three Gather: Christocentric Distance Learning

Monday, October 26, 2020

Higher-Powered Learning - ACE Blended Learning

“[St. Francis called] for a love that transcends the barriers of geography and distance, and declares blessed all those who love their brother ‘as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him.’”

The opening paragraph to Pope Francis’s new encyclical Fratelli tutti reminds Catholic schools of their extraordinary task, fostering an environment of genuine care towards and among our students. Our schools look very different than they have in past years. The call remains: to acknowledge, include, and love each person.

How do we promote true fraternal love among distanced students? How do we deepen our schools’ Christocentric actions? We will look into three aspects of a Christocentric environment—community, tradition, and witness—and some approaches to promoting them through distance learning.

Music To My Ears: Technology in the Performing Arts Classroom

Monday, October 12, 2020

Music to My Ears - ACE Higher-Powered Learning

When conceptualizing blended learning, we often think of subjects like math, science, and reading comprehension. Performing arts may seem like it’s on the opposite side of the learning spectrum from technology — “calculation” vs. “inspiration.” Can computers ever enhance performing arts instruction? Brian Scully, the newest member of the HPL Team, writes about his experience teaching music through blended learning and the gift of personalization that technology brought to his classroom.

Gold Moments

Monday, October 05, 2020 by Katie Barrett (PIE 3) - Science & Inclusive Education Teacher at St. Mark Catholic School in Indianapolis, IN

Katie Barrett Program for Inclusive Education

The Program for Inclusive Education is grateful to collaborate with dedicated educators across the country who support and advocate for inclusion in Catholic schools. It is my privilege to welcome Katie Barrett from St. Mark Catholic School in Indianapolis, Indiana, as PIE’s guest author this month. Katie was a member of the PIE 3 cohort, and she has graciously agreed to share her thoughts about why she was called to participate in PIE. Thank you, Katie for your commitment to welcome, serve, and celebrate ALL students!    

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

A First Communion and a New Community

Thursday, September 24, 2020 by Kenna Arana

Alliance for Catholic Education Teaching Fellow Blog - A First Communion and a New CommunityPhoto credit: Morgan Hale (ACE 27 - Jacksonville)

As a student at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, Nick Hughes (ACE 27, Detroit) was trying to learn more about the Catholic faith. Although he was baptized Catholic, St. Thomas’ Catholic identity didn’t play a role in his initial decision to attend.

Nick didn’t know it at the time, but his decision to explore his faith in college would play a major role in his post-graduate plans. Not only that, it would ultimately lead to the celebration of his First Communion during his first summer in ACE.

Choosing Joy

Monday, September 21, 2020 by Corey Gayheart, ACE 26 Austin - 5th & 6th Grade Teacher at St. Louis Catholic School

Sometimes we have teachers that touch our lives in ways we only discover once we are well past their class in our lives. Those teachers can be few and far between for some kids, and for others, they may be every teacher at their school. Other times, those lessons don’t come from a teacher, but from a mom, or an older sister standing up to a bully at your bus stop. Being a teacher, I recently discovered one of those “far off” lessons that one of my teachers subtly and unknowingly gave me years ago: choosing joy.

New Blog, Who Dis?

Monday, September 14, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning Blog

The meme “new phone, who dis?” became popular when people began upgrading their smartphones and realized that they didn’t know all of their contacts’ information by heart. When an unsaved contact called or texted, the new phone owner could claim, “new phone, who dis?”

Awe-struck All Summer: An Update on PATH's Virtual Programming

Monday, September 14, 2020 by Alec Torigian

PATH Summer Experienece

Some admitted it more readily than others, but it certainly seemed like everyone had their doubts. How can I be a middle school writing teacher when I just completed my first year of college? How could we possibly build meaningful community over the course of a short summer in which we only ever meet through Zoom? These are such hard times ­– how could we possibly be what the kids need us to be for them?

The Aspect of Love

Friday, September 04, 2020 by Hannah Steiner - ACE 26, Indianapolis

“You’re an ACE teacher?!” one student exclaimed during a brief chat after her soccer game. “All the ACE teachers are so nice!”

I’ve met most of the people who deserve that shout out, the people who have paved my way into an automatic positive repertoire: Imani Bunn, Andrew Jansen, Allie Griffith, Sam Lobo. It extends further than that, too. It extends to every ACEr, every little cog in the great big ACE machine, dedicated towards bringing Christ to the students of Catholic schools, day in and day out. But what exactly should I take from this student's words – “so nice”?

PIE ... Slicing Up 2019-2020

Friday, September 04, 2020 by Christie Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

PIE Slicing Up 2019-20

It’s September 2020, and educators across the country are embarking on a new school year. Many things are still in question...Is it safe to educate face-to-face? If so, how long will it last? How can we reach all children with distance learning, given that schools and students are unprepared? 

Answers vary from school to school and state to state. In the face of these questions and obstacles, the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) holds steadfast in advancing the mission of inclusion in Catholic schools. PIE welcomed its 4th cohort this summer, and we are ready for whatever the new academic year brings.

In the weeks and months to come, we will continue to advocate and reach as many educators, schools, and dioceses as possible in creative ways. After all, we are in the business of accommodating and adapting to meet the needs of everyone!

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