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From the Other Side of the Desk

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by Meghann Kirzeder, M.Ed.

Program for Inclusive Education Other Side of the Desk Meghann Kirzeder

The Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) is humbled to share the following story from Meghann Kirzeder, a mother and former Catholic school teacher. Meghann (ACE 10, Nashville) is a friend of PIE, and here she provides her perceptions from the other side of the desk as she advocates for her own child to be served inclusively in Catholic schools. Many thanks for her guest authorship!

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

The "Why" Behind Your Blended-Learning Program

Monday, June 25, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Higher-Powered Learning - The Why

Do you remember the post we wrote about protecting purpose in the blended classroom? We explained that one of the most common mistakes teachers make in blended classrooms is planning activities without having a learning goal in mind for them. Teachers should resist the urge to plan activities simply so that they can increase the number of “stations” or “centers” in their classroom and focus instead on planning activities that will help students reach the learning goal for that lesson.

Luke Wajrowski: From Argentina to ACE 25

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Luke Wajrowski Argentina Fulbright

During his Fulbright service, Luke Wajrowski’s students in Argentina told him that their performance of Twelve Angry Pigs was the first English production they could recall performed in their community. The play—based loosely on Twelve Angry Men—posed frequent logistical challenges, including finding rehearsal space, recruiting student performers, and motivating students to stick with the production. But in the end, the show reflected Wajrowski’s commitment to engaging his students in learning English.

The History of FJ’s Cookie Socials

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The history of FJ's Cookie SocialsPhoto Credit: Seamus Ronan

If you want to help Fr. Joe Carey, C.S.C., bake for his weekly “FJ Cookie Socials,” just follow your nose up the Ryan Hall stairs to chocolate chip, peanut-butter, sugar-sprinkle, snickerdoodle, M&M, chocolate sprinkle-crinkle, and FJ’s “Award Winner” from Carroll Hall’s competition nine years ago: chocolate cookies with chocolate chips.

Getting to Know ACE’s Newest Communities: Philadelphia and Stockton

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

ACE Communities Stockton and Philly

Even the busy first day of summer classes can’t slow down ACE’s newest communities in Philadelphia and Stockton, who still meet for dinner to share their experiences starting new ACE sites last year. While most new ACE teachers are placed into existing communities of first- and second-year teachers, these eight members of ACE 24 established new ACE sites in Philadelphia and Stockton, California, where they forged new relationships with their schools, neighborhoods, and one another.

Blended Learning 2.0: What's Next?

Monday, June 11, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Blended Learning 2.0: What's next?

I just returned from three very full days of professional development with our Blended Learning Advancement and Strategy Teams from the Notre Dame ACE Academies in Indianapolis, and I am feeling so many things: grateful for the amazing group of teachers and leaders and their incessant hard work; proud of how far we have come in just one year; and hopeful for the future of the students in these innovative schools.

ACE 25’s First Week: To Teach as Jesus Did

Thursday, June 07, 2018

ACE 25 - To Teach As Jesus Did

“To teach as Jesus did,” as one group of new ACE 25 teachers brainstormed this week on a large sheet of butcher paper hung on an ACE office wall, is “to be adaptable to students’ needs,” “to serve others,” and to “be vulnerable.”

If You Build It, They Will Come!

Thursday, June 07, 2018 by Christie Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

If You Build, They Will ComePhoto Credit: Dmytro Aksonov

As we approach the beginning of summer, we will attend family barbeques, take road trips, and enjoy the sights and sounds of little ones running through sprinklers and eating popsicles. Some of us will volunteer at day camps or put bandaids on scraped knees following tumbles off bicycles. Others will enjoy America’s pastime and cheer on their prized team while enjoying a hot dog and box of Cracker Jacks. Summer is the time for those carefree days and a trip to the ballpark.

The Real Power of Blended Learning: Formative Assessment

Monday, May 28, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Higher-Powered Learning Blended Learning Formative Assessment

Raising the topic of assessment at a dinner party or an education conference is generally a pretty sure way to end up alone. Assessment is often an emotionally charged topic for students, parents, teachers, leaders, policy makers, and philanthropists alike, as many have strong but differing opinions about the purpose of assessments, how often they should be given, and their impact (or lack thereof) on student learning.

Blended Learning and Guided Reading

Monday, May 14, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Blended Learning and Guided Reading

We often say that the greatest benefit of blended learning is that teachers are able to work with students in small groups rather than with the whole class at the same time. There is an assumed benefit when teachers work with small groups of students at different times rather than with the whole class at the same time, but the truth is that teachers must use their small-group time very strategically in order to ensure it actually has a positive impact on their students.

Finding Community at April Retreat

Friday, May 11, 2018 by Emma Doerfler, ACE 25 - Stockton

ACE 25 April Retreat

A weekend full of prayer, learning, and relationship building came to an abrupt close for the off-campus members of ACE 25. As April Retreat ended on a Sunday afternoon, we waited for the bus to take us from Notre Dame to the Chicago airport. Someone announced that the bus had been cancelled. Before we could panic, the ACE Pastoral Team concocted a plan: we would pile into their cars, race to the South Bend station, and catch the train scheduled to leave in 10 minutes. “When you get to the train, just get on!” they told us. “You can buy your tickets later, but you have to get on board!”

High Leverage Practices: How Do They Impact Catholic Educators?

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by The PIE Team

PIE High Leverage Pracitces

Beyond the social justice and civil rights perspectives that guide us to serve the marginalized in our classrooms, we have an additional reason to reinforce the need to pay attention to this population. Jim Wright, a school psychologist and the creator of Interventioncentral.org, says, “The quality of a school as a learning community can be measured by how effectively it addresses the needs of struggling students.”

Three Foundational Principles for Personalized Learning

Monday, April 30, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

John Reyes Higher-Powered Learning

Would you believe me if I told you that the director of instructional technology for the nation’s largest archdiocese presented at our Blended Learning in Catholic Schools Symposium and hardly ever mentioned technology?

That’s right, folks. Even directors of instructional technology are looking beyond technology itself to identify the student and teacher practices that allow technology to have a transformative impact on learning.

To build on our last post about personalizing learning without technology, today we are sharing three foundational principles for personalized learning that Dr. John Reyes, the director of educational technology for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, shared at the Symposium in March.

4 Steps You Can Take TODAY to Personalize Learning for Your Students

Monday, April 16, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Higher-Powered Learning - 4 Steps You Can Take TODAY to Personalize Learning for Your Students

If you have followed our work for a while, you have probably noticed a recurring theme: outstanding blended-learning programs are about so much more than just technology.

Driven by this belief, we encourage teachers new to blended learning to spend a few months transforming their classroom without introducing a fully blended model. Teachers can harness the power of student data and personalize their instruction in a multitude of ways without using adaptive online learning programs, and we prefer that teachers master those practices first to avoid becoming overly reliant on technology.

Fighting the Good Fight to Finish the Race

Thursday, April 05, 2018 by Dan Brndjar - ACE 24, Atlanta

Dan Brndjar Marathon

Twenty miles down, three hours into the race, and my left quad starts cramping. This is really hard. This hurts. Why did I sign up for this? How am I going to finish? With these thoughts racing through my mind, a runner passes by me uttering words of encouragement: “This is what we trained for! We can do it! Just keep going!” Spectators on the sidewalk enthusiastically cheer, urging us onward. The negative thoughts start to pass away. Here we go. For the kids. I have to finish. Upon crossing the finish line of the Georgia Marathon little over an hour later, several ACE friends immediately swarm around me, congratulating me on finishing. Limping over to the ACE tent, I began to celebrate with the 40 other teachers who had all come to Atlanta from across the country to run, cheer, and fundraise for St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School. Time passed, and the pain subsided amid good food and great fellowship. Over these next few hours, I began to reflect on all that had just happened. I began to see that this marathon experience really is a great metaphor for my first year in ACE.

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