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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...

UDL & Blended Learning: The WHY of Learning

Monday, August 20, 2018

UDL & Blended Learning: the WHY of Learning

Many proponents of blended learning lament standardized, one-size-fits-all approaches to education, and with good reason. But you don’t have to be a blended-learning fangirl like me to believe that classrooms should be flexible and adapted to meet the individual needs of each student. Customizing assessments, teaching methods, and materials to match students’ learning preferences, prerequisite skills, goals, and more are not strategies specific to blended learning – it is simply good teaching.

Spreading Inclusion Everywhere!: PIE's First Cohort of Inclusive Educators

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

In Hawaiian culture, ‘ohana’ means family. To Nacia Hatch, ohana also described the first summer for the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE).

Should Data Really Drive Your Instruction?

Monday, August 06, 2018

Should Data Really Drive Your Instruction?

I’d like to start this post with a direct quote from a teacher at a professional development session I led recently: “Elizabeth LOVES data.” To be honest, she’s not wrong! I’ve written before about the importance of data in blended-learning classrooms and how data from adaptive software programs can enable teachers to deliver targeted instruction when and where students need it most. It’s safe to say that I am a HUGE fan of student performance data, but I also recognize its shortcomings.

Accompanying through Uncertainty: ACE Ambassadors Help Others Say ‘Yes’ to Teaching

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

ACE 25 Ambassadors

I’ve never taught before, and I don’t even know where I’ll be sent to teach. How do I tell other college students what it’s like to be an ACE Teaching Fellow?

Lift Off in the Twin Cities!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Higher Powered Learning Program Take Off

June 18 marked a momentous occasion for our team – the official launch of the Higher-Powered Learning Program (HPLP) in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis! After months of anticipation and careful preparation, our cohort of 30 leaders and teacher-leaders from five schools joined forces to begin our three-year journey together.

From the Crease to the Classroom

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Katie Willis ACE 25 Crease to Classroom

Many ACErs appear on campus for their first week of ACE Summer fresh off of a college graduation or the completion of a fellowship or job. Few are coming straight from back to back NCAA lacrosse titles only a few days before. On Memorial Day weekend in Roanoke, Virginia, Gettysburg College defeated Middlebury College 11-9, with senior captain Katie Willis contributing two goals to her team’s victory. Three days later, she began her M.Ed classes at the University of Notre Dame.

From Zoggendoodleheimers to Robots: CORE Summer Camp Gets Students Coding

Friday, June 29, 2018

Marian High School Summer STEM CampPhoto Credit: Seamus Ronan

“This apparatus is one of a kind,” Jackie Salas tells her middle school students, holding up the mysterious bundle wrapped in a white plastic bag. “So, for those of you who were able to create this apparatus, you are part of Marian High School history. We’ll call it… the Zoggendoodleheimer!”

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

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.

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