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Trust in Jesus 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 by Brian Scully

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 by Brian Scully

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!

Some Things Will Never Change

Tuesday, August 04, 2020 by The Program for Inclusive Education (Diane Freeby & Christie Bonfiglio, Ph.D.)

Some Things Never Change

As summer draws to a close, and we prepare for the uncertain future of the new school year, a teacher’s traditional icebreaker – What did you do over summer vacation? – is likely to evoke very different responses than past years.

Forming Educators from a Distance

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Kenna Arana

Forming Educators from a Distance

At the beginning of 2020, who would have foreseen that this would become the year of Zoom calls? Our day-to-day lives have been transformed by the need to social distance, and we’ve all had to find new ways to connect with one another. By now, we’ve become accustomed to seeing only as much of people as can fit into a rectangle, and “Zoom fatigue” is setting in. We’re eager to know what life will look like in a few months, and as educators, we’re especially eager to know what it will look like to reopen schools and classrooms.

Leadership in Teaching and Coaching

Monday, June 29, 2020 by Sam Lobo - ACE 25, Indianapolis

Leadership in Teaching and Coaching

As a high school soccer and middle school volleyball coach, I’ve had to talk about leadership to several students, so I’ve spent some time pondering this question: 

What makes a good leader?

Being an Ally as a Blended Learning Teacher

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning - How to Be an Ally

The Higher-Powered Learning team strives to empower teachers with digital tools to personalize their instruction. While our personalized learning approach hinges on the use of technology, we understand that student data comes from other places, too.

Back to Basics: Taking Care and Achieving Balance

Monday, June 08, 2020 by Diane Freeby Judy Madden

PIE Blog Back to Basics

The Program for Inclusive Education is grateful for the many skilled and generous colleagues who support our programming. It is my privilege to welcome Diane Freeby and Judy Madden as guest authors. Diane and Judy serve our ACE community and the many educators that pass through our doors. Their gifts are boundless and their laughter infectious. Thank you for your contribution to our mission and sharing your thoughts with the PIE community!  

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

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