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Articles tagged with: Catholic School Advantage

Mercy and Compassion: Fr. Joe Corpora Reflects on His Papal Appointment

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 by Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.

Mercy and Compassion: Fr. Joe Corpora Reflects on His Papal Appointment

In early January, we announced the exciting news that our own Fr. Joe Corpora received an invitation from Pope Francis to serve this Jubilee Year of Mercy in a special role as a Missionary of Mercy. The charge of the role, as outlined in Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), encourages designated priests to extend Jesus Christ’s call to welcome all into the church, sinners and saints alike, particularly through the priests’ role as confessors.  

Upon returning from his Ash Wednesday missioning, Fr. Joe shared with us his thoughts from the trip to Rome. The following are his words. 

Every Student Succeeds Act: English Language Learning Children Not Left Behind

Monday, February 15, 2016 by Katy Walter Lichon, Ph.D.

ENLFebruary15on15thEnglish learners (ELs) are the fastest growing population in U.S. schools. By 2025, nearly 1 in 4 US school children will be an EL. While their numbers grow, their performance lags behind their native English-speaking peers. Less than 63 percent of English-language learners graduate high school in time. The recently minted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) might provide an opportunity for educators who aim to help ELs thrive.

Celebrate Advent a la Mexicana with Las Posadas

Wednesday, December 09, 2015 by Katy Walter Lichon, Ph.D.

LasPosadasBlogPhoto credit: Barbara Johnston, University of Notre Dame

Are you are looking for ideas on how your school can be culturally responsive and sustaining for Mexican-American students this Advent? You may want to consider celebrating Las Posadas. This interactive and vibrant tradition of seeking posada, Spanish for accommodation or an inn, is more than four hundred years old and provides students a rich experience in which to engage their faith.

Our team in ACE’s English as a New Language Program have compiled what we hope will be helpful resources for teachers, leaders, and students to better understand the celebration of Las Posadas and incorporate it into your school’s holiday celebrations.

The Critical Family-School Connection

Friday, December 04, 2015 by James M. Frabutt, Ph.D.


Last week I had the opportunity to present to the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Charlotte. Hosted at Charlotte Catholic High School—and with a few past, current, and hopefully future Remick Leaders in attendance—the presentation focused on faith, parents, and Catholic education.

The talk draws on a qualitative analysis that colleagues and I conducted by isolating what more than thirty Church documents—dating back to 1885–had to say about parents and Catholic education (summarized in an ACE Press Publication, Entrusted in Faith, Frabutt & Rocha, 2009; see also Frabutt, Holter, Nuzzi, Rocha, & Cassel, 2010).

One of the prominent themes derived from these documents is that parents are the primary and principal educators of their children, and they best model the Christian life by being witnesses of the faith themselves. The documents build on that foundation, however, by stressing that parents do not bear this responsibility alone. In the true nature of community, they bring to fulfillment the education of their offspring via deep partnership with teachers and educators.

Celebrating Your School's Cultural Diversity

Tuesday, November 03, 2015 by Clare Roach, M.Ed.


If you want to know how to host a great Culture Night at your school, borrow a play from the playbook of Walt Disney Elementary in Mishawaka, Indiana. To cast a spotlight on the richness of their wonderfully diverse community, this school has hosted a Culture Night every May for the past 16 years. "Every year we try to add a new element as our school and the event evolve," says faculty coordinator and music teacher Robi Davidson. "This is the event at our school that makes me most proud to be a teacher at Walt Disney."

"It really brings our learning community together," says assistant principal Ryan Towner. "At Disney, we speak 23 languages. Most of our families live in nearby apartments and don't always get enough opportunities to interact with one another at school. But on Culture Night, our school community turns out. It's an opportunity to be unified by pride in our children and to celebrate all the richness and benefits we get from being such a diverse community."

Celebrating Día de los Muertos: A Melding of Indigenous and Catholic Traditions

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by Clare Roach, M.Ed.

BlogDiadelosMuertos 2Photo by Nathan Solis, courtesy of the Eastsider LA. Originally appeared in Students learn about love, death & Dia de los Muertos at an East L.A. cemetery, October 30, 2014. For Catholic school teachers, celebrating Día de los Muertos can be a magnificent way to encourage students to pray for and remember their deceased family and friends. It can also be an opportunity to celebrate, honor, and learn from students and families of Mexican and Central American descent and the richness of their cultural heritage.

“the celebration of Día de los Muertos is as beautiful as it is profound”

Like Halloween, Día de los Muertos is a holiday linked to the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls in the Catholic liturgical calendar. But, unlike Halloween, which has become mostly about candy and costumes for the sake of entertainment, Día de los Muertos is a holiday that celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died and the generations of ancestors who have gone before us.

From family picnics at grave sites, to lavishly decorated home altars, to the aroma of marigolds and pan de muerto, the celebration of Día de los Muertos is as beautiful as it is profound. Here are some ways to help children young and old learn about this important holiday.

Eight Ways Catholic Schools Can Be More Welcoming to Latino Students

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

"El entusiasmo es contagioso" 
“Enthusiasm is contagious”


Throughout the United States, Latino populations are on the rise, especially in the Catholic church. Latinos now make up approximately 70 percent of all practicing Catholics in the United States under the age of thirty-five, yet only 3 percent of school-aged Latino children are enrolled in Catholic schools. Oftentimes, Latino families can feel disconnected with their local Catholic school, many of which are designed to cater to an immigrant community of a different generation. Here are eight ways to help your school become more welcoming to Latino families:

1. Ditch the deficit mindset. Too often, when considering Latino outreach, people approach the topic with a deficit mindset, asking, “why don’t they do this the way we do?” Not a single strategy (and there are thousands) will work if you see Latinos’ growing presence in the United States as a problem. But if you believe in your heart and mind that welcoming Latino families is part of God’s providence, and see it as an opportunity, you’ll approach it with zeal, energy, and life. You’re bound to be more successful.

2. Realize that it takes work. Reaching out to Latino families and making your school more welcoming for them isn’t rocket science, but some of it is counterintuitive to how an Anglo-centered mind might work. We all have hidden biases and prejudices about how life works and about the way things are—stop for a moment to consider these biases, and think about how others might approach things differently.

3. Do the small things. Latino outreach is not just about hanging a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the office or providing a Mass in Spanish—but those things help! Make sure your school offers clubs centered around things valued by the Latino culture and, if possible, offers extra classes after school like Spanish for those who don’t speak it, and English for parents whose first language is Spanish. Make sure that all of the forms at your school are in both English and Spanish. When it comes to the small things, make every effort to show that there isn’t a dominant culture at your school, and that it’s welcoming of all cultures.

8 ways catholic schools can be more welcoming to latino students4. Look for potential community knowledge. Using the real life of your kids (and their parents) to help them learn is an excellent strategy for any teacher, but can be particularly helpful in making your school more welcoming for Latino families. Once again, ditch the deficit mindset and start thinking about the community as rich with resources. What gifts do your Latino parents have that could truly benefit your students, and how can you incorporate those gifts into your lessons? Answering this question will not only benefit your students, but will also improve the relationship you have with your students’ parents.

5. Increase your knowledge. As simple as it may sound, it makes a difference to know your stuff. Teachers and administrators should be knowledgeable in the process of language acquisition, best practice for English language learners, and culturally responsive and sustaining classrooms. Remember that many immigrant children feel as though they have to check their culture and language at the door, but you can find ways to honor and celebrate their culture and language—it’s who they are.

6. Reach out with care. A recent Edutopia blog argued that the number one thing you can do on a back-to-school night to connect with parents, more than providing information, is to show them that you care about their children. This is doubly true for Latino parents. Latino culture strongly values relationships, and the more trust and confianza you can instill, the more successful you’ll be in building those relationships. Show parents that you love what you do, that you love your school, and that you really care for their kids—remember, el entusiasmo es contagioso (“enthusiasm is contagious”).

7. Weave the community into the school. Your school should not be separated from the community, but rather a part of the community. Encourage families to bring their gifts and talents to the school community, and see the relationship as reciprocal. Don’t forget to ask questions, and help your students to ask questions of each other and their own families. These questions can help to validate the importance of each student’s own culture and family.

8. Invite, invite, invite. Invite Latino parents to come to school to help with refreshments after Mass, invite grandparents to attend weekly Mass with the students, invite parents to share their gifts with their children’s classrooms. But don’t just invite them once—invite, and invite again, and invite again. Make all the families in your community—Latino and otherwise—feel as though you’re not just welcoming them to the community, but actually want them there.

Latino families can be an incredible blessing for Catholic schools, bringing rich cultural experiences and expertise to the community. We should strive to continue to help these families feel welcome in our shared mission to provide as many children as possible an education that is academically excellent and authentically Catholic.