In response to national data showing Latinos to be both the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. Catholic Church and the most under served by Catholic schools, the University of Notre Dame's Catholic School Advantage Campaign founded the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) in 2012. This initiative identifies and assists Catholic schools with a substantial unmet capacity (open seats), favorable demographic potential – namely, a growing number of Latino families in the surrounding area – and motivated principals by teaching them and select faculty leaders how to transform their schools to attract and serve Latino students more effectively.
The LEI was built around the premise that the principal is the single most important lever for change in a school, whether it be in establishing an environment that is culturally responsive to Latino families, implementing strategic marketing and recruitment efforts to boost Latino enrollment, or simply assembling the right team capable of carrying out these efforts. Furthermore, the principal’s capacity to implement important and lasting changes is accentuated by the support of the pastor and key members of their staff and faculty. It is for this reason that each principal is asked to bring one member of his or her faculty who will help to implement the strategies learned at the summer conference. In addition, a third spot is reserved for the pastor of each eligible school should he choose to attend as well. Our experience shows that in schools with effective principals and pastors who are equally engaged in this mission to welcome and serve Latino families more effectively, dramatic gains can ensue.
For a recap of the 2016 Latino Enrollment Institute, click here.
The four-day summer program takes place on the campus of the University of Notre Dame and includes lectures and presentations from school leaders with demonstrated success in developing innovative Latino outreach programs. Some of the key areas of focus are:
- A deeper understanding of Latino cultures and traditions
- Intercultural competency and what it means for your school
- Enlisting faculty, staff, and parents to reach out personally to Latino families and invite them to Catholic schools
- How to think about development - cultivating and maintaining private and corporate donors
- Bright spots - a look at specific schools that provide an ideal "witness to the possible" as regards Latino recruitment efforts
Since 2012, 163 Catholic schools from 72 (arch)dioceses have participated in the LEI, with some schools experiencing upwards of a 100-percent increase in Latino enrollment in just a short time.
In addition to the summer program, each school works with a mentor principal from the LEI Design Team during the subsequent academic year. The mentor principals establish a fruitful working relationship with the participating schools that they oversee through regular phone calls, email communication, and an actual visit to the school to offer onsite consultation and feedback.
This coming summer, we will welcome two groups of Catholic school leaders from across the country to campus for the 2017 Latino Enrollment Institute. The dates of the program are:
- Sunday, June 18 — Wednesday, June 21
- Sunday, July 9 — Wednesday, July 12
Unfortunately, the application period for the 2017 Latino Enrollment Institute has now closed. If you would like to stay informed on all things related to the Catholic School Advantage Campaign, including the availability of next year's LEI application, subscribe to our quarterly newsletter!