The School Culture Initiative is an exciting new undertaking in Ireland by University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education. It aims to offer schools a rich and engaging two-year programme aimed at strengthening and sustaining their Catholic School Culture.
Using a model developed and implemented with Catholic schools in the US, but tailored for an Irish context, individual School Culture Teams (the principal plus two other teachers) are supported over a two-year period to introduce, explore and implement the school culture framework. The process focuses on schools exploring the issue of Catholic school identity from their own perspective and being conscious of the rich tapestry of experiences different schools bring to the initiative.
A collaborative approach is employed, with the various School Culture Teams engaging as a single cohort for the delivery of induction, training seminars and ongoing support. Throughout the two years the Culture Teams from the Partnership Schools gather regularly, forming a supportive community, from which all can draw advice and encouragement as they journey through the process.
The initial experience of a pilot run by ACE with the inaugural school partners has been extremely positive. According to Angela Mitchell, Principal of Loreto Senior National School in Crumlin, “Our partnership with the University of Notre Dame has provided us with a wonderful opportunity for learning as a school community. The partnership is providing a structure and framework to guide us using research proven methods. Being part of the ‘Culture Formation Team’ along with those from the other schools taking part has allowed for a natural network of teachers to develop a community with whom we can share ideas and gain support and advice from. The external support and facilitation from the Notre Dame Team has helped us to ask some of the hard questions that start important conversations in relation to our Catholic school identity and ethos.”
Click here for the list of all our Culture Initiative participants.