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Happy Presidents' Day

on Friday, 18 February 2011.

We can't prove it, but we think that our first president would join the ACE Advocates for Catholic Schools:

George Washington on Morality:

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

George Washington on Education:
"The best means of forming a manly, virtuous, and happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail."

Denver Advocates Raise Funds with Fun

on Tuesday, 08 February 2011.

“Hope,” wrote Emily Dickinson, “is the thing with feathers/that perches in the soul/and sings the songs/without the words/and never stops at all.”

 And sometimes hope is the person with an ACE t-shirt, and all the people s/he brings into the movement to support Catholic schools.  One example: Sarah Grey and her band of Denver Advocates, who on a cold, snowy February weekend hosted a wildly successful Happy Hour fundraiser for Ignatius Loyola Catholic School.

Transitioning gracefully from a full workday to fundraiser prep, Sarah arrived at the venue with arms full of baskets and balloons and all manner of event décor.  Lindsay Fitzpatrick carried in her own carful of supplies, and with a little help, the two began to hang photos of the Loyola kids, lay out table cloths, and arrange auction items. They hung a “giving tree” with red construction paper advertising myriad donation items, from colored pencils to games to clocks, and placed a small basket at the door so folks could throw in cash contributions.  Kathy Steinlage brought the finishing touch—ACE Advocates flyers to place on each table.

At the end of the night, the event raised $1900, almost doubling last year’s amount, and providing another reminder that the Spirit drives this movement, singing the songs without the words, and never stopping at all.  

Denver ACE Advocates celebrate the success of their Happy Hour Fundraiser

Sigan Adelante: Bishop Kicanas' Call to Keep Going

on Wednesday, 02 February 2011.

Newman and Ex Corde: Proud to be Catholic

In an address to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Bishop Gerald Kicanas reflects on the responsibility of Catholic universities to form laity for service to the world and the Church.  In doing so, he encourages Catholic colleges to redouble their contributions to Catholic K-12 schools, and thanks the Alliance for Catholic Education for, "sending an army of young teachers and administrators to work in poorer communities in many dioceses," and for the formation of Notre Dame ACE Academies in Tucson.

Bishop Kicanas' speech is an inspiring reminder that to be Catholic means accepting the call to spread the Gospel message with fidelity and vigor. The text is below.

Presentation to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting
Washington, DC
January 30, 2011

Catholic colleges and universities matter much. Your work makes Christ's mission come alive and flourish. Through you the faith is handed on to others. My respect for you and what you do every day could not be greater.

I esteem the challenge you give your students to live not for themselves but for others, preparing them to contribute selflessly to their community. One of the core characteristics of a Catholic college or university identified by Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae is "an instituional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family" (Ex Corde, 13,3) You live out this commitment in exceptional ways.

I value the scholarship of your faculties, women and men for whom being Catholic means a grand curiosity about life and a willingness to question and explore, always with the blessed assurance of revelation and Church teaching as guide.

I marvel at the countless ways you assist the Catholic community by your counsel and advice, by your involvement and generous sharing of your resources, by your fidelity to your Catholic identity in which you take such pride.

I once was who you are; I once was where you are.

ACE-Ireland's Roman Retreat

on Wednesday, 02 February 2011.

by John O'Malley, Coordinator of ACE-Ireland

Every year, the ACE Advocate community in Dublin organizes a retreat for former ACE teachers. We feel that this helps to strengthen the fellowship between us and also gives us an opportunity to refocus on our mission as Catholic school teachers. This year, we took our first trip abroad, and spent four days in Rome in early January. Our group was led by Fr. John-Paul Sheridan, a priest of the Diocese of Ferns (in the south of Ireland) and a great friend of ACE.

Catholic School Students, Achievement, and Motivation

on Wednesday, 02 February 2011.


By James Frabutt, Ph.D., and Anthony Holter, Ph.D., Remick Leadership Program.  Janine Bempechat and colleagues explored beliefs about academic achievement among a sample of low-income, urban adolescents enrolled in Catholic schools.  Their 2008 article, Beyond the Rhetoric: Understanding Achievement and Motivation in Catholic School Students, describes a longitudinal project in which students were interviewed in depth about the role of education in their lives, their teachers’ goals for them, and family and peer support for learning.  Qualitative analysis of interviews and focus groups with the students revealed three major themes, outlined below.

  1. A Culture of Caring Pervades Catholic Schools.  Students routinely mentioned the caring and family oriented environment of their school, noting that teachers were interested not only in students’ academic success, but their emotional and social well-being as well.  One student explained: “It’s like they care for you so much at this school, they make sure they don’t want nobody, you know, to fall down in their grades and fail and not be able to, you know, reach their goals in life” (p. 171). 
  2. Students Believe They Must Take Personal Responsibility for Learning. Students explained that goal setting, consistent effort, and persistence were the drivers of academic performance.  When their academic achievement was poor, students tended to attribute this to internal factors (e.g., “I wasn’t careful in my work”) rather than external ones (e.g., “That teacher doesn’t like me”). One female student clarified, “I mostly think that effort is something that you put in, and it shows if you have effort, it shows if you don’t have effort” (p. 172).
  3. Adaptive Achievement Beliefs Pervade Catholic Schools.  Students explained that “mistakes and setbacks are a natural part of learning.”  When a student encounters an instance of academic failure, it need not be debilitating and lead to feelings of helplessness. In dealing with the academic challenges of high school, one student said “failure is not really something bad; I would try my hardest to do it again” (p. 173-174).

The authors summarized that “when given the opportunity to express their views, these Catholic school students focused on their teachers’ commitment to them as learners and articulated mature and sophisticated views about their learning” (p.174).  They further concluded that a better understanding of Catholic school students’ apparent motivational advantage can enhance educational reform efforts more broadly.
Bempechat, J., Boulay, B. A., Piergross, S. C., & Wenk, K. A. (2008). Beyond the rhetoric: Understanding achievement and motivation in Catholic school students. Education and Urban Society, 40(2), 167-178.