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Catholic School Advantage

Moments with Multicultural Saints: Mother Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas

Written by Rachel Quinones, ACE 23, Katy Lichon, Ph.D., Jennifer Dees, M.Ed., Clare Roach, M.Ed. on Monday, 30 October 2017.

This is our latest installment of the English as a New Language Program’s Moments with Multicultural Saints, intended to provide useful classroom takeaways that will help you to broaden perspectives, teach about the universal Church, and find inspiration from saints from around the world. This month, we highlight the life of Mother Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas. You will find two different versions below, tailored to the appropriate age range of your students.

ACE Partners with Notre Dame Men's Basketball to Help St. Catherine of Siena

Theo Helm on Tuesday, 17 October 2017.

St. Catherine of Siena Notre Dame Men's Basketball

The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) will be working Friday night with the University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team to help St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School in Port Arthur, Texas, and other schools recover from recent hurricanes.

Archbishop Gomez Visits Holy Cross Grade School

Theo Helm on Tuesday, 10 October 2017.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles visited Holy Cross School in South Bend on October 3 to celebrate Mass and visit the school’s dual-language immersion program.

Defying the Odds

Written by Steve McClure on Thursday, 24 August 2017.

One Catholic School’s Journey to Becoming a Model of Educational Excellence in the Most Unlikely of Places

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For sixty years, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Academy has been working small miracles in a low-income, predominantly Latino neighborhood of southwest Denver. Operating within a limited budget, the school has given children, many of whom society has labeled as ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘at-risk,’ the opportunity to discover their God-given potential, develop a deep love for learning, and a desire to achieve excellence as scholars and as young men and women of upstanding moral character.

When Jeannie Courchene became principal of St. Rose of Lima in 1999, the school was in physical disrepair and in dire need of renovations. Mrs. Courchene and the pastor began the long road to “cleaning up” the school, while also brainstorming ways to attract more students. They developed a marketing brochure that proclaimed, “We’ve turned old lumber into computer tables, cardboard boxes into window shades, and hundreds of at-risk children into high school graduates. It’s our modest attempt to follow a man who turned a few loaves and fishes into a meal for thousands.” These words capture the vibrant purpose and achievement of the students, parents, teachers, and leadership embodied by this Catholic elementary school.

Within eight years of Mrs. Courchene at the helm, enrollment had exceeded two-hundred for the first time in twenty years. Through her efforts to build relationships in the community and establish a development board to help stabilize enrollment and put the school in a more viable financial position, St. Rose of Lima was able to make many necessary improvements and become a model of educational excellence.

Because of their success, especially in serving the Latino community, St. Rose of Lima was featured in the University of Notre Dame’s 2009 publication, To Nurture the Soul of a Nation: Latino Families, Catholic Schools, and Educational Opportunity. Seven years later, we revisited St. Rose to interview several members of the extraordinary team of people, without whom the school’s transformation would have never been possible.  

Watch the whole story below:



A Commitment to Diversity: First Racially-Integrated School in South Carolina Continues its Legacy through Latino Outreach

Written by Manny Fernandez on Wednesday, 23 August 2017.

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Every school has a story to tell.

Throughout the six-year history of the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI), we have seen Catholic school principals from all over the country come to the LEI in the hopes of transforming their schools, and in essence, change their school’s story. Some schools are near closing and desperately need to increase enrollment quickly. Other schools already have a large Latino population and simply want to start serving them better. And still schools see their neighborhoods, their country, and the Church changing and want to be proactive in making sure their school is ready for this inevitable change.

When Shaileen Riginos of St. Anne Catholic School in Rock Hill, South Carolina, applied to the LEI in the summer of 2015, she asked herself, “What do I want our school story to be?” Their enrollment was healthy, their finances were in order, and parents were happy with the direction of the school. But one major area gnawed at her. Despite the fact that St. Anne’s parish was 28% Latino, there were very few Latinos enrolled in the school. With the cost of tuition, attracting low-income families was proving to be difficult.

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