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Catholic School Experts Exploring Voucher Laws, Enrollment Gains

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 04 April 2013.

Insights are tapped by Media Covering a Range of Hopeful News

Upticks in enrollment and a legal affirmation of Indiana’s school-vouchers law have been among the good news for Catholic schools reported recently in the media. Journalists turned to a variety of Notre Dame faculty and staff for expertise on aspects of these stories.

John Schoenig, director of ACE’s Program for K-12 Educational Access and an experienced analyst of parental choice policies around the country, offered insights on Indiana’s school vouchers law. The legislative debate about amending the vouchers policy had prompted a National Public Radio reporter to interview Schoenig in February. The decision by the Indiana Supreme Court in March declaring vouchers to be constitutional led the National Catholic Register to quote Schoenig’s assessment of the ruling.

See a new "ND Expert" story outlining his thoughts on possible school-voucher implications in other states.

The latest issue of Chicago’s archdiocesan newspaper Catholic New World reports that “efforts to persuade Latino parents to send their children to Catholic schools appear to be paying off.” A key source helping to tell that story is Juana Sanchez Graber, a field consultant leading ACE’s “Catholic School Advantage” campaign in the archdiocese.

In covering a new initiative for Catholic educator engagement in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, the latest issue of National Catholic Register quotes Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. Father Nuzzi affirmed the kudos going to Bishop Robert Vasa’s planned educator-renewal program, which will spotlight key teachings of the Church: “This work of faith formation, the evangelization and re-evangelization of adults, is never done.”

Separately, Father Nuzzi's reflection on Pope Emeritus Benedict's strong support for Catholic education was presented in the popular blog Catholicmom.com.

A story in an online newsletter covering education reform, RedefinED. has reported that Catholic school enrollment in Florida increased last year. The newsletter, which has interviewed Notre Dame ACE Academies director Christian Dallavis in the past, noted a partnership with ACE Academies as one of the constructive steps taken by the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

NCEA Convention Hosted a Range of ACE Speakers and Insights

Written by William Schmitt on Wednesday, 27 March 2013.

Leadership, Catholic Identity Among Topics for Educators at Houston Event

Members of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) family and friends were among the Catholic school experts making presentations at the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Annual Convention and Expo April 2-4 in Houston, Texas.

The convention, a premier event convening Catholic school educators from around the country, offers presentations on a wide variety of topics, and the speakers from ACE addressed subjects relevant to schools’ roles in the New Evangelization. The subjects ranged from the spirituality of Catholic school leadership to virtue in high school sports, from improving school finances to increasing Latino enrollments.

A full schedule of presentations is available online from the NCEA. Those with particular ties to ACE included:

Erika Banwarth Cedrone, a partner in ACE’s Catholic School Advantage campaign, who spoke on “Increasing Latino Enrollment in our Catholic Schools.”

Frank DiLallo, M. Ed., LPC, an author published by ACE Press, spoke on “A Catholic Educator Response to Bullying.”

Jim Frabutt, Ph.D., faculty member in ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, was a co-presenter, with Rachel Waldron, MA (a graduate of ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program), on the topic, “Educating the Youngest Hearts and Minds: The Landscape of Catholic Preschool Education.”

Erik Goldschmidt, Ph.D., a graduate of ACE’s third cohort of teachers, addressed the issue of “Enhancing Faculty Faith Formation with Online Resources.”

Juana Sanchez Graber, a field consultant with ACE's Catholic School Advantage campaign, spoke on "Developing a Parent Ambassador Program" with Jean Simpson.

Mary C. McDonald, Ed. D., an author published by ACE Press, made two presentations, one titled “A Light Reflected,” and the other titled “Fishing on the Other Side of the Boat.”

Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, Ph.D., ACE’s senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, made a presentation titled “Towards a Spirituality of Leadership: A Catholic and International Perspective.” He was also a co-presenter in two other sessions—“Towards a Bright Future: Current Research on Catholic Schools” and “Catholic Section of the Praeger Handbook of Faith-Based Schools in the United States, K-12.”

Clark Power, Ph.D., director of ACE’s Play Like a Champion Today ® training and research program for character education through sports, spoke on “Developing Virtue Through Sport: A Catholic Mission for High Schools.”

Jim Rigg, Ph.D., superintendent for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and a graduate of ACE’s sixth cohort of teachers, spoke on “Blessings and Bucks: Making Sense of School Financial Vitality.”

Anne Stricherz, M.A.T., a graduate of ACE’s third cohort of teachers, spoke on “Sports and Spirituality: Fertile Ground for the New Evangelization.”

David Tompkins, M.A., faculty member in ACE’s English as a New Language certificate program and a seasoned ENL teacher, presented “Teaching the Immigrant Church: Ten Strategies to Support Linguistically Diverse Children and Promote a More Culturally Inclusive School.”

Steven Virgadamo, associate director of ACE Consulting with over 25 years of experience in managing and leading Catholic institutions, spoke on “Applied Behavioral Sciences in the Art of Face-to-Face Cultivation and Solicitation of Donors.”

A complete description of the Annual Convention and its activities can be found at the NCEA website.

 

ACE Contributes Insights to Stories on Meeting Catholic Schools' Needs

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 11 March 2013.

Experts Quoted in Interviews as Major Media Explore Faith and Hope for Students

                Media have turned their attention to the Alliance for Catholic Education recently in writing and referencing stories and commentaries that reflect hope for Catholic schools.

                The Catholic School Advantage campaign, in which ACE is partnering with dioceses to help increase Latino enrollments, was featured Feb. 28, 2013, not only in the Washington Post “On Faith” section, but at Religion News Service online, as well..

                John Schoenig, director of ACE’s Program for K-12 Educational Access, was quoted in a “State Impact” story aired on National Public Radio stations in Indiana, as he helped a reporter explore implications of Indiana school voucher policies.

                Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, senior director of ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, wrote a reflection in late February on Pope Benedict’s support for U.S. Catholic schools. That reflection was linked by the Catholic School Chronicle blog, Sam Rocha’s Patheos Catholic blog, and National Catholic Reporter’s morning briefing.

               

Latino Outreach in LA's Catholic Schools Prompts Hard Work, New Ideas, and Hope

Written by William Schmitt on Friday, 01 March 2013.

The hopefulness and community-building that undergird Catholic schools’ outreach efforts to Latino students were captured in a story in the Washington Post’s “On Faith” section on Feb. 28.

Spotlighting ACE’s Catholic School Advantage campaign “at the forefront” of those outreach efforts, the story focused on grass-roots situations in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles—such as the aspirations that have prompted Martha Rodriguez to send her children to Catholic school and the desire to serve low-income students at schools like St. Teresa of Avila.

Helping to give context to these situations was Sylvia Armas-Abad, the ACE campaign’s field consultant in the Los Angeles area. Her own outreach efforts among the Latino community (which represents such a growing, vibrant part of the Catholic population) “include canvassing neighborhoods surrounding parish schools and forming parent volunteer groups called madrinas (Spanish for godmother) at schools around the city,” wrote Religion News Service correspondent Aaron Schrank in the “On Faith” article.

Pope Benedict's Support for Catholic Schools Will Be Lasting Legacy

Written by Fr. Ronald J. Nuzzi on Tuesday, 26 February 2013.

An Appreciation: "Soul of a Nation" Remarks Resonate from 2008

Popes do not often have high levels of engagement with the world of K-12 Catholic schooling, but Benedict XVI will be long remembered and often quoted by Catholic educators in the United States.

“How beautiful are the footsteps of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15). Saint Paul wrote those words to Christians in Rome, but it was Pope Benedict XVI who spoke them to a group of Catholic educators. The occasion was a pastoral visit to the United States in April 2008.The venue was a conference hall at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

pope-catholic-schoolsWith this biblical phrase first formulated by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 52:27) and then quoted by Saint Paul, Pope Benedict praised the dedication and commitment of Catholic educational leaders, including teachers, principals, diocesan superintendents, religious educators, university presidents, and professors.

It was a grand and blessed moment for all involved in the ministry of Catholic education, for such high praise does not often come from such a high office.

His Holiness offered additional words of support and encouragement to vowed religious women and men, urging them to stay committed to educational ministries and especially not to abandon Catholic schools, which he characterized as “an outstanding apostolate of hope.”

Such a resounding endorsement from the Pope himself served as a great inspiration.

Citing the sacrifices made by countless vowed religious women and the religious communities and congregations they founded to serve in Catholic schools, Benedict XVI called for a renewed sense of sacrifice in our day in order to meet the material, intellectual, and spiritual needs of millions of students. Addressing the financial challenges of many Catholic schools today, Benedict spoke forcefully about the future and a way forward:

“[Catholic schools] provide a highly commendable opportunity for the entire Catholic community to contribute generously to the financial needs of our institutions. Their long-term sustainability must be assured. Indeed, everything possible must be done, in cooperation with the wider community, to ensure that they are accessible to people of all social and economic strata. No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.”

U.S. Catholic educators, especially those serving in K-12 Catholic schools, will never forget the Pope’s encouraging words and pastoral visit.

Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, Ph.D., is senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program in the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education. A priest of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, Father Nuzzi is a nationally recognized author and speaker on the Catholic school system in the United States.

The remarks of Pope Benedict XVI about Catholic schools in April 2008 contributed inspiration--and the title--for the 2009 report of the Notre Dame Task Force on the Participation of Latino Children and Families in Catholic Schools. See the report, titled To Nurture the Soul of a Nation: Latino Families, Catholic Schools, and Educational Opportunity, which gave rise to the Alliance for Catholic Education's "Catholic School Advantage" campaign.

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