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Catholic School Advantage

The Alliance for Catholic Education's Top Ten Most-Visited Stories of 2012

on Friday, 28 December 2012.

Whether through new initiatives or existing traditions, the movement of the Alliance for Catholic Education continued its mission to sustain, strengthen and transform Catholic schools in 2012.

As we move closer to our 20th year of service to Catholic education, we've sifted through all the exciting news stories of this past year to put together this list of the ten most-visited ACE stories:

1. ND Launches New Partnership Program in St. Petersburg, FL, Area

The University of Notre Dame partnered with two Catholic schools in the Diocese of St. Petersburg to form the second site of Notre Dame ACE Academies.

2. Michael Pressley Awards Go to Three Outstanding Educators

Three outstanding educators committed to sustain, strengthen, and transform Catholic schools received the 2012 Michael Pressley Awards from the Alliance for Catholic Education's ACE Advocates for Catholic Schools.

3. An Array of ACE Programs and People Energize Summer at ND

The summer break at the University of Notre Dame surged with energy as the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) began its peak season.


4. Dan Faas Delivered STT Student Commencement Address

ACE 17 Student Commencement Address given in the Monogram Room, Edmund P. Joyce Center
at the University of Notre Dame on July 13, 2012.

5. Your Future in ACE: Consider the Possibilities

This blessed time of year prompted us to look back upon cherished Christmas traditions and to look forward to a new year—often considering plans for the future that reflect our deepest values.


Catholic School Advantage Campaign in the News: Fulcrum Foundation Explores Demographic Impacts

Written by William Schmitt on Wednesday, 12 December 2012.

Seattle Symposium Hears Fr. Joe Corpora Discuss Intercultural Competency

The Fulcrum Foundation, which provides financial support for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle, reported in its recent newsletter about a symposium on intercultural competency in Catholic education.

Among the speakers at the Oct. 25 symposium was Rev. Joseph Corpora, C.S.C., addressing the gathering in his capacity as director of the Catholic School Advantage campaign and director of university-school partnerships for the Alliance for Catholic Education.

"In his presentation, Fr. Corpora explained the need for our schools to respond to the changing demographics of Catholic families and students," said the Fulcrum newsletter's winter edition. "He stressed the importance of embracing the great influx of Latino families in our parishes because they provide a future of hope for our schools and our Church."

Fr. Corpora and other speakers discussed issues such as the call "welcome all ethnically and culturally diverse families" and the need for "practical strategies" that welcome Latino families and empower Latino students.

The Fulcrum Foundation is active in key endeavors for extending the Catholic school advantage to diverse communities—namely, increasing disadvantaged families' access to high-quality educational alternatives. As noted at its website, the foundation provides tuition assistance to families, assistance to schools in need, and support for initiatives that promote academic excellence and faith formation.

On Guadalupe Feast Day, Celebrating Oakland's Latino Enrollment Success

Written by William Schmitt on Wednesday, 12 December 2012.

Diocese Sees 20% Gains from "Catholic School Advantage Campaign" Outreach

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12 calls to mind an important example of transformative approaches that have borne fruit for Latino students and Catholic schools in the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., says Sister Barbara Bray, SNJM, diocesan superintendent of schools.

Those approaches, informed through a partnership with the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), have paved the way to a 20 percent increase in Latino enrollments in one year throughout the diocese—a jump of 571 children in pre-K through eighth grade, she says.

In some schools, the changes have included basics like the arrival of a statue honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe. Catholic schools have traditionally honored the saints held dear by immigrant groups that were heavily represented in their parishes, says Sister Barbara, but sometimes they were slow in their outreach to new waves of immigrants whom they were also called to serve.

"You walked into some of our schools that were already in largely Latino areas, and could you find Our Lady of Guadalupe?" the superintendent asks rhetorically. "Well, she's there now. She's everywhere."

Placement of this beloved image of the Blessed Mother in schools was not a panacea, but neither was it merely symbolic. As with schools that embraced the values of European immigrant groups of the past, the presence of the new statues intensified relationships and community, Sister Barbara says.

Catholic Education Report Explores Leadership, Innovation & Faith

Written by William Schmitt on Wednesday, 28 November 2012.

Success Stories Celebrating Children and Education Fill 2011-2012 Annual Report

Good news about the present and future of Catholic schools fills the pages of the 2011-2012 Annual Report from the Alliance for Catholic Education. That report, released today, is available online—the first fully digital version of an ACE annual report.

This fresh collection of compelling stories about ACE's activities explores successes in leadership formation, professional services, research-based innovation, and partnerships around the United States.

Faculty and staff have shared expertise in school governance, strategic planning, Latino enrollments, and parental choice, among other issue areas. Nearly 80 bishops have engaged in ACE-sponsored conferences on advocating for parental choice policies.

The report also offers highlights of the 2011-2012 academic year for numerous initiatives through which the Alliance for Catholic Education responds to the needs of dioceses—and to the call to serve children by sustaining, strengthening, and transforming Catholic schools.

During the year, ACE offered services in 74 archdioceses and dioceses. ACE teachers and principals impacted the lives of 38,000 students.

Supporters of Catholic schools will find a valuable resource in this update on ACE's growing list of activities. Paper copies of the 2011-2012 Annual Report are available by contacting communications specialist Bill Schmitt.

In the Spotlight: Steve McClure

on Thursday, 18 October 2012.

Steve McClure was born with a generous spirit toward people and places different from his own. The gift became especially clear when, as a Notre Dame undergrad, he recognized his passion for being immersed in other cultures, particularly Latino culture. This led him post-college to Oaxaca, Mexico, where he taught English, and then to Arizona, where he served refugees from all over the world as they established new lives after fleeing their homelands. That job, Steve says, was eye-opening. "In helping refugees find employment, provide for their families, educate their children, and make simple adaptations to their lifestyle so as to succeed in the U.S., I began to vicariously experience the challenges of being an immigrant."

Today, as associate director of the Catholic School Advantage (CSA) campaign, Steve is putting that empathy to use, working alongside Fr. Joe Corpora to equip Catholic schools to better serve Latino families and students. "In many ways," Steve says, "the experience of Mexican-Americans in the US, whether first generation or third, is consistent with that of any immigrant." At base is their effort to assimilate into a culture that in many ways does not resemble their own. "The need for culturally responsive schools is absolutely critical," Steve says. Without them, students strain against the disparity between their home and school cultures, often struggling with academic achievement as a result.

Steve explains how the mission of the CSA campaign—to address the achievement gap and improve the educational opportunities of Latino children and families—is ripe for the nation's changing landscape. "ACE is serving communities in one the most... fundamental ways to effect change: education. And not only education for the sake of economic security and prosperity, but a Catholic education that [forms] both the heart and the mind. The Catholic Church has historically done well educating the immigrant church, so Catholic schools are well positioned to provide our Latino brothers and sisters with superb educational opportunities in an environment consistent with Latino culture and familial life."

To learn more about the Catholic School Advantage campaign, click here.

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