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Catholic School Advantage

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.

Student numbers grow in Chicago school

on Thursday, 09 February 2012.

The Catholic School Advantage Campaign works with (arch)dioceses to open up the possibility of a Catholic education to more students. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, St. Collete has seen a record 13% growth after working with the CSA Campaign. Read more about the wonderful story of St. Collete and other great news from Chicago Catholic schools in the Spanish newspaper Catolico. St. Colette.

Father Joe Corpora Appointed as Bishops' Consultant on Education

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 02 February 2012.

Rev. Joseph Corpora, C.S.C., director of university-school partnerships in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed a consultant to the Committee on Catholic Education of theU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Father Corpora, who is working to boost Latino enrollments in Catholic K-12 schools in his role as director of ACE’s Catholic School Advantage campaign, will consult with the bishops’ committee for a term extending to November 2014.

The committee provides guidance for the educational mission of the Church in the United States in all its institutional settings; its scope includes Catholic elementary and secondary schools as well as Catholic colleges and universities.

Catholic Educators Honored as "Champions of Change"

Written by William Schmitt on Friday, 27 January 2012.

Four of the White House Honorees Have Connections to ACE

The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) is honored to be part of the career stories of three educators who were saluted by the White House on Jan. 25 as "Champions of Change." A fourth educator who was spotlighted is another supporter of ACE, as seen in the formation for leaders in her diocese. ACE is pleased to join in thanking all ten of the champions of Catholic education who were spotlighted in the Washington, D.C., ceremony. They share in ACE's commitment to offer all young people, especially the disadvantaged, the opportunity for a high-quality Catholic education.

Among the honorees was Joseph Womac, a graduate of ACE’s ACE Teaching Fellows program. In recent years, he has served as executive director of the Fulcrum Foundation, a Seattle-based organization whose fund-raising has helped more than 10,000 low income students attend Catholic schools.

Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Tucson in Arizona, was also one of the honorees. She noted that her purview includes an in-depth partnership with the Notre Dame ACE Academy initiative, in which ACE and Notre Dame are working with local educators to strengthen three diocesan schools.

A third honoree was Yvonne Schwab, principal of St. James the Less Catholic School in Columbus, Ohio.  As the White House press release noted, “Mrs. Schwab and her staff have worked closely with the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education. This connection has provided the staff with necessary training for the new population” of her school, which is largely Latino. A recent news story posted at ACE’s website described the school’s adoption of ideas from the ACE Catholic School Advantage campaign.

Annette "Mickey" Lentz is chancellor of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Among the steps leading to success in this honoree's schools, the Archdiocese has built partnerships with higher education institutions to help teachers earn advanced degrees. "Reflecting Mickey's ardent support of ACE, her archdiocese has sent more candidates to the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program (RLP) —preparation for a principal's duties and other leadership roles—than any other diocese," said Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, senior director of the RLP.

The salute to the ten educators included individual comments and panel presentations giving voice to the honorees' love for Catholic education. Womac, in his reflection, said that preserving the American dream for millions of American families involves preserving Catholic education.

"I saw this first-hand teaching in Catholic schools in Louisiana as a part of the University of Notre Dame's service program, the Alliance for Catholic Education," Womac told the White House audience. "I see it first-hand every day at work in the hopeful lives of thousands of students attending school with Fulcrum's assistance."

"Madrinas and Padrinos" Approach Helps a Chicago School Build Family and Community

Written by William Schmitt on Friday, 27 January 2012.

A Padrino & a Principal See "Catholic School Advantage" Idea Bearing Fruit

At St. Benedict's Catholic School, in Blue Island, Ill., near Chicago, principal Susan Rys (pronounced Rise) and parents at the school are articulating a growing connection to their community. One of the parents, Roberto Reyes, reflects how the school has found its voice to call others into cooperation—and how that voice has acquired a Latino accent—with assistance from the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

Roberto is one of the school's "padrinos," part of a team of padrinos y madrinas (godfathers and godmothers) who help the school extend an invitation to local families. This team, inclined and trained to offer mentoring services and authentic hospitality while also recruiting children for the school, has come about as the result of training in ACE's Catholic School Advantage campaign.

"The best resource we have is the human resource," says Roberto, explaining that good relationships among the people in the area—many of whom are immigrants—are the best way to get the school's messages across. The Catholic School Advantage campaign, in which St. Benedict's is one of ACE's many partners in the Archdiocese of Chicago, helps schools become more accessible to Latino culture even as they convey the strengths they offer to local children in need of educational alternatives.

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