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Catholic School Advantage

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.

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.

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