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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

St.Rose Banner

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.

Catholic Schools in Northeast to Attend Second Regional LEI

on Wednesday, 23 August 2017.

NewEnglandLEI Logo GoldIn the fall of 2016, the Alliance for Catholic Education’s Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) hit the road for the first time, offering the three-day Mid-Atlantic LEI at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. This year, in partnership with the Diocese of Providence, we will offer the New England LEI to 25 Catholic schools, representing the (Arch)Dioceses of Boston, Bridgeport, Fall River, Hartford, Manchester, Norwich, Providence, and Springfield-in-Massachusetts. The program will be held at the Aldrich Mansion in Warwick, Rhode Island, October 2-4, 2017.

Similar to the summer institute on campus, the New England LEI will feature presentations and discussions led and facilitated by school leaders and with demonstrated success in developing innovative Latino outreach programs. It will offer strategies and best practices intended to boost Latino enrollment in Catholic schools and to better serve Latino families once they enroll. Among the topics of focus are:

  • Developing a deeper understanding of Latino cultures and traditions
  • Building intercultural competency and what that means for your school
  • Enlisting faculty, staff, and parents to reach out personally to Latino families and invite them to Catholic schools
  • How to think about development - cultivating and maintaining private and corporate donors
  • Instructional strategies for teaching English language learners
  • Bright spots - a look at specific schools that provide an ideal "witness to the possible" with regards to Latino outreach

We look forward to this exciting opportunity to extend the reach of the LEI to a greater number of schools in the New England region.

If you’re interested in bringing the Latino Enrollment Institute to your (arch)diocese, contact Manuel Fernandez ().

If you think your school would be a good candidate to attend the LEI on campus at the University of Notre Dame in the summer of 2018, please visit to learn more. The application period will open in mid-October.

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