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Catholic School Advantage

Working Toward a More Just Society

on Wednesday, 03 June 2020.

Working Toward a More Just Society

As people who believe that we are all made in the image and likeness of God, we affirm the inherent dignity of all human life, and we stand—as disciples of Christ—against any form of bias, discrimination, hatred, and violence. The discriminatory and violent killings of George Floyd and so many others serve as a grim reminder of the racism that has plagued our nation for centuries. This reminder functions simultaneously as a sobering reality check with respect to the depth and breadth of the challenges confronting educational institutions. And this reminder is especially important for Catholic schools and educators, given our charge to teach as Jesus did and to form students who will use their gifts to serve others and work toward a more just society.

Creatively Connecting During COVID-19

Written by Jocelyn Smith, Ed.S., Katy Walter Lichon, Ph.D. on Monday, 01 June 2020.

StAnne Pacelli 13

We all know the importance of maintaining connections and relationships during this time of social distancing, eLearning, and virtual community building.

Cohort 4 participant and current LEI Mentor, Jocelyn Smith, Lower School Principal at St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School in Columbus, GA, has been working diligently to build community digitally with parents, her school community, faculty, and students, all as she continues to remind her community, “It's a Great Day to Be A Viking!” - even at a distance!

Check out the school’s creative ideas below.

Mentor Spotlight: Getting to Know Noreen Dillon

on Thursday, 28 May 2020.

MentorSpotlight NoreenDillon


Mentor principals have played a critical role in the success of the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) since the program’s inception in 2012. The experience, accountability, and personal attention that these leaders provide has been a defining characteristic of the LEI, helping Catholic school principals—and their teams— institute lasting changes. 

After schools attend the LEI summer conference, mentor principals maintain regular contact with the 4-6 school leaders in their group through monthly video conference calls. These conversations, which focus on various themes related to Latino outreach, recruitment, and enrollment, are an opportunity for school leaders to learn from one another and receive real-time consultation and feedback from their mentor on some of the things that they’re doing in their school. 

The commitment of our LEI mentors, most of whom are still active Catholic school principals themselves, is truly the engine that drives the LEI.  

This month, we highlight Noreen Dillon, who has served as the principal of St. Mark Catholic School in Peoria, Illinois, since 2013. Noreen was a member of LEI Cohort 3 (2014-15), and after several years of consistent enrollment growth, joined our team of mentors.


A Call to Serve: How One Catholic School Helped Essential Workers

Written by Manny Fernandez on Wednesday, 27 May 2020.

CTK Childcare 1

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to unfold, numerous heroes have emerged, including educators, healthcare providers, and essential workers. In many of these cases, childcare quickly became the number one concern and worry. In the state of Kentucky, for example, the government closed all of the daycare centers in the county as part of their state-wide plan to slow the spread of COVID-19. The only daycare centers allowed to remain open were “Limited Duration Childcare Centers,” which were approved to provide temporary emergency child care to employees of a healthcare entity, first responders, military, domestic violence shelters, and more.

In Madisonville, Kentucky, there was a dire need for one of these special daycare centers. Lesley Mills, principal of Christ the King Catholic School and a participant of Cohort 8 in the 2019 Latino Enrollment Institute, heard about the need through Facebook and did not hesitate to spring into action. “Essential workers can’t worry about their kids,” Mills said. “They need a safe place.” 

A Shared Table: Caring for the Community through Meals

Written by Manny Fernandez on Monday, 25 May 2020.

StPatrickSchool PerryIA 3

As students went off to enjoy their spring breaks at St. Patrick School in Perry, Iowa, principal Kandice Roethler and her staff knew that there was a great possibility that the school might be forced to close before the students could come back. At that time, the COVID-19 pandemic was in the early stages of gripping the country and Principal Roethler, a participant in the 7th cohort of the Latino Enrollment Institute, is acutely aware of the needs of her school families and the extent to which the St. Patrick's cares about serving the whole family and the community. A sudden closure of the school would burden countless families, including leaving many students without nutritious meals.

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