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Catholic School Advantage

A Vibrant Celebration Leads to an Important Revelation

Written by Manny Fernandez on Monday, 08 May 2017.

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John Staud, Executive Director for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame, likes to tell a story about the moment he knew that a great number of Latinos could be found anywhere in the Unites States, and that they would be the future of the Catholic Church. About a decade ago, he was at a rest stop in Lima, Ohio. Lima is a small, old German farming town in the middle of rural Ohio. At this rest stop, to John’s astonishment, were signs in both English and Spanish. It was his “aha” moment, and ACE would never be the same.

Fast forward to the present, and the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) is now in its sixth year. Having served almost 200 schools from 41 states, the LEI has proven there is a need to focus on Latino enrollment in Catholic schools not only in states like California, Texas, and Florida, but throughout the entire nation.

Moments with Multicultural Saints: Mother Laura Montoya

Written by Rachel Quinones, ACE 23, Katy Lichon, Ph.D., Clare Roach, M.Ed., Jennifer Dees, M.Ed., Fr. Lou DelFra, CSC on Friday, 31 March 2017.

This is our second installment of the English as a New Language Program’s Moments with Multicultural Saints, intended to provide useful classroom takeaways that will help you to broaden perspectives, teach about the universal Church, and find inspiration from saints from around the world. This month, we highlight the life of Mother Laura Montoya. You will find two different versions below, tailored to the appropriate age range of your students.

The Gifts We Didn't Know We Were Missing

on Wednesday, 01 February 2017.

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The Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI), as implied by the very name of the program, began as an enrollment-based initiative. As Catholic schools around the country were seeing their numbers diminish – and in many unfortunate cases even close – reaching out to the Latino population was a perfect way to sustain enrollment in Catholic schools while serving a segment of the population that had been largely underserved in traditional public schools.

For the most part, the reality of the Catholic schools that have attended the LEI over the years has been one of enrollment crisis. Many Catholic schools affected by the economic downturn and changing demographics were struggling to remain viable, and the LEI has been an opportunity to alter their course – or at least their way of doing certain things –  and to reach out to an untapped population springing up around them.

But while many of the schools that have attended the LEI over the years have done so out of necessity, Andra Zommers, principal of St. Augustine Cathedral School in Kalamazoo, Michigan, came to the LEI from a different reality. In her reflection below, Andra provides a beautiful testimonial that illustrates how the Latino Enrollment Institute is about more than just increasing school enrollments. 

In First Year at the LEI, Arkansas Catholic Schools Off to a Strong Start

Written by Steve McClure on Wednesday, 01 February 2017.

LittleRock ImmaculateConception 5As the geographic footprint of the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) expands, many Catholic schools in never-before-represented dioceses now serve as models of transformation and growth with regards to Latino outreach. The three Catholic schools from the Diocese of Little Rock that attended the LEI in the summer of 2016 are one such example. St. Theresa, Immaculate Conception, and St. Vincent de Paul Schools in Little Rock, Fort Smith, and Rogers, Arkansas, respectively, were the first to represent their diocese at the LEI and all experienced notable increases in both overall and Latino enrollment in a relatively short time.

The state of Arkansas, although it falls outside of even the top half of U.S. states in Latino population as a percentage of total state population, is a seemingly ideal environment for the recruitment of Latino families to Catholic schools as it ranks sixth in Latino population growth between 2000 and 2014. The three Diocese of Little Rock schools that attended the LEI last summer validated this assumption by welcoming nearly 100 new Latino students – a 50 percent increase – across the three schools by the start of the academic year.

To see such an impact in enrollment so shortly after attending the LEI, especially in three schools from a previously unrepresented diocese, is actually quite rare. And whether it be attributed to demographics, the school leaders themselves, or the LEI – all of which undoubtedly had a hand in this recent growth – they also serve as a testament to one simple lesson that we’ve seen time and time again in LEI schools across the country: It’s all about relationships. 


LEI Schools Celebrate Catholic Schools Week

Written by Manny Fernandez on Wednesday, 01 February 2017.

LEI Schools Celebrate Catholic Schools Week

This week, Catholic school communities across the country have been celebrating the beautiful gift of Catholic education. While most schools use this opportunity to host various events, special liturgies, and fun activities for students and families, we were particularly interested in how some of the schools that are members of the Latino Enrollment Institute have been celebrating.

Here is what some of our school leaders had to say about the festivities taking place at their schools this week: 

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