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Catholic School Advantage

A Handshake and A Rose

Matt Rhodes on Wednesday, 30 November 2016.

Patrick Jefferies St. Andrew A Handshake and a RosePhoto from

When Patrick Jefferies became principal at St. Andrew Catholic School outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, he made a commitment to foster a hospitable school environment for all who set foot inside the school, whether they be students, teachers, staff members, parents or visitors. One of Patrick’s first steps was to attend ACE’s 2015 Latino Enrollment Institute, a program that seeks to transform Catholic schools with open seats, favorable demographic potential, and motivated individuals by teaching them how to attract and serve Latino students more effectively.  

Divine Intervention and a Principal's Passion Save School

Written by Steve McClure on Friday, 18 November 2016.


Twelve years ago, it took a miracle to keep the doors of Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School in East Harlem open. But the school’s providential reprieve from its impending closure was far from the end of the journey. Granted a second chance, Principal Suzanne Kaszynski, at the time in only her second year at the helm, realized that she and her staff would need to radically transform Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School from the inside out.

Recognizing that what her classrooms lacked was joy, she decided to incorporate a passion of her own into the school and to build programs around it. By establishing a culture of success, implementing a whole host of extra-curricular activities, reaching out to the surrounding Latino community, and with the help of the Partnership for Inner City Education, Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary started to gain much greater visibility both within New York City and beyond.

Today, Suzanne serves as a mentor principal for the Latino Enrollment Institute, helping other Catholic school leaders find their niche and transform the culture of their schools. Watch her whole story below.


Celebrando la Virgen de Guadalupe

Written by Katy Lichon, Ph.D., Clare Roach, M.Ed., Jennifer Dees, M.Ed. on Tuesday, 15 November 2016.

The English as a New Language team provides recommendations and a number of resources, including a printable worship program, for you to celebrate the upcoming feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in your school.

St.AndrewSLC 5Students at St. Andrew School in Salt Lake City, UT, dress in indigenous clothing and present gifts to La Virgencita.

For your students and families of Mexican origin, Our Lady of Guadalupe or La Guadalupana represents a powerful and deep devotion to the loving and caring mother of God. By celebrating the feast day of the Blessed Lady, the patroness of the Americas, on December 12th, your school can draw attention to the universality of the Church and the beauty of Marian devotions. More importantly, it offers your learning community the grace of participating in and honoring a magnificently rich tradition celebrated for centuries by the Mexican people.

As described by Fr. Virgilio Elizondo (2011), Our Lady of Guadalupe represents the “mother of new humanity” because she bridges for the Americas the Old World and the New. In 1531 when La Virgencita appeared to Juan Diego, the native peoples of Mexico had just been defeated by the Spanish armies and were in need of hope, rebirth, and spiritual healing. La Morenita (which translated means “brown skinned one”) appeared not to the powerful Spanish, but to the humble Juan Diego, an Aztec man, to ask that he approach the bishop and request that a church be built in her honor. The bishop was incredulous, but Mary appeared to Juan Diego again. This time when Juan Diego encountered the bishop, he had the brown skinned image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on his tilma (cloak) and his arms were full of roses, which were exceedingly rare in the region. Having won the bishop’s blessing, a shrine was built on the top of Mount Tepeyac, the hill where Mary appeared to Juan Diego. Today the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited Catholic shrine in the world and it continues to represent a place of protection, consolation, mestizaje (mixture of races) , and unity.

¡Viva Cristo Rey! Honoring Saint José Sánchez del Río

Written by Katy Lichon, Ph.D., Clare Roach, M.Ed., Jennifer Dees, M.Ed., Fr. Lou DelFra, CSC on Thursday, 10 November 2016.

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio 1

This is the first 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 focus on Mexico’s newest saint, Saint José Luis Sánchez del Rio. You will find two different versions below, tailored to the appropriate age range of your students.

First "LEI on the Road" Gathers Catholic Schools from Across Mid-Atlantic Region

on Wednesday, 26 October 2016.

Mid Atlantic LEI

For the first time in the program’s five-year history, the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) was held off-site of Notre Dame’s campus. In partnership with the Diocese of Allentown and the Healey Education Foundation, the Alliance for Catholic Education welcomed 30 Catholic schools from around the Mid-Atlantic region to DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, October 10-12. Of the 30 schools in attendance, 20 were from right there in the Diocese of Allentown, while the remaining ten schools came from the (arch)dioceses of Baltimore, Camden, and Philadelphia.

“Together we celebrate the vibrant Latino present and future of the Catholic Church in the United States,” said Bishop John Barres, Bishop of Allentown, in his opening remarks. “We celebrate how the gifts of the Holy Spirit experienced in the Hispanic Catholic community enrich and inspire every dimension of our Catholic community and mission in the United States.” He continued by saying that “Dramatically expanding the Catholic Church’s education mission to Latino families in each diocese nationally is less a problem to solve as it is a challenge to celebrate, embrace, and boldly move forward on.”

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