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Catholic School Advantage

LEI on the Road

on Thursday, 08 September 2016.

LEI on the Road

After welcoming its fifth and largest cohort to campus this past summer, the Latino Enrollment Institute will be hitting the road for the first time in the program’s history. In partnership with the Diocese of Allentown and the Healey Education Foundation, the Alliance for Catholic Education will offer the Mid-Atlantic LEI to 30 Catholic schools, representing the (arch)dioceses of Allentown, Baltimore, Camden, and Philadelphia. The program will be held at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, October 10-12, 2016.

Similar to the summer institute on campus, the Mid-Atlantic 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, as well as 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
  • Bright spots - a look at specific schools that provide an ideal "witness to the possible" as regards

We look forward to this exciting opportunity to extend the reach of the LEI to a greater number of schools in the Mid-Atlantic region. Check back for an update in the coming months!

Speaking to the Heart of What Parents Want for their Children

Written by Steve McClure on Thursday, 01 September 2016.

Know your audience. This age-old wisdom for public speaking is something we’ve all probably heard at one point or another. It often serves as a guiding principle for any successful marketing campaign and similarly has profound implications for developing an effective Latino recruitment strategy.

When Joana Camacho became principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Oklahoma City, she inherited a school that had just experienced a significant drop in enrollment, with no signs of that turning around any time soon. At the same time, the weekend Masses at Sacred Heart Parish were extremely well attended, in large part by Latino families with young children. Despite her efforts to reach out to this population, through a combination of open houses, traditional advertising techniques, and even speaking at some of the Spanish Masses, it wasn’t until she began to understand what Latino parents really wanted for their children that she was able to convey the most effective message.

Watch the whole story here...

School Pastors’ Institute Extends Reach Across the Nation, Welcomes Largest Group of Pastors in Program’s History

on Thursday, 28 July 2016.

School Pastors’ Institute Extends Reach Across the Nation, Welcomes Largest Group of Pastors in Program’s History

This past summer marked the Catholic School Advantage Campaign’s sixth annual School Pastors’ Institute (SPI), a four-day conference held on Notre Dame’s campus designed to help pastors respond to the unique and increasingly complex challenges and opportunities related to serving as a pastor of a Catholic school.

Since the program first began in 2011, it has consistently garnered greater attention each year as word has spread, but this summer saw the most significant increase in participation as the SPI expanded to offer two separate weeks. 180 pastors from 67 different (arch)dioceses attended the Institute in July, bringing the total number of pastors who have participated in the SPI since its inception to 675, representing 127 different (arch)dioceses.

We were honored to welcome the Most Reverend Joseph W. Tobin, Archbishop of Indianapolis, and the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, as the keynote speakers. In total, the SPI featured 18 different presenters and panelists who spoke on a number of topics, including the strengthening of Catholic identity in schools, financial management, strengthening the pastor-principal relationship, and recruitment and marketing strategies for attracting and better serving Latino families, to name a few.

The SPI also featured several tracks tailored to the unique needs of school pastors, including those who are first-time school pastors, those who are pastors of regional or combined school models, pastors of rural parish schools, and international priests who may be new to the U.S. Catholic school system.

It is because of the school pastor’s unique authority to articulate both the urgency and importance of this work that the School Pastors’ Institute plays such a vital role in the overall mission of the Catholic School Advantage Campaign. It is our hope that all who were in attendance this summer return to their parishes with a renewed sense of zeal for the Catholic school entrusted to their care, and we look forward to sharing with you the success stories that are sure to emerge over the coming year.

Latino Enrollment Institute Continues to Grow, Serve Latino Families and Catholic Schools

Manuel Fernandez on Monday, 18 July 2016.

63 schools selected to program's fifth cohort

Yvonne Schwab from St. James the Less Catholic School in Columbus, Ohio, is a mentor principal in the Latino Enrollment Institute. To see the rest of her story, and to learn more about the LEI, visit

“It was an honor to be selected to come to the LEI conference. It helped us to solidify everything that we have already been doing in our efforts to get the Latino community enrolled in our school.” – Kevin Clarke, Holy Name, Omaha

The Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) has become an integral part of the Alliance for Catholic Education's mission to give disadvantaged children the educational opportunities they need and deserve. In just its fifth year, the LEI has become the hallmark of the Catholic School Advantage Campaign as more principals focus on the opportunity to increase Latino enrollment in Catholic schools.

Catholic School Advantage Summer Preview

on Tuesday, 17 May 2016.

A Look Ahead at the Catholic School Advantage Campaign's Busiest Summer Yet

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As things begin to wind down in Catholic schools around the country, the Catholic School Advantage Campaign is preparing for what will be the busiest summer yet. Each year, these summer months serve as a launching point for a new cohort of Catholic school leaders in the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI), as well as an opportunity to convene pastors from around the country at the School Pastors’ Institute (SPI).

These two groups routinely bring with them a surge of energy, but this summer, due to increased demand, that energy will increase twofold as we offer two weeks of each conference for the first time.

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The LEI will welcome 63 Catholic schools, representing 39 different (arch)dioceses, to participate in two four-day workshops, held on the campus of Notre Dame, June 19-22 and June 26-29. And providing further evidence of the growing commitment nationwide to both attract and better serve Latino families in Catholic schools, the LEI will welcome schools from nearly every corner of the country, from Stockton, California, to Staten Island, New York. In all, over 170 Catholic school leaders, ranging from principals, pastors, teachers, and enrollment and marketing coordinators, will gather to learn proven strategies, share best practices, and develop an action plan to more effectively reach out to and serve Latino families in their communities and schools.

With year-long principal mentorship being a core component of the program, the growth of the LEI has necessitated an expanded team of mentor principals. A group of 26 current and former Catholic school principals, most of whom participated in the LEI in the past and have been successful in increasing Latino enrollment in their schools, are an integral part of this initiative’s success.

Equally important as a committed principal in the mission to reach out to and serve Latino children and families is the school pastor. Schools with healthy enrollments, which have seen particular success in attracting and retaining Latino families, are often those that have pastors who embrace and endorse Catholic education in the Latino community.

 mg 6647The School Pastors’ Institute seeks to respond to this opportunity by inviting school pastors from around the country to attend a four-day workshop intended to help them develop skills in strengthening the Catholic identity, financial management, academic quality, and marketing of their schools, with special emphasis on Latino families. This coming summer, more than 200 school pastors will attend the SPI at Notre Dame over the course of two weeks, July 5-8 and July 11-14. These pastors will represent nearly 70 (arch)dioceses, 25 of which are new to the program this year.

While the Latino Enrollment Institute and the School Pastors’ Institute are just two of the many innovative workshops offered during the ACE summer, they have really become the core of the Catholic School Advantage Campaign’s mission strategy, and the themes which they address have become increasingly intertwined with everything that ACE does. The tremendous growth of these two initiatives is truly a testament to the desire and commitment of both Church and school leaders to revitalize our nation’s Catholic schools and help one the most underserved populations overcome the steep hurdle of unequal opportunity.

We are excited for the opportunity to invite these new mission partners to campus this summer, and we look forward to sharing their success stories in the year to come!

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