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.
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.
The 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!