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Catholic Schools Week 2018 - Succeed

Written by Stacie Rego, Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellow on Friday, 02 February 2018.

Catholic Schools Week 2018 - Succeed

To celebrate National Catholic Schools Week, we are sharing four reflections centered around the themes of "Learn, Serve, Lead, and Succeed." Today's reflection on "Succeed" comes from Stacie Rego, a Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellow from St. Edward the Confessor Parish School in Dana Point, CA.


 On this day of Catholic Schools Week, we reflect on our call to succeed. As educators, we are asked to analyze and reflect on data, scores, and formative assessments to gauge lesson success. However, our true success cannot be measured simply by a test. Rather, success is reflected in the courageous and selfless actions, choices, and faith of the students that we serve.

In our time with students, we’ve found that students’ choices and actions that have moved us to define success in new ways. These two examples have shown us that ultimately, our success is reflected in the learners we share our lives with each and every day.

Our students have the courage to see Jesus in others and be Jesus to others. Last week, a student reminded us that our vocations call us to more than academic success. While walking down the hall, we came across a student sitting along the wall in tears. He had forgotten his homework and was heartbroken by his mistake. Before reaching the student, another boy gently leaned down and comforted him with soft and calm words. He explained, “It’s ok. We all make mistakes. It hurts right now, but it will get better.” The tears began to wane, and a smile appeared. As educators, this moment reflected success in our mission to help our learners develop into faith-filled servants of Christ. A young boy was able to look outside of himself and see Jesus in another while still having the courage to be Jesus to someone in need.

Our greatest success is reflected in the confidence to take risks amidst the struggles and challenges. As Catholic educators, we seek to support and serve students from all backgrounds and ability. With this mission comes times of struggle, hardship, and difficulty. As we mentor and support our students through scaffolding, targeted strategies, and data-driven methods, we also seek to support their emotional wellbeing and confidence to take the first steps down a difficult path.

We are reminded of these courageous first steps with a student who began believing in himself through tough and timely trials. When completing assessments or assignments in the past, our student showed anxiety and fear when the time to complete drew near. Afraid that his choices were incorrect and afraid to take new risks, he would draw out assignments until unfinished work became unmanageable. With the support of teachers and his family, he began to trust in himself, knowing that each setback was an opportunity to grow and learn. In his most recent assignment, he confidently answered each question without hesitation, trusting that his preparation and knowledge would carry him through. He relied on himself, knowing that his teachers stood steadfastly at his side to guide him in his pursuit. Seeing the beaming face of a confident child courageous enough to take new risks reflects the success that we seek and savor as Catholic educators.

During Catholic Schools Week, our hope is that we continue to support and cherish the success we experience through the children that we serve. For our success is not one that can be measured by numbers, but rather, reflected in the faces of the children with whom we are blessed to share our calling.


Interested in improving your school's STEM instruction? Visit stemeducation.nd.edu/trustey and submit your application to the Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows before March 1!

Catholic Schools Week 2018 - Lead

Written by Margie Marshall, Principal of St. Juliana School and member of the Center for Transformational Educational Leadership on Thursday, 01 February 2018.

Catholic Schools Week 2018 - Lead

To celebrate National Catholic Schools Week, we are sharing four reflections centered around the themes of "Learn, Serve, Lead, and Succeed." Today's reflection on "Lead" comes from Margie Marshall, the Principal at St. Juliana School in Chicago and a member of the Center for Transformational Educational Leadership.


During my first year as a Catholic school teacher, whenever I complained about a challenge at school, a close friend and fellow teacher used to say, “We didn’t sign up for easy.” As I lead a school, I am often reminded of this, as every day presents a new challenge. While I can rarely use the word “easy” to describe my profession, I don’t think I would want to, as there is so much good that comes from the challenges of school leadership. 

Each day I am lucky enough to interact with hundreds of smiling children who are truly happy to come to school. I am touched by the kindness and generosity they show to one another, day in and day out. I am inspired by their willingness to forgive and the ease with which they see Jesus in one another. As I visit classrooms, I witness students coming together to complete assignments, share ideas, and help each other learn. I see excitement and joy as they master a difficult concept, and I hear thought-provoking discussion and reflection as they consider new and different viewpoints. 

It can be easy to forget about these moments as I go through my endless to-do list each day: responding to emails, completing paperwork, and managing the many parents, staff members, and stakeholders who ask for a minute of my time. However, these moments with the students are why I do this work; they are the motivation behind all I do. 

With these students in mind, I strive to view obstacles in light of the opportunities they bring, rather than the difficulties they present. Balancing the budget can be a chance to use every dollar available to improve our curriculum and provide our students with the resources they deserve. Discussing a classroom observation with a teacher is a way to share a new strategy that will improve student learning. Conversing with an angry parent is an occasion for collaboration for the good of that particular child. None of this work is easy, but I do believe it is a privilege and a blessing. I am rewarded daily as I share in the joys and successes of my students, and their smiling faces make it all worthwhile. They are the reason that I do this work and that I love leading a Catholic school.


Learn more about the Center for Transformational Educational Leadership at ace.nd.edu/transform

Catholic Schools Week 2018 - Serve

Written by Katie Dugan, PIE 1 on Monday, 29 January 2018.

Catholic Schools Week 2018 - Serve

To celebrate National Catholic Schools Week, we are sharing four reflections centered around the themes of "Learn, Serve, Lead, and Succeed." Today's reflection on "Serve" comes from Katie Dugan, a member of the Program for Inclusive Education's (PIE) inaugural cohort.


The enthusiasm is high as the students finish jumping and singing to GoNoodle on the SmartBoard. With nineteen boys in my first grade classroom at Mater Dei School in Bethesda, Maryland, getting their “wiggles” out is necessary before we start our language arts class. I am about to enter quicksand of uncertain depth by letting them practice their spelling words with shaving cream on their desks. It will clean their desks AND provide a fun way to practice!

Catholic Schools Week 2018 - Learn

Written by Jennifer Dees, M.Ed., Katy Lichon, Ph.D., Clare Roach, M.Ed. on Friday, 26 January 2018.

Catholic Schools Week 2018 - Learn

To celebrate National Catholic Schools Week, we are sharing four reflections centered around the themes of "Learn, Serve, Lead, and Succeed." Today's reflection on "Learn" comes from Jenny Dees, Katy Lichon, and Clare Roach of the English as a New Language team. Subscribe to receive the rest of the reflections in your inbox.


On this first day of Catholic Schools Week we focus on our call to LEARN. As we reflect on our many years in education, we are certain of one thing–the knowledge that we have collectively amassed does not reflect that we have been the masters of our students’ education, but that our students have been the masters of ours!

Dallas ACE Advocates: Spreading the Good News About Catholic Schools

Maria Murphy on Tuesday, 02 January 2018.

Dallas ACE Advocates

When describing her first year as an ACE teacher, Elizabeth Nava says, “I saw myself as a person with hope to bring.”

Elizabeth, who graduated in the 15th cohort of ACE Teaching Fellows and taught in Atlanta, has remained committed to spreading this hope to Catholic schoolchildren. After her service with ACE, Elizabeth taught at St. Monica Catholic School in Dallas, Texas. While she has since left the classroom, Elizabeth continues to support Catholic education and now leads the Dallas ACE Advocates regional community. This group, comprised of over 100 ACE graduates and friends of ACE in Dallas, strives to “find ways to be the salt and the light and the yeast in the world.”

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