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Father Ronald Nuzzi Shares Catholic School Views in Ireland

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 13 February 2012.

Ireland marked Catholic Schools Week recently with a national conference hosted by Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, ACE’s senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, was invited to keynote the gathering with a talk titled “Catholic Schools as Eucharistic Communities.”

The participation by Father Nuzzi, who is an author and frequent speaker on the mission and meaning of Catholic schools in the United States, was the latest sign of the relationship that has grown between Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education and many of Ireland’s educators.

"I learned a lot from their experiences, and I shared a few of my own,” Father Nuzzi said of talks not only at the national conference but at additional events with religious orders and other patron groups, or trusts, who sponsor and support Catholic schools in the country.

ND Launches New Partnership Program in St. Petersburg, FL, Area

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 30 January 2012.

Notre Dame ACE Academy Initiative Joins Diocese in Service to Children

The University of Notre Dame has named two Catholic schools in the Diocese of St. Petersburg as Notre Dame ACE Academies.

The Notre Dame ACE Academies partnership marks a significant deepening of the relationship between Notre Dame and K-12 schools in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, begun in 1997 when the university first provided teachers to local Catholic schools through Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) ACE Teaching Fellows program. 

Bishop Robert Lynch invited ACE to consider St. Petersburg as an Notre Dame ACE Academies site, and St. Joseph (Tampa) and Sacred Heart (Pinellas Park) were selected after a comprehensive feasibility study showed strong local support for the partnership and affirmed the schools’ capacity to serve area students effectively, particularly through the opportunities created by Florida’s private school tax credit. “These schools make an important difference in the lives of hundreds of families,” said Bishop Lynch.  “We welcome Notre Dame’s support for our efforts to extend the advantages of Catholic schooling to as many children as possible in our diocese.”

By designating Saint Joseph and Sacred Heart as Notre Dame ACE Academies, ACE and the diocese seek to sustain long-term, comprehensive excellence in these schools by implementing a unique model of Catholic schooling.  The Notre Dame ACE Academies model is built on the three pillars of ACE: educational excellence, the experience of community, and faith formation in the Catholic tradition.

The mission of the Notre Dame ACE Academies initiative is to provide a Catholic education of the highest quality to as many children as possible by mobilizing the resources of the University, the diocese, parental choice programs, and local communities. ACE faculty and staff will work closely with the Notre Dame ACE Academies and diocesan leaders in Tampa Bay to boost enrollment and enhance school leadership, curriculum, instruction, professional development, financial management, marketing and Catholic identity.  According to Notre Dame ACE Academies director Dr. Christian Dallavis, “We share Bishop Lynch’s vision of creating opportunities for more families to choose a Catholic education of the highest quality for their children.  We are excited to work in these Tampa Bay communities with dynamic teachers and incredible school leaders to help put more kids on the path to college and heaven.”

“These schools bring hope for the future to families, communities, and the Church. We at Notre Dame are honored to work alongside many caring people to buttress that hope and to support the Catholic school mission that serves our children so well,” said Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C., founder of ACE and director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives at Notre Dame.

St. Joseph principal Brenda Henson Budd added, “As St. Joseph Catholic School approaches its 116th year, we are overjoyed with our new partnership with Notre Dame. This new alliance gives us confidence that we will inspire academic excellence and form young people in faith in West Tampa for another 100 years to come.” Andy Shannon, principal of Sacred Heart, endorsed the partnership as well, adding, “We are thrilled for Notre Dame to join Sacred Heart’s mission of preparing children for a life lived in service to Jesus, the Church, and the community.”

These schools represent the first expansion of the Notre Dame ACE Academies model, which began when a pilot cluster was established in Tucson, Arizona, in 2009.

The Notre Dame ACE Academies initiative is funded by a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation, with support from the partner dioceses, the University of Notre Dame, and private benefactors.

This announcement takes place during Catholic Schools Week 2012, which is celebrated nationwide January 29-February 5.

For more information about the Notre Dame ACE Academies, visit

Contact: Christian Dallavis, 574-631-4962

Your Future in ACE: Consider the Possibilities

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 19 December 2011.

This blessed time of year prompts us to look back upon cherished Christmas traditions and to look forward to a new year—often considering plans for the future that reflect our deepest values. If these values include education, community, faith, and service to the Church and society, this is a good time to consider the life-transforming experiences of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

Applications are now being accepted for ACE’s ACE Teaching Fellows program, which helps to form Catholic school educators, ready to serve at-risk children in under-resourced K-12 schools. Those who already teach can apply for the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program (RLP), which prepares the next generation of Catholic school leaders, ready to serve as principals for dynamic communities educating the mind and the heart.

These formation initiatives grant a master’s degree from one of the nation’s leading universities and offer an unrivaled combination of professional preparation, community solidarity, and spiritual growth. On-campus coursework at Notre Dame is integrated with online learning and the everyday life of serving in a Catholic school—the matchless opportunity to build skills as an educator while sustaining and strengthening the precious treasure of a Catholic education that gives children faith, hope, and love.

Consider sharing this unique experience and joining this supportive community.

Explore the “journey of an ACE teacher” in the ACE Teaching Fellows program. Meet a recent STT cohort of students and see some of their experiences in a video presentation. The deadline to apply for ACE Teaching Fellows is Jan. 24, 2012.

See the brochure that describes the Remick Leadership Program. Watch an introduction to the program from the director. The deadline to apply for the Remick Leadership Program is Feb. 1, 2012.

Latino Students and a Prize-Winning Principal Share Messages of Hospitality and Hope

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 12 December 2011.

Yvonne Schwab, who recently was named among this year's 61 National Distinguished Principals by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), says many people and many forces have come together to transform Saint James the Less School, the Catholic school she leads in Columbus, Ohio.

Progressing toward the October 2011 NAESP ceremony and an earlier competition in which the National Catholic Education Association honored her as a Distinguished Principal, Yvonne wrote various essays describing accomplishments at St. James the Less. One of those accomplishments has been a surge in Latino enrollment during the eight years of her leadership—from two students to 260 out of a current student population totaling 497.

ACE's Catholic School Advantage campaign: Updates on Outreach

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 06 December 2011.

A series of reports on change and hope for Latino students

Next week, the Catholic Church will celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is honored as Patroness of the Americas.

The Dec. 12 feast is a good opportunity for Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) to share our aspirations and activities in our work to welcome more Latino children into Catholic K-12 schools. ACE's Catholic School Advantage campaign includes collaborations with many partners across the United States, and we already have seen some stories that reflect the goals and hopes of this initiative.

The starting point for the endeavor was a report by the Notre Dame Task Force on the Participation of Latino Children and Families in Catholic Schools, issued on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2009. That report, To Nurture the Soul of a Nation: Latino Families, Catholic Schools, and Educational Opportunity, warned of an academic achievement gap besetting the Latino population and the need to bring more Latino students into Catholic schools where they could gain access to an excellent education.

We will use this week, starting today, to help an array of stakeholders and friends of Catholic education--the extended community of ACE and the Institute for Educational Initiatives—to get to know the Catholic School Advantage campaign better. Over the next several days, the ACE website will present a series of stories that represent snapshots of the campaign's perspectives and people.

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