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In the Spotlight: Teacher Theresa Yerkes

on Friday, 30 March 2012.

"I'm a member of Tex-ACE" writes Theresa Yerkes (above, bottom far right), who lives with seven other ACE teachers in Brownsville--"as far south as you can get in the continental United States!" The fourth grade teacher tells us this week about what led her to the ACE Teaching Fellows experience.

"I have never felt as strongly called to something as I felt called to ACE. I was drawn to the program because of its commitment to serving children through education and supporting teachers through faith-based community.

"Going into ACE I prayed that I would be challenged and stretched so that I would grow from this experience. I had no idea my prayers would be answered so strongly.

"ACE has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is also an incredible source of character development. I am learning more and more about what it means to give selflessly, what it means to work tirelessly for a mission I very much believe in, and what it means to humbly accept my own shortcomings and receive the gifts of others."

To learn more about ACE Teaching Fellows, click here.

Helping Catholic School Leaders Level the Federal-Funds Playing Field

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 27 March 2012.

Equitable Services Institute Will Offer Guidance This Summer

Students in Catholic schools across the country are not getting federally funded services to which they're entitled. By one estimate, the funds that Catholic educators leave on the table may total as much as $500 million annually.

Solving this problem is the purpose of the Equitable Services Institute, to which principals, diocesan superintendents, and other leaders are invited at the University of Notre Dame on July 8-12, 2012.

The institute is part of a series of professional development events offered this summer on campus through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

Registration for the Equitable Services Institute is open to "anybody who will need to represent their students in receiving all the services they have a right to receive," says Michelle Doyle, an expert on the process of obtaining and optimizing those services. Doyle, a consultant with Catapult Learning, will be a major presenter at the Institute. Catapult, a provider of varied services for K-12 schools and students, is co-sponsoring the event with ACE Consulting.

In the Spotlight: ACE Grad and PhD Student Anna Jacob

on Thursday, 22 March 2012.

AnnaJacob SmallACE Advocate Anna Jacob is passionate about parental choice. "Our society," says the native of Waterford, Ireland, has a "moral obligation to protect families' [rights] to select what they deem are the most appropriate schools for their children."

Anna's experience in the ACE Teaching Fellows program kindled the flame of this passion, and her participation last summer in the ACE Advocates Parental Choice Symposium fanned that flame into a blaze. The symposium, she says, "is an invaluable experience for teachers who...recognize a gap in their knowledge and understanding of the relevance of the school choice landscape for Catholic schools."

"Anyone who has taught in or led a Catholic school knows the struggles many families face financing the necessary tuition for their children," Anna says. "Catholic school leaders are also brutally aware of the startling rate at which enrollments have declined in recent years. The unsettling reality is that many [students] who switch out of Catholic schools do not choose to do so because of dissatisfaction with ... their child's Catholic school." On the contrary, most often it is simply because they cannot afford it. This injustice, she says, "stirs a profound objection in me."

Today Anna is working towards a doctorate in education policy at the University of Arkansas, where her experience as a teacher and advocate helps her strike a healthy balance between theory and practice. As she learns in greater detail about education reform, she says, "the ACE Advocates Symposium reminds me to pay attention to the common experiences, responses, and revealed preferences of practitioners, students, families and community members generally, and to reflect deeply on the issues in hand."

Anna Jacob has worked as a graduate assistant with the School Choice Demonstration Project since 2010 with Dr. Patrick Wolf and fellow ACE graduate Mike McShane. The group recently released the final set in a series of annual reports on the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. Anna received her B.Ed. from St. Patrick's College Dublin, where she graduated with first-class honors, and her M.Ed. through the University of Notre Dame's ACE program. Her email address is .

Applications for the 2012 Parental Choice Symposium are currently being accepted.


An ACE Grad's Research Offers Hope for Student Resilience, Wins Honors

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 19 March 2012.

David Yeager, Professor of Psychology, Receiving Awards from AERA

David Yeager, who served Catholic schools in Tulsa as an ACE 11 teacher and is now an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, continues to receive scholarly recognition for his recent research on subjects at the heart of education, such as a teacher's ability to nurture resilient mindsets in students.

His soon-to-be-published article, co-authored with Carol Dweck of Stanford and Kali Trzesniewski of UC Davis in the journal Child Development, asked this question: What helps adolescents to cope positively with bullying or exclusion? Yeager's research finds that giving adolescents a simple message that people have the potential to change for the better—even if they seem to be fixed "bullies" or "jerks" who will never change—could dramatically reduce real-world aggression among low-income, urban high school students.

Such a finding "was especially important because this is an age group typically thought of as impervious to change," says Yeager. His intervention provides new hope for positive efforts in this area. The study is being honored with the 2012 Outstanding Dissertation Award by Division E of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

In the Spotlight: ACE Intern Sam Reich

on Friday, 16 March 2012.

ACE 19 Intern Sam Reich has known since childhood that she wanted to be a teacher. That's why the History and Chemistry double major pursued an internship with ACE as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame. This week, she tells us what that experience has been like.

"I applied to ACE [through the ACE Internship] because of its incredibly supportive environment and innovative approach to alternative certification. I was immediately drawn to the community and spirituality aspects of ACE, along with its excellent academic preparation.

My instincts were not wrong. From the first day that I walked into the ACE office as an intern, the program has warmly accepted me. Staff members always have a moment to talk, whether I have a serious issue that I need to discuss or I just stopped in for the free coffee!

The ACE Internship has allowed me to see the ins and outs of all that is ACE. I have learned plenty about the ACE Teaching Fellows program, as one of the main intern jobs is recruiting at campus events. I have also learned a bit about other ACE initiatives, such as the Remick Leadership Program, where I assisted with data analysis in one of its research projects.

I've enjoyed getting to know ACE staff members; I can now sit in Remick Commons and pretty much guarantee that I will see at least one person to chat with so that I can procrastinate doing homework! What's more, I cannot stress enough how comforting it has been that I haven't had to worry about what I'm doing after graduation.

As my entrance into the ACE Teaching Fellows program is rapidly approaching, I am both nervous and excited. I know that my ACE experience will teach me how to become a better educator. However, I also hope that I will become a better person with a wider world perspective by the end of my second year. I want to learn more about ways to give back to the community in which I will be working, as well as to strengthen my faith life."

To learn more about the ACE Internship, click here.

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