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In the Spotlight: Abby Salazar

on Thursday, 07 June 2012.

abbysalazarAbby Salazar (ACE 16) has long valued the connection of faith and learning.

As a young Catholic growing up in Lake Jackson, Texas, she attended public schools—schools she loved and in which she was academically challenged and morally formed, but which left her spiritually hungry. "I loved my Catholic faith and was fascinated by the Catholic Church. And I craved learning more."

So she attended the University of Notre Dame and, in her first year, took a class that explored Catholic Social Teaching through community service. She tutored at the local juvenile correctional center, a life-changing experience that not only ignited her desire to serve the under-served through teaching, but also deepened her appreciation for the way faith and learning entwine. It was a particular delight for her, then, when she later became part of the ACE Teaching Fellows program and realized, she says, "that I could live Catholic Social Teaching each day in my own classroom."

The freedom to directly link faith with learning was a great encouragement to her as a Catholic teacher. "I loved sharing the Eucharist with my students at school mass. I loved when our middle school science lesson curved into a college-worthy theological discussion led by my kids. I loved starting parent-teacher conferences with prayer."

To Abby, this is what sets Catholic schools apart. "I want all children to get a great education no matter what," says the small woman with the big heart. "And Catholic schools can offer that. Catholic schools especially support those who sometimes fly under the radar in other places. They can give kids the education they deserve, the love and attention they crave—and the faith formation they need!"

Abby Salazar is an assistant director of ACE Teaching Fellows.
To learn more about the program, click here.

Welcome ACE 19!

on Thursday, 07 June 2012.

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On Friday, June 1, members of the newest ACE Teaching Fellows cohort (19) landed at Notre Dame for their first summer of teacher training. They began trickling onto campus early in the morning, and spent the day moving into their dorm rooms and getting settled for a late-afternoon opening session and picnic, and then a weekend retreat of contemplation about the next year of their lives.

"It's an intense, gear-changing weekend," one ACE graduate mused, full of teachings and conversations about the transition into ACE life, graduate school, and the call to discipleship. Among topics the cohort considered: the shift from college student to teacher and graduate student; the role of serving one's school; and how the Spirit has gifted each of them uniquely for the experience ahead.

Considering the fact that most of the cohort graduated college less than a month ago, a handful arrived from other countries, and all are completely new to every facet of ACE, it's no surprise that the weekend is intellectually and emotionally potent. ACE pastoral staff members are therefore careful to ground every discussion in the context of ministry, view each pillar through a spiritual lens, and encourage the new teachers that as the next two years unfold, they will be serving in the strength of God, who never leaves or forsakes them.

Regional Roundup

on Wednesday, 06 June 2012.

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Boston ACE Advocates (BACE)
, along with several students, donated a Spring Clean-up day of service to St. Rose of Lima School in Chelsea.  Pictured above are BACE members Shannon Kwiatek and Meg DeLaney with a St. Rose student, sanitizing kindergarten toys.

The Chicago chapter of ACE Advocates hosted its third annual Educator Forum at Gordon Tech College Prep. The theme of this year's forum was "Meeting the Diverse Needs in Catholic Schools"; its focus was on best practices for inclusion, differentiation, and leadership at the elementary and high school level.

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After hosting a CornHole Tournament to raise funds for Annunciation school (where, at right, Advocates receive instructions before launching the bean bag fun), Denver Advocates wrapped up the semester with gratitude, delivering gifts of bagels and juice to the area's six ACE schools.  They will celebrate the year (and the success of raising over $3,300 for Catholic schools) with a community happy hour.



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Advocates in Indianapolis spruced up the gardens at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, a perfect springtime activity. This was the fourth of their Prayer/Service/Community-building days this year, which continue to draw not only graduates of ACE but also a host of other Catholic school supporters. Later this month, they'll finish the year with an afternoon retreat. Pictured above are Gary Asher, Peggy O'Conner-Campbell, Joe Feeser, Ann Berends, and Mary McCoy.

ACE Ireland had a Missioning Mass to send forth two teachers to serve in ACE partner schools in the United States. Fr. Michael Drumm shared a meaningful reflection on how grass grows. Read about that here.


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In Mobile, four local groups came together for a service project at Most Pure Heart of Mary School. Members of the Notre Dame Club of Mobile, the Eastern Shore Young Adults, and the Mobile ACE Advocates along with several local teachers from Notre Dame's ACE program did yard work and painted a classroom and other areas around the school.



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Because area Catholic schools don't have a school soccer league, Tucson Advocates organized a soccer tournament for students last month.

View more pictures of some of these regional activities on Facebook.

If you have updates you'd like to share about your ACE Advocates region, click here.

Michael Pressley Awards Will Go to 3 Outstanding Educators

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 05 June 2012.

Three outstanding educators committed to sustain, strengthen, and transform Catholic schools have been selected to receive the 2012 Michael Pressley Awards from the Alliance for Catholic Education's ACE Advocates for Catholic Schools.

The seventh annual Michael Pressley Awards for Excellence in Catholic Education will go to Molly Carlin and Kyle Pietrantonio, who are both outstanding school leaders in the Atlanta area. The second annual Michael Pressley Award for a Promising Scholar in the Education Field will go to Michael Faggella-Luby, a newly tenured associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut.

Catholic School Champion: G. Michael Pressley

on Saturday, 02 June 2012.

pressley awardA prodigious and world-renowned scholar, Dr. Pressley served as the inaugural academic director of ACE's ACE Teaching Fellows (STT) program. In May 2006, he lost a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Dr. Pressley's legacy in the academic world is replete with evidence from his research, writing, mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students, contributions to state and national education policy, and service to the profession in the areas of literacy and educational psychology. He was a member of the Notre Dame psychology faculty from 1997 to 2001 and, while serving ACE, was also Notre Dame Professor of Catholic Education.

Michael Pressley was one of the most cited scholars in the field of social science and education. He belonged to the distinguished few who were among the 1 percent cited in research literature. He was well-known for his work on balanced literacy instruction, reading strategies for comprehension and text analysis. He was renowned for his senior authorship of the k–6 basal literacy program, Open Court, now known as McGraw-Hill/SRA Open Court, a series that has had a direct impact on millions of children.

Dr. Pressley was honored with several prestigious career awards during his career. He published more than 350 articles and book chapters, and authored or edited more than 25 books on literacy, psychology and education. His contributions to individuals, programs, universities and the education profession are numerous; the value of his role as a key architect of ACE STT's academic program cannot be overstated.

Soon the 2012 recipients of the Michael Pressley Awards for Academic Excellence and Promising Scholar in the Education Field will be announced. To read about last year's recipients, click here.

Citation:Michigan State University School of Education

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