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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.

Catholic Education Journal Focuses on ACE Leadership in Action Research

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 12 March 2012.

Remick Leadership Program Faculty and Students Spotlight Problem-Solving

An article by Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) faculty members in the latest issue of Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice makes the case for "action research" as crucial to formation in ACE's Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program and "at the center of a vocation in Catholic education."

The online journal's March 2012 edition, just posted this week, also includes three examples of action research completed by participants in the Remick Leadership Program (RLP) curriculum. They reflect the value of Catholic school leaders who are prepared to solve problems through insights from both sound data and the school's mission.

This exploration of action research in the journal's current issue is summed up by the article, "Mission Driven and Data Informed Leadership," written by Anthony Holter, Ph.D., and Jim Frabutt, Ph.D., who are members of the RLP faculty. They present three problem-solving research products generated through the RLP program—one on attracting Latino families to Catholic schools, one on addressing children's literacy needs in grades 4 through 8, and one on building a Catholic school's sense of community.

ND and AT&T Team Up to Expand Educational Opportunities in Tucson

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 08 March 2012.

AT&T Contributes $800,000 in Scholarships for At-Risk Children

AT&T and the University of Notre Dame have teamed up to dramatically expand educational opportunities available to at-risk children in Tucson. By making an $800,000 contribution through Arizona's corporate tax credit scholarship program, AT&T has created hundreds of scholarships for children to attend the two Notre Dame ACE Academies on the south side of Tucson: St. John the Evangelist and Santa Cruz.

Jerry Fuentes, President of AT&T Arizona/New Mexico, announced the partnership with Notre Dame on Friday, March 2 at an event at St. John the Evangelist School in Tucson. Fuentes was joined by Notre Dame ACE Academies director Christian Dallavis, president of the Arizona School Choice Trust Elizabeth Dreckman, and Arizona state senator Olivia Cajero-Bedford, as well as 200 children, teachers, parents, and school leaders from the two Notre Dame ACE Academies in Tucson, including Priscilla Bussari, the mother of scholarship recipients at St. John and a member of the ND ACE Academies Tucson School Board.

ndaa-att-check-2"AT&T is committed to driving innovation in education by investing locally, connecting people and seeking exponential change. By strengthening educational opportunities for the children of Tucson, we're investing in the future of our community, our state, and our nation," Fuentes said. "Programs like these seek to increase high school graduation rates which is a key indicator for success."

Catholic School Champion: Sister Mary Willette, SSND

on Wednesday, 07 March 2012.

SrWilletteWithChildren SmallSister Mary Willette is an expert at creating a welcoming school environment for Latino families. She did that--with great success--for nearly a decade as principal of the former San Miguel Middle School in Minneapolis.

Well before becoming principal, the School Sister of Notre Dame believed strongly in responding to urgent needs. But the belief took on a particular shape while she was studying to become a licensed administrator. "After I finished my studies," Sr. Mary says, "I had a deep desire to be in ministry with economically challenged families and students who struggle academically."

The desire led her to San Miguel, where her focus became the school's many Latino immigrant families. There she saw that "serving the immigrant population is one of those [urgent] needs," she says.

Sr. Mary developed many strategies for welcoming and enfolding Latino families into the school. Among them, she actively involved parents and guardians in their child/ren's education, offering conferences four times a year (with nearly 100% participation!) and meetings on topics pertinent to raising middle school children. Sr. Mary also trained her teachers in culturally responsive techniques and strategies for teaching second language learners.

Along the way, she learned many important lessons: "Integrate Latino values and history into the curriculum and the school environment rather than just celebrating specific events," she says. "Educate benefactors, volunteers, families and students, teachers and staff regarding the value of including Latinos in the school; encourage them to get involved with comprehensive immigration reform."

Such strategies and lessons worked well for the students at San Miguel, closing the achievement gap and sending them well-prepared to high school. Though the school shut its doors in June 2011 due to insufficient funds, its influence—and that of Sr. Mary—lives on. According to a farewell letter from the school's leaders:

"Our alumni provide the most tangible evidence of the fulfillment of our mission. Over 92% of students who graduated in the past four years from San Miguel are still in high school and progressing toward graduation. Many graduates are the first in their families to complete high school in the United States. San Miguel students and graduates represent a vital bridge, connecting their families to the realization of the American dream."

We congratulate Sr. Mary Willette for the integral role she has played in the lives of her students. And we pray God's richest blessings on her in her new role as coordinator of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Generalate House and Local Community in Rome, Italy.

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