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ACE "Missioning" Sends Forth Teachers and Leaders to Catholic Schools

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 31 July 2012.

Bishop McFadden's Thanks and Blessings for More than 200 Set to Serve

The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at Notre Dame capped its annual "ACE Summer" of formation programs and conferences with a "missioning" Mass on July 27, sending forth more than 200 teachers and leaders to Catholic schools across the United States.

The Most Rev. Joseph P. McFadden, bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg and a prominent voice on education within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, presided at the Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart to honor the "vocation" and "calling" of service in Catholic elementary and secondary schools.

"Your participation in the ACE program is a great blessing for the Church," he said in his homily. "As the chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Catholic Education, I thank you for your willingness to enter into this most important and essential work of the Church."

Bishop McFadden's Address to ACE School Pastors Institute

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 31 July 2012.

Full Text: July 17 Keynote by Chair of USCCB Committee on Education

This keynote address was presented to ACE's School Pastors Institute on July 17 by the Most Rev. Joseph P. McFadden, Bishop of Harrisburg and chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catholic Education.

My brothers in the Lord, I am deeply honored to have been invited to again give the keynote address for the School Pastors Institute sponsored by the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). The contribution that the ACE program has made to the work of Catholic Education in this country in the years since its inception is a real blessing for the Church. As the Chairman of the Catholic Education Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I want to publicly thank Notre Dame and all those responsible for this initiative. In its document "Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium" the Bishops of the United States called upon our Catholic Colleges and Universities to assist our Catholic elementary and secondary schools in addressing the critical staffing needs of our schools. Notre Dame has not only accepted the challenge but has worked diligently to be a catalyst to help address the various issues that are crucial to the success of maintaining Catholic Schools in the future.

As we gather for this conference I want you to know that the Bishops of the United States are deeply committed to Catholic schools and clearly understand our need to be more aggressive in supporting this important mission in the Church especially in our increasingly secular and materialistic society where the public education system has basically removed any mention of God or prayer from its schools and its classrooms. I had a letter just yesterday from Cardinal Dolan who is the President of the Bishops Conference indicating his desire that the Conference focus more attention on the situation of our Catholic schools and asking that our Committee increase its efforts in articulating more clearly the importance of this work of education in the mission of the Church and make it just as much a priority as the the Bishops stance on pro-life and immigration. He also asked that the Conference become more aggressive in advocating for both federal and local tax credits in support of our educational institutions.

 

In the Spotlight: ACE Summer Interns!

on Friday, 20 July 2012.

Their backgrounds vary, and so do the reasons they took part in the ACE Teaching Fellows program. But these ACE Interns (above, L to R, Justin Novotney, Andrea Krebs, Kyle Pounder, Casey Flynn, and Jim Murphy) are united by their faith, their commitment to Catholic education, and their views about what ACE is doing for Catholic schools.

With a father who is a deacon and a mother who was in charge of RCIA at their parish, Andrea Krebs has been a practicing Catholic since her earliest years, Still, her first experience with K-12 Catholic education was in the year after college, when she served as a missionary in Mexico, and her second was as a teacher in ACE. Of that experience, she says she especially appreciates the freedom to talk about God in the classroom and is purposeful about teaching her students to enjoy that freedom, too. "I spend a fair amount of time helping kids develop ways to talk to God." She counts her ACE experience significant in preparing her for that. When asked about how ACE makes a difference in her school, Andrea says, "ACE provides an energy and motivation for all the school's teachers and students to keep improving, to keep learning more."

Kyle Pounder agrees. "ACE is bringing young, enthusiastic, and," he adds with a grin, "naively ambitious people into Catholic schools." Unlike Andrea, the faith was not a big part of Kyle's life until he attended a Catholic high school with a largely non-Catholic student body. There he became a Christian when friends took him to a Methodist church. He also met a teacher who graduated ACE. By the time this service-oriented youth graduated college, he says, "I felt like I had received so much from people, things I didn't deserve, and I wanted to give back." He talked with his former teacher, who steered him toward ACE. Today this Protestant is passionate about Catholic schools, saying, "In addition to providing good academics, [they] provide a place of belonging for students. They are concerned about the overall well-being of each student."

Casey Flynn and her family exemplify that fact. Her dad helped start a Cristo Rey school in the Washington, DC area and now sits on the board, while her mom serves as volunteer coordinator there. And when Casey graduated from MIT, she says, "I was looking for a faith-filled service program and wanted to do it in education because that has been such a big part of my family's life." ACE filled the bill. About the program, Casey says, "[It} provides great, well-educated, young, spiritual role models for kids across the country. Each school is different, and each needs different things, but the unifying factor for all 180 ACE teachers is that they are role models."

She took the words right out of Jim Murphy's mouth. "ACE teachers are young," says the son of two Catholic school educators, "Kids see that they're comfortable with their faith." This, in addition to their emphasis on academics, makes them uniquely valuable in the lives of students. "ACE gives students both academic and spiritual role models, reinforcing learning and intellectual development as well as strong and public faith lives." Jim emphasizes that value in Catholic education writ large, too. "[It] gives students a chance to connect faith life with academic life, so instead of faith becoming a part of what they do, it becomes a part of who they are."

Justin Novotney put it this way, "Catholic education forms the whole person." Justin particularly appreciates the historical rootedness of the institution. "I believe in Catholic education," he says, "because I trust those who came before me." A product of Catholic schools, Justin graduated college with the desire to become more involved in the community and the Church. "ACE fell into my lap in the most wonderful of ways," he says, recounting his casual decision to apply after hearing an announcement about it at Mass one night. His simple thought was, "if I get in then I will do it." Now that he's finished with ACE, he speaks about the difference it is making "because it is bringing talented, enthusiastic individuals into Catholic education who otherwise might not be there. Over time, that influence adds up to supplement what the Catholic school system in America has going."

Justin, a former middle school science and math teacher, will be a student at Moreau Seminary this fall. Jim will teach world history, government & economics for a third year at a Catholic high school in Los Angeles. Casey, a math teacher, will join the faculty of a Catholic high school in Chicago. Kyle, also a high school math teacher, will begin doctoral work in math at the University of Arizona. And Andrea will return to her high school in Los Angeles, teaching Science and math.

ACE in the News: The ACE Summer through a TV Lens

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 19 July 2012.


John Staud, ACE's Senior Director for Pastoral Formation and Administration, offered a fast-paced, wide-ranging introduction to the Alliance for Catholic Education on WNIT-TV's "Experience Michiana" show Wednesday, July 18. You can go to the archived video of the show and advance to the ACE segment about nine minutes into the show.

Just a reminder that "Experience Michiana" has hosted ACE and Institute for Educational Initiatives leaders a couple of other times in the past several weeks. ClarkPower, director of Play Like a Champion Today, talked about the Play Like a Champion hosted conference on character-building in sports. Karen Morris, who directs the IEI's program bolstering Advanced Placement science and math courses, talked about the recent STEM teaching conference.

ACE in the News: Commencement

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 19 July 2012.

ACE’s Commencement exercises, held Saturday July 14, can be seen on You Tube at http://youtu.be/WeNdBPeF86A. You can check out a news story describing the event and a Notre Dame Magazine blog talking more about our Commencement speaker Dr. Teresa Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia. 

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