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Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program

Catholic Preschool Programs Are Area of Growth, Opportunity, and Responsibility

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 08 April 2013.

Faculty's Jim Frabutt Tells NCEA and Radio Audiences about His Research

The number of four-year-olds in early-childhood education programs in the United States has skyrocketed from about 127,000 in the 1960s to 2.7 million today, says Dr. Jim Frabutt, a member of the faculty in ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. Catholic schools are sharing in that trend and in the emerging opportunities, he adds.

Frabutt, who discussed his research on the topic in a presentation last week to the National Catholic Educational Association’s annual convention, says pre-kindergarten programs are “a real growth area in Catholic education.” He spoke on the Son Rise Morning Show, giving a national Catholic radio network audience a glimpse at the NCEA presentation he gave with Rachel Waldron, a graduate of the Remick Leadership Program.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for family evangelization,” Frabutt told Morning Show anchor Brian Patrick on Friday, April 5. He said research on Catholic preschool programs in 15 arch/dioceses, including interviews with diocesan superintendents, uncovered not only growth in the programs, but nearly unanimous hope that this would help Catholic schools reach out to parents of these young children in the spirit of the New Evangelization.

At the same time, the opportunity to connect these children and their parents to Catholic schools and the Church spotlights the need to further “professionalize” the teaching and operation of the pre-K programs, Frabutt added. As with all Catholic schooling, the programs must serve the development of the whole child, including cognitive, emotional, social, and moral growth.

Regarding pre-school education, he said, “we need to invest in the people who are delivering it and the skill with which we’re doing so.”

Frabutt is the author of a new book—Beyond Academics: Supporting the Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health of Students in Catholic Schoolson Catholic schools’ attention to development of the whole child.       

The NCEA presentation by Frabutt and Waldron was titled “Educating the Youngest Hearts and Minds: The Landscape of Catholic Preschool Education.”

Rev. Ronald Nuzzi to Lead New ACE Initiative

Written by William Schmitt on Friday, 05 April 2013.

Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, Ph.D., senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program at Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), will lead a new ACE initiative focusing on Catholic schools and the New Evangelization beginning in August, 2013. This Catholic School Identity Renewal Initiative will help Catholic elementary and secondary schools across the country to deepen their Catholic identity and to strengthen their faculty faith formation efforts.

Father Nuzzi's leadership of this initiative requires his departure from the directorship of the Remick Leadership Program, although he will continue to teach in the program. ACE will undertake a search for a new director of the program, which has become the largest of its kind, preparing tomorrow's knowledgeable, faith-filled leaders for Catholic schools.

The new initiative to take shape under Father Nuzzi's guidance will respond to Church leaders' growing focus on the vital role of Catholic schools in the New Evangelization. This effort to help schools make their identity more vibrant is a natural outgrowth of ACE's nearly 20 years of service to sustain, strengthen, and transform Catholic schools. More details will be forthcoming about ACE's work in this area.

Father Nuzzi, a priest of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, came to ACE in 2002 as the founding director of the principal formation initiative that later would be named the Remick Leadership Program. This graduate-level leadership preparation initiative has recently recruited its 12th class and has already prepared more than 200 master's-degree graduates to lead Catholic schools nationwide.

Catholic School Experts Exploring Voucher Laws, Enrollment Gains

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 04 April 2013.

Insights are tapped by Media Covering a Range of Hopeful News

Upticks in enrollment and a legal affirmation of Indiana’s school-vouchers law have been among the good news for Catholic schools reported recently in the media. Journalists turned to a variety of Notre Dame faculty and staff for expertise on aspects of these stories.

John Schoenig, director of ACE’s Program for K-12 Educational Access and an experienced analyst of parental choice policies around the country, offered insights on Indiana’s school vouchers law. The legislative debate about amending the vouchers policy had prompted a National Public Radio reporter to interview Schoenig in February. The decision by the Indiana Supreme Court in March declaring vouchers to be constitutional led the National Catholic Register to quote Schoenig’s assessment of the ruling.

See a new "ND Expert" story outlining his thoughts on possible school-voucher implications in other states.

The latest issue of Chicago’s archdiocesan newspaper Catholic New World reports that “efforts to persuade Latino parents to send their children to Catholic schools appear to be paying off.” A key source helping to tell that story is Juana Sanchez Graber, a field consultant leading ACE’s “Catholic School Advantage” campaign in the archdiocese.

In covering a new initiative for Catholic educator engagement in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, the latest issue of National Catholic Register quotes Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. Father Nuzzi affirmed the kudos going to Bishop Robert Vasa’s planned educator-renewal program, which will spotlight key teachings of the Church: “This work of faith formation, the evangelization and re-evangelization of adults, is never done.”

Separately, Father Nuzzi's reflection on Pope Emeritus Benedict's strong support for Catholic education was presented in the popular blog Catholicmom.com.

A story in an online newsletter covering education reform, RedefinED. has reported that Catholic school enrollment in Florida increased last year. The newsletter, which has interviewed Notre Dame ACE Academies director Christian Dallavis in the past, noted a partnership with ACE Academies as one of the constructive steps taken by the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

Catholic Schools Go Beyond Academics to Meet a Range of Students' Needs

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 28 March 2013.

ACE Scholar's New Book Informs Mission of Care for the Whole Person

Schools must give all children the maximum opportunity for learning—a goal which requires not only academic excellence but support for the mental, emotional, and behavioral health needs of their students. That goes without saying in the context of a Catholic school's caring community, emphasizing respect for the whole person, but a new book from an Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) scholar at the University of Notre Dame will help educators understand and meet these needs more holistically and effectively.

James M. Frabutt, Ph.D., an experienced teacher of tomorrow's educational leaders and an expert in child development, has written Beyond Academics: Supporting the Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health of Students in Catholic Schools. Readers will come away better prepared to understand and deal with the prevalence of these health issues, as well as their intersection with the Catholic school mission—helping children achieve their God-given potential.

"This book uniquely captures evidence-driven best practices for educating multi-faceted human beings and the faith perspectives that anchor those practices in a Catholic school context," says Frabutt. "All schools need to do a better job of going beyond academics, but the book will give Catholic educators particular hope that they can do so in a distinctive, strategic, and integrated way."

An experienced faculty member in ACE's Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program and author of nationally recognized studies addressing Catholic school challenges, Frabutt provides an authoritative overview of statistics, trends, and action-oriented research to help Catholic educators combine higher academic achievement, holistic student wellness, and overall school improvement.

Frabutt, scheduled as one of the presenters at the April 2-4 convention of the National Catholic Educational Association, has coauthored books including Steadfast in Faith, Striving for Balance: The Notre Dame Study of Catholic Elementary School Principals and Building Assets: The Strategic Use of Closed Catholic Schools. At the Houston convention, he and co-presenter Rachel Waldron will speak on "Educating the Youngest Hearts and Minds: The Landscape of Catholic Preschool Education."

Before joining the faculty of ACE's Remick Leadership Program at Notre Dame, Frabutt served as Deputy Director of the Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Prior to that, he was the Director of the Division for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Aggression at the Center for the Study of Social Issues at UNCG.

His new book, Beyond Academics, can be purchased from Information Age Publishers


Publication Date: 2013


Paperback: 9781623962869

Hardcover: 9781623962876

E-Book: 9781623962883


Paperback: $45.99

Hardcover: $85.99

Special Price: $39.99 paperbacks plus s/h and $69.99 hardcover plus s/h

IAP - Information Age Publishing Inc., PO Box 79049, Charlotte, NC 28271

tel: 704-752-9125 fax: 704-752-9113 e-mail:

NCEA Convention Hosted a Range of ACE Speakers and Insights

Written by William Schmitt on Wednesday, 27 March 2013.

Leadership, Catholic Identity Among Topics for Educators at Houston Event

Members of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) family and friends were among the Catholic school experts making presentations at the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Annual Convention and Expo April 2-4 in Houston, Texas.

The convention, a premier event convening Catholic school educators from around the country, offers presentations on a wide variety of topics, and the speakers from ACE addressed subjects relevant to schools’ roles in the New Evangelization. The subjects ranged from the spirituality of Catholic school leadership to virtue in high school sports, from improving school finances to increasing Latino enrollments.

A full schedule of presentations is available online from the NCEA. Those with particular ties to ACE included:

Erika Banwarth Cedrone, a partner in ACE’s Catholic School Advantage campaign, who spoke on “Increasing Latino Enrollment in our Catholic Schools.”

Frank DiLallo, M. Ed., LPC, an author published by ACE Press, spoke on “A Catholic Educator Response to Bullying.”

Jim Frabutt, Ph.D., faculty member in ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, was a co-presenter, with Rachel Waldron, MA (a graduate of ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program), on the topic, “Educating the Youngest Hearts and Minds: The Landscape of Catholic Preschool Education.”

Erik Goldschmidt, Ph.D., a graduate of ACE’s third cohort of teachers, addressed the issue of “Enhancing Faculty Faith Formation with Online Resources.”

Juana Sanchez Graber, a field consultant with ACE's Catholic School Advantage campaign, spoke on "Developing a Parent Ambassador Program" with Jean Simpson.

Mary C. McDonald, Ed. D., an author published by ACE Press, made two presentations, one titled “A Light Reflected,” and the other titled “Fishing on the Other Side of the Boat.”

Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, Ph.D., ACE’s senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, made a presentation titled “Towards a Spirituality of Leadership: A Catholic and International Perspective.” He was also a co-presenter in two other sessions—“Towards a Bright Future: Current Research on Catholic Schools” and “Catholic Section of the Praeger Handbook of Faith-Based Schools in the United States, K-12.”

Clark Power, Ph.D., director of ACE’s Play Like a Champion Today ® training and research program for character education through sports, spoke on “Developing Virtue Through Sport: A Catholic Mission for High Schools.”

Jim Rigg, Ph.D., superintendent for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and a graduate of ACE’s sixth cohort of teachers, spoke on “Blessings and Bucks: Making Sense of School Financial Vitality.”

Anne Stricherz, M.A.T., a graduate of ACE’s third cohort of teachers, spoke on “Sports and Spirituality: Fertile Ground for the New Evangelization.”

David Tompkins, M.A., faculty member in ACE’s English as a New Language certificate program and a seasoned ENL teacher, presented “Teaching the Immigrant Church: Ten Strategies to Support Linguistically Diverse Children and Promote a More Culturally Inclusive School.”

Steven Virgadamo, associate director of ACE Consulting with over 25 years of experience in managing and leading Catholic institutions, spoke on “Applied Behavioral Sciences in the Art of Face-to-Face Cultivation and Solicitation of Donors.”

A complete description of the Annual Convention and its activities can be found at the NCEA website.