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Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program

ACE Commencement Honors Graduates for Service and Leadership through Teaching

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 17 July 2012.

UVa President Dr. Teresa Sullivan is Commencement Speaker

The University of Notre Dame bestowed 104 graduate degrees Saturday, July 14, upon a next generation of Catholic school teachers and leaders who completed their periods of formation with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

ACE's annual Commencement exercises, held at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, drew encouragement from keynote speaker Dr. Teresa Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia, who praised the graduates' "ethic of service." A good teacher-student relationship is the basis for transforming lives, she said, regardless of how much technology or pedagogical theory might change.

"What will remain is the essential thing—the eager student working under the careful guidance of a dedicated teacher," said Sullivan, whose research as a sociologist has probed educational opportunities for inner-city students among other subjects.

A total of 81 graduates from ACE's ACE Teaching Fellows program, who had pursued their studies while teaching in Catholic K-12 schools in underserved areas around the country, capped their two-year formation by receiving the Master of Education (M. Ed. degree).

Twenty-three graduates from ACE's Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program (RLP), whose 26 months of formation prepared them to be principals and other leaders in Catholic education, received the M.A. degree in educational administration.

In the Spotlight: Susan Hendricks

on Tuesday, 19 June 2012.

When it comes to Catholic education, Susan Hendricks values history.

She values her own winding path to Catholic schools. One of seven children, she was raised in the Catholic faith. Her parents' modeling, she says, "influences me daily with my devotion to the Church and Catholic education." Because her father's Army career required multiple moves, however, only two of the eight schools she attended were Catholic. Later the young activist became a teacher and worked for several years in San Francisco's Mission District. Then she re-located to Maui and, she says, "Divine intervention guided me to a hidden jewel—Sacred Heart School of Lahaina—where I am honored to be principal."

The 150-yr-old school she now serves was founded by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts and later run by the Sisters of St. Francis. And here Susan's appreciation for history truly shines: "Standing on the shoulders of these consecrated giants and all of the everyday heroes that have gone before us is a gift of grace. We accept the mantel of duty to continue the legacy of preparing ourselves and our school community for salvation."

Now a participant in the Remick Leadership Program, Susan is devoted, "heart and mind to Catholic education." In her studies with the program, she has learned about the Church's strong foundation of support for Catholic schools. And, she says, "I am driven to share this history with my school community."

"I have learned that we do nothing alone, and that the relationships built in community of like-minded souls is a conspiracy of love, truth and action. The academic rigor and spiritual support in the ACE program has lifted my vision of Catholic education to a higher level of personal gratitude and political/social acumen. I am proud to be an agent of change in the movement of improving Catholic education today."

To learn more about the Remick Leadership Program, click here.

An Array of ACE Programs and People will Energize Summer at ND

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 29 May 2012.

The summer break at the University of Notre Dame will surge with energy as the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) begins its peak season. This internationally known initiative will welcome new classes to its formation programs for teachers and leaders and will host numerous campus programs and events for people passionate about sustaining, strengthening, and transforming Catholic schools.

ACE is best known for its ACE Teaching Fellows program, founded in 1993, to prepare young men and women from around the country to serve as teachers in under-resourced Catholic K-12 schools in more than two dozen dioceses. Nearly 90 newcomers in ACE's 19th class will arrive on Friday, June 1, to begin their formation in this two-year journey that culminates in an M.Ed. degree.

These competitively selected members of ACE 19 will join the ACE 18 teachers taking their second summer of courses, and all will spend eight weeks experiencing the pillars of ACE formation—excellence in professional service, community life, and spiritual growth. The two cohorts will live in residence halls and share retreats and daily Mass opportunities during their rigorous summer schedules. They will prepare to take up classroom duties this fall in numerous cities—from Brownsville, TX, to Washington, DC, from Los Angeles to Memphis to Tucson—serving children in Catholic schools while living in intentional ACE community houses near those schools.

ACE Service to Catholic Schools Shines Light in Summer Conferences

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 15 May 2012.

The University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) will once again welcome hundreds of visitors to the campus this summer for a unique series of conferences, all advancing ACE’s mission to sustain, strengthen, and transform Catholic schools.

The conferences, some of which are currently accepting registrants, constitute a growing part of the busy summer to be enjoyed by ACE participants. Hundreds of those participants will receive skills and personal formation to earn master’s degrees as K-12 Catholic school teachers and leaders.

Various units of ACE, which have multiplied during 19 years in response to the needs of children in under-resourced Catholic schools, host conferences that address today’s urgent issues. These include galvanizing top-notch teachers and school leaders; encouraging parental choice policies and informed financial strategies for Catholic school sustainability; promoting athletic coaching that ministers to young people; and introducing parents and South Bend-area educators to the summertime wellspring of Notre Dame’s commitment to K-12 schooling.

These conferences are coming up in 2012:

ACE Teaching Fellows Annual Conference (June 5-10). Participants in the Melody Family ACE Teaching Fellowship program convene to assess and catalyze their growth as master teachers, educational leaders, and generators of problem-solving research. Several benefactor-supported fellowships support highly promising educators who wish to continue their careers in Catholic classrooms while pursuing advanced knowledge and skills. Fellows cultivate these leadership assets along with their mentors during the conference. Read more about the ACE Teaching Fellows Annual Conference.

Advocates for Parental Choice Symposium (June 15-20). This intensive formation experience gives participants a first-hand experience of people and places on the cutting edge in implementing school choice policies. Catholic school supporters will receive skills, insights, and working relationships to equip them as advocates in the parental choice movement. Major speakers and visits to Wisconsin and Florida will increase these future leaders’ understanding of the legal, social, constitutional, political, and moral dimensions of parental choice.

Hope in Action: Transforming Haiti Through Catholic Education (June 19-20). A select group of Church, education, philanthropic, and international developmental leaders will gather to probe how a stronger Catholic education system can transform Haiti's education sector and advance the nation's social and economic development. Forum hosts and partners will introduce innovative pathways for quality Catholic education in Haiti. Partners in this international leadership forum include Catholic Relief Services, the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Haitian Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education, as well as three units of the University—the Alliance for Catholic Education, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Learn more about ACE in Haiti.

Play Like a Champion Today Sports Leadership Conference (June 22-24). This annual conference, titled “Champion Character in Sports” for 2012, emphasizes developing the whole person through sports. Guest speakers offer professional development for coaches and athletic administrators at both the youth and high school levels. Hosted by ACE’s Play Like a Champion Today® experts in sports as ministry, the conference gathers representatives of parochial leagues around the country to network and share best practices. Register for the Play Like a Champion Today Sports Leadership Conference.

Superintendents Strategic Leadership Conference (June 24-27). ACE Consulting will host its annual Superintendents Strategic Leadership Conference, inviting educational leaders from dioceses across the country. This year's conference is titled "Together in Mission: Creating a Culture of Hope." Expert speakers and in-depth conversations will explore key issues faced by school leaders. Learn more about the Superintendents Strategic Leadership Conference.

Principals Academy (June 26-29). A four-day enrichment experience for Catholic school principal will focus on identifying and shaping a school’s culture to benefit leadership and learning. The values of a school, expressed actively and nurtured in a culture, provide a framework in which teachers can reduce students’ achievement gaps and leaders can promote continuous improvement in a school. This academy, hosted by ACE Consulting, will help principals develop action plans to improve and utilize their school culture. Register here for the Principals Academy.

Equitable Services Institute (July 8-12). Students in Catholic schools across the country are not getting federally funded services to which they’re entitled; the Equitable Services Institute assists diocesan superintendents, principals, and other educational leaders to solve this problem. Attendees will receive updated information about complex federal funding policies plus practical roadmaps for the process of consultations by which educators obtain equitable shares for their students from Title 1, Title 2, and Title 3 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Learn more about, and register for, the Equitable Services Institute.

School Pastors Institute (July 17-20). Pastors whose parishes include schools are invited to this annual institute to learn to manage and leverage better the distinctive relationship between a parish and its school. The Institute develops many skills and perspectives that a pastor will need in overseeing a parish school, its people, and its finances. It provides insights for valuable reflection on the value of Catholic schools to the children and parents of a parish and to the future of the Church as a whole. 

ACE Parent Retreat (July 25-27). Parents whose sons or daughters have just finished their first year in ACE Teaching Fellows often have many questions about these first-year teachers’ experiences. ACE Advocates hosts a special retreat for these parents at Notre Dame to get their questions answered and to see the broader context of the journey their ACE teachers are taking. The retreat also allows these parents of the ACE 18 cohort to hear presentations, worship together, and swap stories. Learn more about the ACE Parent Retreat.

Mary Ann Remick Leadership Conference (July 13). This conference, a capstone event for those earning their master’s degrees in educational administration through the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program (RLP), is a unique and informal venue for South Bend-area educators to discuss current research with ACE leaders and experts from across the country. The RLP participants present the action research they have conducted to help address key day-to-day issues facing Catholic schools, and local educational leaders attending free-of-charge may exchange useful ideas. Read about last year’s Remick Leadership Conference and read about the value of action research.

Survey of Principals by Remick Leadership Program Sees Challenges

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 16 April 2012.

Latest ACE Research Finds Principals Faith-filled but Under Pressure

Catholic elementary school principals, speaking out in a major nationwide survey, report experiencing acute challenges and frustrations in the operation of their schools, and they identify financial management, marketing, Catholic identity, enrollment management, and long-range planning as their schools’ top five areas of need.

The study, just completed by the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and its Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, is a rare, comprehensive glimpse of these principals’ views on what they need to do their jobs better and how they describe the state of Catholic education today.

"It is difficult to read the responses of Catholic school principals in this study and not sense both their commitment to this ministry and the overwhelming responsibilities that are associated with it,” say the authors of “Leadership Speaks: A National Survey of Catholic Primary School Principals.” They paint a picture of principals as faith-filled individuals confronting unusually challenging expectations, worthy of new forms of support, such as their own national association.

The study has not yet been published, but the authors—Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, along with two members of the Remick Leadership Program faculty, Anthony Holter and James Frabutt—presented an overview of their work during the National Catholic Educational Association annual convention held April 11-13 in Boston.

A total of 1,685 Catholic school principals representing all areas of the country and all types of school locations and organizational structures, participated in the survey during 2010, answering nearly three dozen questions.

When invited to give open-ended answers, the participants narrowed down the five top areas of need to the two they called most important—enrollment management and financial management—which together often capture the most basic goal of survival, keeping a school open.

Based on the data obtained, “the Church seems to have hired well, attracting mission-driven and loyal individuals to the overarching goals of Catholic education,” according to the study. But these principals live daily with what has been called “the tyranny of the urgent,” hungering for more support—“emotional as well as financial.”

“A Catholic school principal has job expectations that go beyond what can be found in secular educational literature,” the authors note, pointing out that the work of a chief executive officer and a chief operating officer is combined with the school’s overarching religious purpose: “the sanctification of all its stakeholders.”

The study provides enormous amounts of data describing today’s Catholic school principals and outlining their views, and the authors conclude with four recommendations:

· Develop “new models of governance for Catholic elementary schools” that shift the panoply of principal responsibilities “into a more manageable and realistic position description.”

· “Develop a program of ongoing professional development and renewal for principals” that address their needs, both professional and personal.

· Organize a national association of Catholic school principals as a means “to give voice to their leadership concerns at every level and to promote advocacy for Catholic schools at the national level.”

· “Convene multiple groups of national and international stakeholders to advance the understanding of Catholic schools as instruments of the new evangelization.”