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Network of Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ Inner-City Schools Partners with Notre Dame ACE Academies

on Monday, 11 April 2016.

Notre Dame ACE Academies Indianapolis Partnership

The University of Notre Dame announced today it will establish five new Notre Dame ACE Academies in a partnership with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. The Notre Dame ACE Academies are a network of academically excellent, financially sustainable, and distinctively Catholic K-8 schools that operate through the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

Five Catholic schools in Indianapolis—Central CatholicHoly Angels, Holy Cross, St. Anthony, and St. Philip Neri—will join the network which currently includes eight schools: two in Tucson, Arizona; two in Tampa, Florida; and four in Orlando, Florida. Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Superintendent Gina Kuntz Fleming, and Rodney Pierre-Antoine, the Gary and Barbara Pasquinelli Family Director of the Notre Dame ACE Academies, announced the partnership on April 11, 2016.

“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has long been a leader in finding innovative ways to serve the educational and spiritual needs of children from some of the lowest income areas in Indianapolis,” said Archbishop Tobin. “Partnering with the Notre Dame ACE Academies will strengthen these five schools by providing students even more resources and opportunities. I’m committed to seeing that these children have the same chance I had to grow up in a community of faith and to receive an excellent Catholic education.”

The five Indianapolis schools currently constitute the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies (MTCA), a consortium of schools that serve the most under-resourced students in the Archdiocese. In 2005, these schools formed the MTCA to share financial resources and personnel, and to gain support from a central office in an effort to continue serving the city’s most at-risk students. By designating these five schools as Notre Dame ACE Academies, the Archdiocese and Notre Dame will continue the efforts of MTCA and leverage a broader pool of resources and support to serve the children of Indianapolis through a unique model of Catholic schooling.

“More than 10 years ago, Archbishop Emeritus Daniel Buechlein had the wisdom and progressive thought to approach urban Catholic education differently in an effort to better meet the holistic needs of the children and families served. Now, under Archbishop Joseph Tobin, the Archdiocese welcomes the Notre Dame ACE Academies to share in the next decade of more enhanced support for all. By joining forces with Notre Dame, we are confident that we will aid in the transformation of lives as we help our youth achieve college, career and heaven,” said Fleming.

The mission of the Notre Dame ACE Academies is to provide a Catholic education of the highest quality to as many children as possible by mobilizing the resources of the University, the diocese, statewide parental choice programs, and local communities. ACE faculty and staff will work closely with school and diocesan leaders in Indianapolis to increase academic achievement, boost enrollment, and strengthen the schools’ Catholic identity by enhancing school leadership, curriculum, instruction, professional development, financial management, and marketing.

The Notre Dame ACE Academies were founded in 2010 by ACE as a response to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' call for a “new model of sponsorship and collaboration” between Catholic institutions of higher education and parish schools. The network has heeded the call and continues to grow while experiencing both academic and enrollment gains in its schools.

The existing Notre Dame ACE Academies schools are closing the achievement gap that many inner-city students experience. From Fall 2011 to Spring 2015, on average, students improved in math from the 31st percentile to the 67th percentile, moving from the bottom third to the top third in the nation. In 2015, the network was recognized by the White House as an outstanding resource of educational excellence for Hispanic students.

Enrollment gains at the current Notre Dame ACE Academies have been dramatic as well, defying national trends in Catholic schools. Since the partnership began, Notre Dame ACE Academies in Tucson have increased enrollment by 80%, and schools in the Diocese of St. Petersburg have grown their enrollment by 41%. Overall, the Notre Dame ACE Academies currently serve 2,323 students. By expanding the partnership to include Indianapolis, ACE will extend the benefits of its model to nearly 3,600 children and their families.

“We are excited to kick things off with our new partners and to grow our community of committed professional educators,” Rodney Pierre-Antoine added. “Our teachers and principals have demonstrated, with zeal, that it’s possible to close the achievement gap on the south side of Tucson, in Tampa, and in Orlando. We’re thrilled that our new partners in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis are just as committed to doing whatever it takes to put every student on the path to college and heaven.”

To learn more about the Notre Dame ACE Academies, visit: https://ace.nd.edu/academies.

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