How Catholic Women Religious Partner with Notre Dame ACE Academies

Paul Keggington

July 24, 2010
Franciscans at Notre Dame

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity were invited to the University of Notre Dame, IN July 20-23, 2010 launching the Notre Dame ACE Academies in Tucson, AZ.

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Leonette Kochan, OSF, Sister Ellen Pachmayer, OSF, Sister Mary Ann Feminella, OSF, along with the entire faculty of Santa Cruz School, Tucson, AZ, as well as Sister Adrianna Schouten, FSCC General Administration Education Councilor,  were invited to the University of Notre Dame July 20-23, 2010 to begin a special partnership with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and the University of Notre Dame. Beginning in Fall 2010, there will be three ND ACE Academy schools in the Diocese of Tucson: St. Ambrose, St. John the Evangelist and Santa Cruz.

What is Notre Dame ACE Academy?

Notre Dame ACE Academy (NDAA) schools are parish schools that have a special partnership with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and the University of Notre Dame.

What is ACE?

The Alliance for Catholic Education is a movement based at the University of Notre Dame that strengthens and sustains Catholic schools. ACE was founded in 1994 as a two-year master of education program that prepares teachers for Catholic schools and has since grown to include a principal preparation program, an English-as-a-new-language program, and educational consulting firm and several other initiatives designed to strengthen and sustain Catholic schools.

Why was Santa Cruz chosen?

ACE selected the Catholic schools of Tucson, upon the invitation of Bishop Gerald Kicanas for several reasons:

  • Effective partnerships require the strong support of local leaders ( e.g. Sister Leonette is principal of Santa Cruz and has a strong history of support for ACE teachers who serve on the school’s faculty; Sisters serving as a school counselor and  teacher plan and serve together with ACE teachers.)
  • Schools are well-positioned to provide extraordinary educational and faith formation opportunities to a growing community.
  • Arizona’s strong individual and corporate tax credit program allows greater opportunities to extend the Catholic school advantage to students who need it most.
  • In December 2009 Notre Dame and ACE launched a campaign called The Catholic School Advantage, to double the percentage of Latino children in Catholic schools by 2020.

How will success be measured?

5 ways: Catholic identity, educational achievement, participation in Catholic schooling as measured by enrollment growth, financial stability and teacher quality and school climate (evaluated by surveys, test scores, high school and college graduation rates, balanced budgets, increases in scholarship support, low rate of teacher turnover ect.) 

Where can I learn more?

Check out these websites: Notre Dame ACE Academy Initiative, ACE, Catholic School Advantage Campaign. This is real history in the making.

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