Alliance for Catholic Education to host array of summer conferences

Author: Bill Schmitt

Principals at ACE summer conference

Hundreds of educational leaders and others eager to enhance the future of Catholic schools will attend a unique collection of summertime conferences hosted annually by the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

The June and July conferences, some of which are currently accepting registrants, are part of ACE’s mission to sustain, strengthen and transform Catholic schools. They are a growing component of the busy summers when ACE conducts the majority of its on-campus academic programming and graduate-level classes for the next generation of Catholic school teachers and leaders.

Preparation of outstanding college graduates to teach in Catholic schools is the organization’s best-known activity, now welcoming its 20th cohort of aspiring educators as ACE prepares a major celebration of the nation’s Catholic schools to mark its 20th anniversary.

The conferences are hosted by various units of ACE that have grown in recent years to respond to particular issues and needs, with a focus on specific stakeholders. Those interested in attending or learning more can visit these conferences’ respective Web pages.

  • ACE Teaching Fellows Annual Conference (June 11-14). Participants in the Melody Family ACE Teaching Fellowship program will 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.
  • Advocates for Parental Choice Symposium (June 14-19). 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 on- and off-campus will increase these future leaders’ understanding of the social, legal, political, pedagogical and moral dimensions of parental choice.
  • Equitable Services Institute (June 23-28). Students in Catholic schools across the country are not getting federally funded services to which they’re entitled; this institute assists diocesan superintendents, principals and other educational leaders to address this problem. Attendees will receive updated information about complex federal funding policies plus practical road maps 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. Information and registration are available online.
  • Principals Academy (June 24-28). A four-day enrichment experience for Catholic school principals, titled “Fueling the Fire of Leadership in Catholic Schools,” will engage expert faculty and practitioners as they develop an action plan to increase motivational practices for instruction, enrollment and school identity. Principals will explore tangible, evidence-based strategies to increase teacher motivation and self-efficacy, improve supervision processes and encourage teacher self-evaluation to improve the professional learning environment of schools. Register for this academy hosted by ACE Consulting.
  • Latino Enrollment Institute (June 25-28). The Catholic School Advantage campaign will invite principals from around the country to discuss strategic possibilities and pursue practical strategies to increase enrollment, particularly among Latino children, in Catholic schools.
  • Superintendents Strategic Leadership Conference (July 9-12). ACE Consulting will host its annual, invitation-only conference for diocesan schools superintendents, providing expert speakers and facilitating in-depth conversations to explore key issues faced by school leaders.
  • School Pastors Institute (July 9-12). 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, hosted by ACE’s Catholic School Advantage campaign, develops many skills and perspectives that a pastor will need in overseeing a parish school, its people and its finances. Insights presented will support pastors’ reflections on the value of Catholic schools to parishioners and to the Church’s future.
  • Mary Ann Remick Leadership Conference (July 12). This conference, a capstone event for those earning their master’s degrees in educational administration through the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, 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 graduate students preparing to serve as principals present the action research they have conducted, and local visitors attending free-of-charge exchange ideas on school challenges and solutions.
  • ACE Summer Forum (July 12-14). The ACE Summer Forum is a professional development opportunity for Catholic school supporters and ACE graduates, focusing on urgent needs in Catholic schools and how advocates can address them. This summer, Forum participants will discuss raising local awareness for Catholic schools and connecting local initiatives to the broader ACE movement.
  • ACE 19 Parent Retreat (July 24-26). Parents whose sons or daughters have just finished their first year in ACE Service through Teaching 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 19 cohort to hear presentations, worship together and swap stories.

Contact: Bill Schmitt, media and communications specialist, 574-631-3893,