Monthly Message from NCEA President/CEO – November 2016


Catholic Schools: Communities of Academic Excellence

Last month, I was joined by a record number of attendees at the Catholic Leadership Summit (CLS) to engage in big picture conversations about the future of Catholic schools and share in leadership and professional development. The superintendents and diocesan leaders came together because they – because we – believe that Catholic schools change lives. Each of us knows this and leaders gathered at CLS to share their good news stories and spend time with others who share their deep commitment to the “why” of Catholic schools. Catholic schools form students in the faith and provide academic rigor and better educational outcomes by developing the whole child – mentally, physically and spiritually. Catholic schools work.

Research dating back over 30 years indicates that academic excellence and character development are complementary. To emphasize one and not the other would be a disservice to students. As faith-centered environments, Catholic schools impart both. The priority given to religious, moral and spiritual development is a significant plus.

At CLS, Bishop George Murry, SJ, Chair of the NCEA Board and Bishop of Youngstown, emphasized in his keynote speech, that Catholic schools are academically excellent – and the proof is out there! The latest data released from the National Center for Education Statistics for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicates that eighth graders in our Catholic schools score an average of 12 and 20 points higher in math and reading, 14 points higher in technology and engineering literacy, and 17 points higher in history, geography, and civics when compared to eighth graders in public schools. Also, twelfth graders in Catholic schools score an average of 20 and 26 points higher in math and reading. Furthermore, these same twelfth graders will score an average of 45, 43, and 53 points higher on their math, reading, and writing SAT assessments, respectively.

I want to hear more good stories. Share your individual school and diocesan successes with NCEA at and bring them with you to NCEA 2017 Convention & Expo in St. Louis. Join us April 18 – 20 for this one-of-a-kind event that brings together Catholic educators to witness faith, exchange ideas and debut cutting-edge research and technologies related to education. Click here to learn why you should attend, to view the preliminary program and to register today. See you there!