Category Archives: Association News

More Than $800,000 Donated to Catholic Schools Nationwide as Part of a National Day of Giving

National Catholic Schools Week was the back drop for the Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving to Catholic Schools.


The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), this year introduced a unique fundraising event to coincide with the 44th National Catholic Schools Week (CSW), January 28 – February 3, 2018. As a new and different model for fundraising, the Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving to Catholic Schools was a 24-hour opportunity for Catholic schools to fundraise and a way for anyone wanting to celebrate their Catholic school education to give back to the Catholic school of their choice.

“The Day of Giving was a huge success,” said Dr. Thomas Burnford, NCEA president/CEO. “For an inaugural campaign, we are thrilled at the number of donors and that Catholic schools were able to have this opportunity to test a new fundraising idea and benefit from it. Our partnership with FACTS Management helped make this idea a reality for Catholic schools. What a terrific example of the strength of Catholic schools and the generosity of the people who have been impacted by them.”

From 9 AM on January 30 through 9 AM on January 31, nearly 7,000 donations were made to 539 schools. The generous support of FACTS Management, made it possible for Catholic schools and arch/dioceses to have their own customized giving pages and to participate in the online giving platform and campaign. In addition to the funds raised through the individual school’s giving pages, some Catholic schools reported an additional $105,751 was raised outside the portal. Some NCEA member schools pulled out all the stops making sure their school communities and parishes, local businesses and alumni, parents and students and friends were aware of the inaugural fundraising event.

Most excited about the one-day event are the top three schools — in terms of total gift amounts received: Blessed Trinity Catholic High School, Roswell, GA raised $26,332; Holy Cross Academy, Fredericksburg, VA raised $22,280; and Andrean High School, Merrillville, IN raised $17,344.

By leveraging social media, this national day of philanthropy and camaraderie invited all people, across the country, impacted by Catholic school education in ways big and small, to financially donate at a local level. Donors were able to search an online directory page for the institutions to which they wanted to give. NCEA hopes this inaugural campaign will help schools develop new donor connections and foster existing relationships.

Since August 2017, NCEA has facilitated fundraising for Catholic schools by directly and indirectly raising a total of more than $1.4 million between the Student to Student campaign (more than $685,000 raised by more than 800 Catholic schools) for hurricane and wild fire relief and the Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving to Catholic Schools, which helped raise more than $800,000 in 24 hours.

The Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas is Appointed as NCEA Chairman of the Board

The National Catholic Educational Association is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has appointed The Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, D.D., Ph.D., as chair of the board to replace The Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., who stepped down from the position on December 8.  Bishop Kicanas will assume the duties as chair on January 1, 2018.

Bishop Kicanas has an extensive background in education having served as a religion teacher, counselor, principal and seminary rector, in addition to his extensive ministry as a bishop both on the local and national levels.  The NCEA board and staff are greatly looking forward to working closely with Bishop Kicanas in his new role.

Bishop Kicanas is the bishop emeritus from the Diocese of Tucson. He is a board member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, known as CLINIC. He also is the former chairman of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency. He continues his involvement with CRS as a member of their Foundation Board. He is vice-chancellor of the Catholic Extension Society serving mission dioceses throughout the United States. You can read the full press release on our website.


NCEA Remembers Seton Awardee Dr. Elinor R. Ford, former president of William H. Sadlier Publishing Company.

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) offers prayers and condolences to the family of Dr. Elinor R. Ford, who passed away on December 22.

Dr. Ford served as superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York and was the first woman appointed in the archdiocese. She also chaired the New York Archdiocesan Council for Religious Education and established the first national Catholic parent organization.  While teaching at Fordham University, Dr. Ford co-founded with Father  Vincent Novak, SJ, chair of Fordham’s department of religion and religious education, a doctoral program for church leaders.  She served as director for Fordham’s Center for Catholic School Leadership.

As a trustee of the Middle States Accreditation Association (MSA), Dr. Ford became the first chair of MSA’s newly established accreditation process for elementary schools and realized her dream that Catholic elementary schools be recognized by an accrediting agency.

In 1979, Dr. Ford joined Sadlier Publishing Company as a publisher.  She became president of Sadlier in 1984 until 1991.

Described as a friend, champion, supporter and challenger to those called as educators and leaders in the ministry of Catholic education, Dr. Ford was awarded NCEA’s St. Elizabeth Seton President’s Award in 2007, one of many honors and awards she received.

Dr. Ford dedicated the last 25 years of her life to help create future leaders of Catholic education.  She partnered with diocesan leaders to teach at various Catholic universities to create graduate programs for teachers and catechists to be trained as principals, parish directors of religious education and other diocesan positions.

NCEA Offers Prayers and Support to Suffering Catholic School Communities Across the Nation

Communities, parishes, Catholic schools struggle to cope with extreme events.

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) continues to pray for Catholic school communities and all communities faced with loss and rebuilding following the extreme weather events of the last few months — hurricanes in the south and southeastern United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the wildfires in the western United States.

Most recently, in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, two schools, serving about 400 students, have been destroyed by wildfires and their communities devastated by loss. Cardinal Newman High School reports that hundreds of its students and their families have suffered the loss of their homes and Saint Rose Elementary reported to the diocese that of their 250 plus students 29 had lost their homes.

The Diocese of Santa Rosa serves approximately 165,000 Catholics stretched along northern California, from the northern edge of Marin County to the Oregon border. The diocese includes 41 parishes, 17 schools, two campus ministries and many Catholic organizations.

NCEA encourages all to continue to help Catholic school communities. As news stories may begin to fade, let us not forget the people in these communities who will be rebuilding their lives for years to come.

Donations still can be made to the Student to Student program,, established by NCEA to help with hurricane relief and expanded to include Catholic school communities affected by recent natural disasters. The Diocese of Santa Rosa has launched a donation site for affected parishes and schools,


Student to Student: A Catholic School Response to Hurricane Harvey

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is beginning a campaign in solidarity with our Catholic school families throughout the country as we seek to help Catholic schools in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.  NCEA invites every Catholic school family to contribute at least $1 per student to this national drive.

These funds will be used to help Catholic schools impacted by the storm rebuild, reopen and re-enroll students. The number of affected Catholic schools is still being determined, but more than 150 Catholic schools are in the storm’s path.

NCEA President/CEO Thomas Burnford said, Our hearts and prayers are with our Catholic schools and all those affected by Hurricane Harvey. In keeping with our mission to serve others, we hope this campaign will help Catholic schools facing recovery and rebuilding.

To make a donation or for more information about this campaign, please visit the Student to Student campaign page on the NCEA website.

There are more than 6,420 Catholic schools in the United States with nearly 1.9 million students.

Thank you again for support and prayers.

NCEA will distribute 100% of the funds collected to dioceses in the affected areas for their Catholic schools in vital need of support due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

Individual donations can be made online.

The National Catholic Educational Association Welcomes the Decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to Strike Down Church-State Barrier

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) applauds the 7-2 decision reached by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2017, in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer. The ruling states that the state of Missouri cannot deny public funds to a church simply because it is a religious organization.

This major case involved the denial of a state grant program to the Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center (daycare and preschool) to install a safer playground surface using recycled tires. Although it placed fourth in the grant competition, the center was denied the funding solely because it was run by a religious institution and the Missouri state constitution disallows aid to such institutions. The Supreme Court’s ruling states that “The department’s policy violated the rights of Trinity Lutheran under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by denying the Church an otherwise available public benefit on account of its religious status.”

While this case specifically concerns Missouri, many states have their own versions of the constitutional provision used by Missouri to deny money to Trinity Lutheran—they’re referred to as Blaine Amendments. Blaine Amendments are controversial state constitutional provisions based on the 19th century era of anti-Catholicism.

Dr. Tom Burnford, president/CEO of NCEA said, “It is the hope of NCEA that this decision will support efforts to repeal similar Blaine Amendments, while allowing all states to provide parents with more choices in selecting the best options for educating their children.”

March Public Policy Updates

The following article was contributed by Sr. Dale McDonald, PVBM, PhD., NCEA Director of Public Policy.

Here are some important reminders for upcoming deadlines that can impact your school.

E-Rate Application Window is Open

Monday, February 27, officially marked the opening of the FY 2017 FCC Form 471 application filing window. You are encouraged to complete and certify Form 471 as early as it is reasonably possible. The Form 471 filing window is scheduled to close on Thursday, May 11.  Remember that the Form 470 must be filed 28 days prior to submitting the Form 471. Last possible date to file Form 470 is April 13.  See the NCEA website for more information.

ESSA Consultation Process

The consultation process for obtaining ESSA services for next year should be underway.  If not, contact your local school district (LEA) to ask them to begin the process.  Much has changed under the new law so be sure to familiarize yourself with the parts of the law that pertain to equitable services for private school students and teachers and bring the documents with you to the consultation meetings. Copies of the documentation can be found on the NCEA’s public policy website

Finance Survey

All schools will soon be sent an e-mail invitation to participate in the annual financial survey that is conducted for NCEA by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). This is the only source of financial data pertaining to Catholic schools and it provides national, regional, and school-type data that allows you to compare your school with all schools nationally and with other similar schools.  Please take the time to complete the survey so that we have high quality information and resources that are helpful in strategic planning for operational vitality.

NCEA Announces Inaugural Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Awards

The following article is a reprint of a press release distributed by the National Catholic Educational Association. 

Extraordinary young people in Catholic schools are recognized for selfless service, determination, innovation and ideals.

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) has established an awards program to recognize Catholic school students in elementary and secondary schools who through their selfless service, determination, innovation and ideals are changing the world. The honorees embody the standards of personal conduct and public service through their faith, leadership and service to others.

“When talking about the benchmark by which all of us measure ourselves,” said NCEA President/CEO Thomas Burnford, D. Min., “these students set the bar very high. They are the next generation of students who will make a difference in the world. The very title of the award, Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision, tells us a lot about these young people. Each one is a witness to the risen Christ and the importance of Catholic schools.”

The 10 awardees will be presented with the prestigious NCEA Medal of Honor and Certificate at ceremonies held at their individual schools the week leading up to and during Catholic Schools Week, January 29 – February 4. A complete list of awardees is available on the NCEA website.

The Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Awards program is made possible, in part, through the generosity and support of Cross Catholic Outreach, a Catholic ministry whose mission is to mobilize the global Catholic Church to transform the poor and their communities materially and spiritually for the glory of Jesus Christ. Cross Catholic offers dynamic programs and free resources to Catholic educators to engage students in faith-in-action service projects and works of mercy. More information about Cross Catholic Outreach and its Parish, School & Community Development initiatives is available online.


Rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is a professional membership organization that assists its members to fulfill their teaching mission of the Church and to lead, learn and proclaim the good news of Catholic school education. For more information, visit

Monthly Message from NCEA President/CEO – January 2017

A New Year’s Message from Dr. Thomas Burnford, President/CEO

It’s been a year since I began my service leading NCEA. Looking back, one of the first messages I shared with you, our members and colleagues in Catholic education, was one encouraging all of us to think about the big picture of Catholic school education in the United States. In particular, I explored questions relating to building enrollment, parental choice and succession planning. 2016 was a productive year for these conversations and working toward the opportunities. Below, I look back on the questions I posed and provide some updates on how NCEA and its members have responded, and where we go next.


  1. How can we build enrollments in Catholic Schools across the country by telling the story of excellent academics, safe schools, and faith formation throughout the entire life of the school? How can we tell this story in a way that connects our schools, as Catholic schools, to every person in the United States?

I invite you to read the Fall 2016 Momentum article, Catholic Schools: Growing Together in which I set forth NCEA’s vision and offer steps for growing enrollment. In addition, it’s been a pleasure to hear your success stories on social media and in Momentum. National Catholic Schools Week is just two weeks away (January 29 – February 4). As you finalize your celebration and marketing plans, be sure to tag NCEA on social media using #CSW17 or email your Good News to   (By the way, the 2017 National Catholic Schools Week Marketing Handbook and Liturgy Guide recently was recognized with a Platinum Award from the MarCom Awards! Make sure you add it to your library!)

In 2017, we plan to keep the conversation going by sharing best practices, data, resources and marketing tips to help all Catholic schools in their enrollment growth.  We are also excitedly awaiting data from our national market research project which will help inform future marketing opportunities.

  1. What will 2016 bring in terms of the growth of school choice for families, especially real choice in which tax funds follow families to the school of their choice? How do we address funding issues?

NCEA has provided webinars and professional sessions on ESSA, and has worked closely with USCCB and other organizations to further parental choice legislation, especially in light of the new administration. We have also responded to member requests for parent resources and have launched a series of flyers for schools to share with parents in their communities.  Please continue to visit our public policy section of the website for more information as it emerges.

  1. At the heart of Catholic schools are great teachers, principals and superintendents.  What are the best practices (and how can we share them nationally) for initial and ongoing formation in Catholic identity for our dedicated teachers and leaders? How do we retain our leaders and at the same time do effective succession planning?

In 2016, Catholic school educators joined together at the NCEA 2016 Convention & Expo in San Diego, the New Directions STREAM Symposium in Philadelphia, various EdCamps and webinars to grow in their professional development. Catholic school leaders gathered in Omaha to take part in specialized leadership development training. And a ten-year-record-number of diocesan leaders attended the 2016 Catholic Leadership Summit in Indianapolis.

Looking ahead, please join us at more great professional development opportunities throughout the calendar year. Don’t forget, the early-bird registration for NCEA 2017 Convention & Expo in St. Louis closes on January 23! This convention is already shaping up to be one of the largest Convention gatherings in years –You do NOT want to miss this Convention!

In addition, a new version of the Information For Growth: Adult Faith Formation Survey (NCEA IFG) will be available in the coming weeks. This survey is designed to assist individuals in assessing their personal level of religious knowledge and spirituality.


Everyone works together and grows together in a Catholic school – united by a common mission to form young people in faith and knowledge for success in this life and the next. We, as professional educators, grow together with our students, and, in turn, our Catholic schools grow.  I look forward to another year of excellence!

On behalf of the NCEA Board of Directors, staff and myself, thank you for your membership and support of NCEA, and for changing the lives of students. If you have ideas, or just want to chat, please call me at 571-257-0010 or e-mail me at

Sincerely in Christ,



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!