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Webinar: Edcamps: A Free and Teacher-Driven Professional Development Movement


Join NCEA on Wednesday, January 11 for the Edcamps: A Free and Teacher-Driven Professional Development Movement webinar.

Webinar Description:

Have you ever participated in a professional development event that you felt wasted your time, didn’t address your needs or was a waste of money? If so, it is time for you to consider Edcamp as a PD alternative. These events are free, easy to reproduce and will energize your colleagues and staff. No matter what your role in education, you can benefit from learning more about the Edcamp model.

Webinar Details:

Date: Wednesday January 11, 2017
Time: 4:00pm EST

Click this link for registration and more information.

This webinar is offered free of charge as an NCEA member benefit. All registrants will receive the recorded webinar and presentation files.

7 Tips to Integrate English Language Learners into Mainstream Classrooms

The following guest post was provided by NCEA’s Corporate Partner, UTP High Schools.


We have all been there. You’re teaching your lesson, moving right along, and then you look over to see your English Language Learner (ELL) staring at you with pleading, questioning eyes. You know the student doesn’t understand, but you can’t slow down or lower your lexical level for fear of the other students losing interest in the class. This conundrum has been at the root of many pedagogical discussions over the years. However, there is no perfect solution.

We at UTP High Schools are aware of this challenge. We know that most teachers of mainstream classrooms have had minimal training when it comes to the inclusion of ELLs. Having inclusive classrooms can be stressful and challenging, but there are a few simple techniques that can enhance the comprehension of ELLs without detracting from the classroom experience of other students.

Here are seven tips to help you connect your ELL students to the target content. These ideas are easy to incorporate and will be a welcomed relief to your ELLs.

1. Let them use their eyes

When students are unable to understand the language spoken in the classroom, they use visual clues to determine what is expected of them. They watch the teacher and other students and guess what they should be doing. This is natural and the sign of a good student. To help them with this, try modeling the activity or using pictures whenever possible to explain vocabulary, themes, or content information instead of verbally explaining instructions.

2. Give them a head start

ELLs often need more time to decipher text than students who speak the dominant tongue. If there is any reading to be done, try giving it to the ELL before it is going to be used in class. For example, if you are going to be reading about George Washington in class on Friday, give the text to the ELL on Monday so that he or she can read through it at their own comfortable pace.

3. Allow ELLs to work with peers

ELLs learn a great deal of language from other students. Use small groups or pairs in class to allow the ELL to produce the language in a less threatening environment. Language production is key to acquisition and ELLs are often afraid to speak out in front of the whole class. Allowing them to work in pairs or groups can ease their fears and help them apply what they have learned.

4. Correct improper language use

We don’t want to embarrass the student in front of the class. Therefore, the use of delayed error correction techniques is recommended. It may mean a bit of extra work for the teacher, but the benefits will be noticeable. To implement this, try listening closely to the ELL in pair work, group work, or class discussion and make notes of linguistic errors. Then, make a brief worksheet with the errors listed and ask the student to correct them and hand it in for the next class.

5. Use concept checking questions

ELLs are like all other students in the school except that they have a different first language. If a student has difficulty understanding instructions in English, it does not mean the student is incapable of understanding instructions at all. You can try presenting the directions in a different way, such as modeling. When determining whether the ELL understands what is expected, be sure to use concept checking questions rather than the classic, “Do you understand?” An ELL will almost always respond yes even if he or she does not understand at all.

6. Take advantage of your resources

Not all schools have an ESL teacher as part of their faculty, but if you have one in your school, communication with that teacher will benefit you and your students. ESL teachers will be able to tell you the specific strengths and weaknesses of a student and give you ideas on how to approach any particular needs of a student.

7. Remember to breathe

Over the years, I have worked with many frustrated teachers and their feelings are completely understandable. For many teachers, ELLs appear in their class one day without warning. Teachers are not always prepared for this occurrence and can find the experience quite stressful. However, if you are stressed, your ELLs will be stressed. Just remember, keep it fun and you and your students can learn together.

About UTP High Schools
utpUTP High Schools is a diverse, full-service international education program for high schools. Our mission is to facilitate life-changing international experiences through exceptional programs that connect people to each other, their potential, and the world. As a part of the program, UTP offers an extensive curriculum for ELLs. UTP High Schools is a member of two respected associations, ALTO and CSIET.

About Peter Graves
pete-headshot-pngPeter is the Director of Academic Development at UTP High Schools. He has been in international education for over 10 years, teaching in India and Thailand before receiving his MATESOL from NYU in 2009. Beyond UTP High Schools, Peter’s academic research has been published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing and he currently sits as the Curriculum Specialist on the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training.

NCEA president visits three local schools, praises commitment, spirit

This article is a re-posting of NCEA president visits three local schools, praises commitment, spirit published by Cross Roads the bi-weekly publication of the Diocese of Lexington, KY.

In every classroom he visited, Dr. Tom Burnford, NCEA president and CEO, engaged the students in lively discussion. CR photo: Skip Olson

In every classroom he visited, Dr. Tom Burnford, NCEA president and CEO, engaged the students in lively discussion. CR photo: Skip Olson

National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) president and chief executive officer Thomas W. Burnford visited three parish schools in the diocese August 31, along with interim superintendent of schools George Pressey and assistant superintendent Jeremy Hughes.

They visited St. Leo School, Versailles, St. Mary School, Paris, and Seton Catholic School, Lexington. “It was tremendous to visit each school and witness the commitment of principals and teachers and see the joyful spirit of learning among the students,” Burnford said.

Burnford had served as interim president of the NCEA since December, 2015. He was formally appointed as head August 8, 2016. The purpose of his trip to the diocese, he said, was “seeing schools first-hand.”

His mission, and that of the NCEA, is 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.

He said that it was “great” to see Versailles pastor Father Daniel Schwendeman “welcoming and greeting each student and parent into the school first thing in the morning.”

He also praised St. Mary School as “so deeply integrated into the life of the community and so clearly proclaiming the love of Jesus.”

Left to right, Diocese of Lexington interim superintendent of schools George Pressey, assistant superintendent Jeremy Hughes, NCEA president and CEO Dr. Tom Burnford, and Seton principal Gene Cahill in front of Seton Catholic School in Lexington during Burnford’s tour of diocesan schools. CR photo: Skip Olson

Left to right, Diocese of Lexington interim superintendent of schools George Pressey, assistant superintendent Jeremy Hughes, NCEA president and CEO Dr. Tom Burnford, and Seton principal Gene Cahill in front of Seton Catholic School in Lexington during Burnford’s tour of diocesan schools. CR photo: Skip Olson

Prior to his post with the NCEA, Burnford served for two decades with the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, as secretary for education, managing the superintendent of Catholic schools, the director of catechesis, and a staff of 22. He oversaw a system of 94 Catholic schools and 139 parish religious education programs, serving over 50,000 students and 30,000 adults.

A native of Sussex, England, and the youngest of seven children, raised in a Catholic family, Burnford migrated to the U.S. for a “gap year” following high school graduation. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and classical languages from Catholic University of American, in Washington, DC, a master of divinity from the

Dominican House of Studies, also in the district, and a doctorate of ministry, again from Catholic University of America.


Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Early Childhood Conference Sets the Stage for Success

The following post was contributed by Pam Bernards, Director of Professional Development at NCEA.

What an awesome day I had with 260+ Early Childhood Educators at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s (AoP) Third Annual Early Childhood Conference held at Holy Family University (HFU)! The experience left me totally energized and excited about the beginning of my 36th year in Catholic education. I am privileged to meet and work with so many exceptional Catholic school educators from across the country and can’t help but get excited when I experience first-hand the “Good News” of Catholic school education.

With Sr. Edward William Quinn, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, as the chief architect of the day, attendees were welcomed by AoP Superintendent for Elementary Schools, Debra Brillante and HFU Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Kevin Zook. The opening keynote speaker, Dr. Joseph White, shared current research on best practice in Early Childhood Education.

Dr. White

He challenged attendees to consider what Dr. Pam Schiller describes as “Windows of Opportunity” when planning instruction for early learners. Schiller notes that our cognitive, affective, and psychomotor abilities are the foundation for all learning and defines the “Windows of Opportunity” as the times when the brain is most receptive to wiring each of these three domains. Click here to read more.

Dr. White concluded by providing intentional, carefully thought out instructional practices which align with the “Windows of Opportunity” research and that teachers can implement when returning to their classroom.

During the remainder of the day, attendees had the opportunity to choose from nine presentations during each of two breakout sessions. Topics included Creative Practices for the Early Childhood Classroom, Blended Learning as Effective Practice in Early Childhood Classes, Technology for Tots, and The Kindness Curriculum to name a few. The presenters modeled instructional practices teachers are encouraged use such as technology integration and hands-on, collaborative learning experiences.

Additionally, eight vendors provided interested teachers with welcomed information about Early Childhood resources and shared how they could be used to serve the educational needs of the early learner.

It was a wonderful day! As I reflected on my experience, there were several things (in addition to the wonderful program) that stood out in my mind. A culture of shared leadership was evident. It began with the AoP staff who were models of servant leadership as they worked together cohesively to ensure a successful event in service to the teachers. It was also manifested through the work of the Early Childhood Committee, chaired by Kathy Zerumsky, who had an active role in providing input in to the program, planning the prayer service, assisting with set-up, and presenting several of the sessions. Finally, the partnership with Holy Family University and relationships with the vendors were also key elements for a successful day!



Didn’t have the chance to check in with NCEA Talk each day? We’ve got you covered. Each Friday NCEA Talk will post a roundup of Catholic education news and resources from the week.

In case you missed it…

No Time Limit For Proclaiming The Good News About Catholic Education

STREAM in Action: 3D Printing

School Renovations Facilitate STREAM Program Implementation


Earth Day at Holy Family Catholic School

Other news and resources:

Make sure to follow all of NCEA’s conversations!

  • STREAM2.0 using #CathEdSTREAM
  • NCEA Exceptional Learners using #CathEdExcLearners
  • Teacher Appreciation Week using #CathEdTeacher


This post was contributed by Dale McDonald, PBVM, PhD, NCEA Director of Public Policy.

The Universal Service Administrative Company announced that it has extended the application window for the E-Rate program. Because of technical problems encountered by applicants in the filing process, USAC has made some changes and extended the closing date to May 26, 2016.

If schools and dioceses have not begun the process, there is still time to file a Form 470 by April 26 and comply with the 28 day waiting period before filing the Form 471 by May 26.

More information is available on the USAC website


Since almost 4 billion dollars will be available for discounted services, this is an opportunity to acquire or enhance broadband connectivity for classrooms. Every school should apply!

The E-rate site contains a new “File Along with Me” blog that uses a friendly, step-by-step approach to help schools apply for E-rate Program funding.  Check it out here.

For the application process, USAC is utilizing a new E-rate information technology system and this is initial launch of a new may have some problems that will need to be addressed as they arise.

Meanwhile, it is important that applicants take all the important steps possible to prepare for the filing of the FCC Form 471, including posting an FCC Form 470 (as the FCC Form 470 has been available since July) and completing your competitive bidding process. Applicants are also encouraged to log on to EPC, make sure your profile information is accurate, and post your FCC Form 470 which must be available for 28 days before filing Form 471.

The best way to support your successful filing of your E-rate application is to start now with your account and user information. You can set up your account in the EPC Portal, assign user rights and establish or update your profile.

CAPE Board, State CAPE Representatives, Monthly Meeting Group

This post was contributed by Joe McTighe, Executive Director of the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

To close the loop on the outstanding educators event at the White House, we received word last night (see below) that the nominee from the Rhode Island CAPE, Joseph T. Brennan, has been selected to attend an event with President Obama on May 3 honoring great educators.  Mr. Brennan is principal at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, RI.  Here’s the bio submitted on his behalf:


Mr. Brennan knows all 900 students by name and something about each of them.  They know he is their advocate and best support.  He is also firm, fair and just.  The students respect him.  The faculty respect him.  The parents have complete respect for him.  He embodies the mission of the school in thought, word and deed.   He understands teaching and learning and like any good principal he is the principal or first teacher in the school.  He is a man of virtue and integrity.  He is always present and present for anyone who needs him.  He consistently excercises excellent judgment.  His reputation as an educator extends well beyond the school community.  He leads by serving others and models high expectations, sincerity and humility.  He’s a great principal and a great man.

Our congratulations to Mr. Brennan and our thanks to everyone who nominated outstanding educators for the event.  CAPE submitted a total of 33 names to the WH for consideration.

We Must Never Forget

This post was contributed by Christopher Cosentino, Associate Superintendent of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Bearing Witnes

Associate Superintendent Christopher Cosentino with WWII Veteran and Buchenwald Camp Liberator Sol Goldstein keynote speaker at “Lessons of the Shoah” at John Carroll High School.

I can vaguely remember what I was doing when I was 18 years old.  I am grateful that “back in the day” we didn’t have the type of social media my children are growing up using in their daily lives.  Not that I was doing anything immoral or illegal, I was just acting like a typical 18 year old boy who thought he was smarter than he actually was at the time.

One person I had the distinct pleasure of meeting can vividly remember exactly what he was doing when he was 18 years old.  It is a story so powerful, that I believe not only my children, but all young people need to hear it.  I say that because this gentleman, and many others like him, helped to end an unthinkable and inhuman event in the course of history.

At the age of 93 years old, Mr. Sol Goldstein can tell you exactly what he was doing on Tuesday, June 6, 1944.  Mr. Goldstein had just turned 18 years old and was in the midst of making history.  He was one of the many brave souls who was a part of the Allied Forces that stormed the beaches of Normandy, France to bring about the liberation of occupied Europe and to eventually bring to light a horrific crime against humanity that many didn’t even know was occurring.  He tells the story as if it had just happened.  At the ripe age of 18 he was now in charge of his platoon because forty percent of the men had been killed in the time them to exit their boats and reach the beachhead.

Despite the horror he must have been witnessing, Mr. Goldstein and his platoon stuck to their duty and pressed on.  After taking the beach, he and the men under his command marched deeper into Europe and continued their mission working to bring an end to the war.  At one point the soldiers detected a terrible smell than none of them could explain.  As they followed the stench they came across some type of camp.  (They would later learn it was the concentration camp known as Buchenwald Camp). Entering the fenced area, as the soldier in charge, Mr. Goldstein broke away from the platoon and ventured ahead.  He encountered men and women who in his words didn’t look human.  They looked like skeletons with skin hanging off their bodies.

Having the ability to speak Yiddish, Mr. Goldstein was able to communicate with one of the people who approached the strangers who just entered the camp.  The man, speaking in German, asked Mr. Goldstein who was he and was he American.  Mr. Goldstein responded and said “I am not only an American, I am a Jew.”  The man’s response, which still brought tears to Mr. Goldstein’s eyes as he shared this, said “what took you so long?”

This story is just one of many like it that we have heard told since the successful end of World War II.  To this day it is difficult to fathom that over six million Jewish people were summarily executed because of their faith.

If Mr. Goldstein had returned to the states after his tour and done nothing else he would still rightfully so be considered a hero.  That experience; however, inspired Mr. Goldstein to travel the world to assist persecuted people in need of help and rescue. As I shared earlier, Mr. Goldstein is a vibrant 93 years young.  He will sadly though not live forever so at some point his story must be told by others.  This is vital for us all.  What occurred some seventy two years ago unfortunately still occurs in some parts of the world today.  A fact not lost on Mr. Goldstein. It is our duty to listen to stories from Mr. Goldstein and others and take up the mantel and share their acts of heroism and social justice with everyone.

Programs like “Lessons of the Shoah”, hosted by The John Carroll School in Bel Air, MD where I heard Mr. Goldstein are truly a shining example of making sure these stories are never forgotten.  And just as important, is that people like Mr. Goldstein and those he helped liberate are also remembered.

NCEA has partnered with the ADL to bring the Bearing Witness program to Catholic Educators across the country.  This program provides an all-expense paid, intensive professional development experience to help teachers have a greater understanding of the historic anti-Semitism contributing to the Holocaust as well as an examination of the events from a Catholic perspective.  To learn more about the Bearing Witness program or to apply to attend, you can find more information at  NCEA is also offering a free webinar about the Echoes and Reflections Holocaust education curriculum.  You can register for the webinar at  For more information about the program, contact NCEA Manager of Educational Resources Andrea Kopp at

NCEA 2016 Convention & Expo Presenter Snaps – Dr. Timothy Dickel

This post was contributed by Dr. Timothy Dickel, President of Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Indiana.

Tim Dickel

Please join us on Wednesday, March 30 (1:30-2:25PM)) as Dr. Timothy Dickel will present “Ensuring Long-Term Sustainability through the Establishment and Growth of a Planned Giving Society”.

Ensuring Long-Term Sustainability through the Establishment and Growth of a Planned Giving Society

Are you concerned about the future sustainability of your Catholic school? Over the next fifty years, between $40-50 trillion dollars will be transferred from one generation to the next. A significant amount of money will be transferred through charitable bequests, but only a small percentage of Catholic schools have an established planned giving program. There is a tremendous opportunity for Catholic schools to benefit from planned giving and endowments.

Does your school have a plan for planned giving? If not, this session will help you learn the basics of planned giving and how to create a planned giving society at a Catholic school. A planned giving and endowment program can provide your school a new source of income. Schools with healthy endowments will have a greater chance of long term sustainability than those with small or nonexistent endowments. If your school already has a planned giving program, this session will provide you with relevant statistics and best practices for planned giving.

I serve as the President of Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Indiana, and we established a planned giving program in 2010 that now consists of over 80 members. In addition, the school’s endowment balances have increased from $600,000 to $2,000,000. We utilized an approach that took a relatively small but consistent investment of time while still focusing on our annual fund, special events, and a capital campaign.

After the presentation, attendees will feel comfortable getting started with the establishment of a planned giving program. You will learn how to assemble a volunteer planned giving team, identify planned giving prospects, speak knowledgeably about planned giving vehicles, access resources, and other important information.

Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy Students Collected Nearly 500 lbs of Items for Food Bank

This post was contributed by Shelly Mato, English, History, & Curriculum Coordinator at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy.

St. Joseph

The Pennsylvania State budget stalemate has left food banks across the state short on funds.

Food banks throughout Pennsylvania are suffering,” said Carol Pioli, Executive Director of State College Food Bank. “Some of us haven’t received the funding we rely on to help those in need in our communities.

Students at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Boalsburg saw an opportunity to help. Led by the school’s Service Club, students, parents, faculty, and staff worked together to collect enough items to help restock the shelves of the food bank following its busy holiday season. The donation drive brought in more than 500 items, weighing 493 pounds, to help local individuals and families in need. Items collected included oatmeal, coffee, rice, canned meats, condiments, sugar, soap, shampoo, and more.

“The donation from Saint Joe’s came at a critical time,” said Pioli. “Donations are important year round, but especially after the holiday season. People are very generous in December,” she continued, “but that can make January tough. As the holiday spirit dwindles, so do donations.”

We knew that supplies at the food bank would be low after the holidays,” said SJCA student Jordan Wiser. “We rallied around Service—one of our four pillars—and thanks to tremendous generosity, we collected a lot of items on the “greatest need list” we received from the food bank. It was a perfect opportunity to come together as a school to serve our community.

Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy, founded in 2011, provides a Christ-centered environment in which students grow and develop and live out the four pillars of faith, scholarship, leadership, and service to our God, their fellow students, their families, and the community.