Call for Proposals Reminder


Before you enjoy your holiday weekend, NCEA wanted to remind you that the Call for Proposals for the NCEA 2016 Convention & Expo closes on July 15. Whether you have presented before or have been inspired by a session you have attended, we invite you to submit a proposal to present at NCEA 2016.

The selection process involves a thorough review of every complete proposal submitted prior to the deadline. Please be sure to complete your submissions to include speaker contact information (for each session speaker), session description(s), target audiences, topic areas, and actionable learning objectives. Keep in mind, only the first two completed proposals submitted will be considered for a session slot at NCEA 2016.

For full details on the NCEA 2016 Call for Proposals process and access to submitting a proposal online, please follow this link.

Weekly Round Up 06/26/2015

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…

LEAD – Successful Partnerships Lead to Outstanding Boards

LEARNBlended Learning and the Future of Catholic Education

LEARN – A Virtual Classroom

Other news and resources:

St. Paul students dedicate butterfly garden – (
New school to rise on site of former Springfield school – (
Ankeny’s first Catholic school ready for students – (Des Moines Register)

A Virtual Classroom

Today, it is almost a necessity for teachers to create a blended learning environment that empowers students to become independent learners as well as work collaboratively with their peers.

Chris Covone, a teacher at Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida has been teaching 100-150 students per class with a 1:1 ratio iPad program for the past two years.


Using a learning management system called Canvas, Covone uses content to address real world issues while teaching juniors theology via a paperless project based learning regiment and individual assignments. Utilizing 50” monitors and Apple TVs throughout the classrooms, he facilitates blended learning with online threaded discussions that prompt students to respond to questions in a discussion related fashion.

“Student-led presentations and interactive virtual discussions have changed the way I teach and the way my students learn,” said Covone. “It prepares the students for collaboration in the real world and it’s the way teaching will become in the future with evolving technology.”

His project based learning curriculums are implemented through graded rubrics that allow for personalized learning for each student to learn at their own pace and needs. Online learning tools such as ibook, flashcards, interactive quizzes, peer editing through programs such as Google docs, YouTube channels, iTunesU, Screencast-O-Matic and Educrations are many of the varying learning techniques that compliment project based learning.

Chris Covone presented “Virtual Classroom” at the 2015 NCEA New Directions Blended Learning Symposium.

Blended Learning and the Future of Catholic Education


Hundreds of teachers, principals and superintendents traveled this week to the 2015 New Directions Blended Learning Symposium in Santa Clara to learn more about the viable blended learning options and its success stories to incorporate them in their own schools and classrooms.

Technology is in the student’s hands to begin with, an integral part of their life, and teachers see the need to capitalize on the cutting edge elements of blending learning to further their student’s education in and outside of the classroom.

“Catholic institutions tend to have a positive reputation when it comes to education inside the classroom, and they are now proceeding with blended learning in a moral, ethical, efficient and social standard to achieve their goals,” said an attendee of the Blended Learning Symposium.

It is important to sustain Catholic education and implement technology in the classroom for teaching students to become digital citizens. Blended learning brings these 21st century learning techniques allowing teachers to leverage technology to give students the individualized and modernized styles of learning they need to succeed.

Blended learning isn’t only a benefit for the students, but also a benefit for the teachers as well. “When it comes to the teachers in Catholic schools, it’s more of vocation than a job. It’s the teacher’s mission to teach the Catholic faith,” said Russell Brandon, Education Technology Coordinator for St. Francis Xavier School. “You can’t stop learning and growing as a teacher, you have to keep moving forward and staying current with teaching styles and content through professional development.”

All of this calls us to put into practice new methods that differ from traditional styles of teaching, opening up the classroom to change and new opportunities.

“As Catholic education embraces the possibilities of blended learning, let us explore how we can build more vibrant educational institutions that teach faith, while leading the way in strong academics.”

Successful Partnerships Lead to Outstanding Boards

Due to heightened expectations of parents and stakeholders for openness, transparency, and accountability, a healthy partnership between the administration and board members is essential. This success of this partnership depends upon a mutual appreciation and respect for one another’s roles which, in turn, lead to trust between board members and administration. Continually building trust between the administration and the board members results in a cohesive and satisfying working relationship.

Between the role of the administration and the role of the board members there should be a continual and essential interplay. Advisory boards, consultative boards, and boards of limited jurisdiction all focus primarily on developing good policies that provide direction for the administration. Through open, honest discussions at board meetings, the administration comes to understand the intended spirit of a given policy and is then able to provide effective leadership for the policy’s implementation. While it is the primary responsibility of the administrator to attend to the day-to-day management of the school, simultaneously it is extremely important for the administrator to keep board members well informed about the many daily issues that pertain to the board and its role.

Administrators must engage in closing any communication gap that may develop between themselves and their board members. Communication gaps tend to occur because the administrator is present each day at the school, experiencing and dealing with the day-to-day issues as they arise. By contrast, board members come together only for a brief time for board and committee meetings and do not have the opportunity for this same experience. It is, therefore, not unusual for information to get lost in the time lapse between board and committee meetings. The administrator should make conscious efforts to communicate with the board on a regular and frequent basis in order to keep members interested and engaged. Finding ways to keep lines of communication open and communication gaps closed is the responsibility of the administrator. How this is done, however, should be discussed with input from board members.

Another opportunity for developing trust and respect among board members is to keep board meetings interesting and invigorating. If the administrator’s report at the board meeting covers only things that have come to pass and for which information is readily available, the importance of the board can thereby be minimized. An exception might be asking the board for its opinions or recommendations about things that have already occurred but which may need to be evaluated or reconsidered can be a very effective way to increase loyalty and strengthen support for the role of the board.

Board meetings, though, should be primarily forward looking. Board meetings should be opportunities to engage board members in dialogue and debate about future needs. Always build in some time for board discussions on topics that are important and relevant. Board members feeling and knowing they are actively contributing to the mission of the program is essential to making your board an outstanding one.We have compiled this sample audit to help you get a better picture of the amount of collaboration that occurs with your board. Also, be on the lookout for our future Thumbnail on collaboration, which should be available this summer.

Successful Partnerships Lead to Outstanding Boards originally appeared on the NCEA Boards and Councils newsfeed.

NCEA in the news

Our Sunday Visitor recently shared the story “New focus for Catholic education association Group will focus exclusively on helping Catholic schools lead, learn and proclaim the Faith” by Patti MaGuire Armstrong.

Catholic Education has always been about much more than just academic excellence. It is first and foremost about forming students according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. In today’s culture, that mission has never been more relevant. Yet, the changing world presents ever-new challenges.

To help Catholic schools keep pace, the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) announced in April that it will begin exclusively serving Catholic schools. Previously, they had also provided support to seminaries and religious education programs.

Click here to read the full story.

6-16 Virtual Catholic High School Initiative in the Archdiocese of Newark Is Successful

The following post originally appeared on the NCEA elementary newsfeed. For more information about the 6-16 Virtual Catholic High School initiative contact Noreen Andrews, UCHS’s assistant principal who oversees the initiative at nandrews@unioncatholic.orgInformation will also be presented next week at the 2015 NCEA New Directions Blended Learning Symposium, for more information, please click here.

Union Catholic Regional High School (UCHS)’s 6-16 Virtual Catholic High School Initiative has been a great success. Data, gathered throughout the year from the two pilots launched in September 2014, confirms this. Additional Catholic elementary schools, including schools outside of New Jersey, have expressed interest and are being invited to join the program for Year 2.

This expansion is the result of the strong interest Catholic elementary school students have demonstrated in engaging in this type of learning and their school’s desire to offer virtual courses that have a faith-based component. The partnership that now exists between UCHS and the Catholic elementary schools with whom we are sharing resources is making our vision of a Virtual Catholic School a reality.

Through The Union Catholic Middle School Elective Program, virtual courses, including electives like Game Theory and Around the World in Eighty Days as well as full year courses in Algebra II and Biology, were taken by seventeen student, who achieved a yearly average of 87%.  In the second pilot The Union Catholic High School and St. Joseph of the Palisades Virtual Learning Partnership, eighth grade students took a Writing & Research course first semester with a class average of 90%. In semester two, students are taking Sociology with a class average of 92%.

Principal Eileen Donovan-Ferrando credits this pilot with “transforming the atmosphere” of St. Joseph with amazing results. The elementary school was recently renamed The Academy of St. Joseph. Its partnership with UCHS is being used in the school’s marketing and recruitment. In addition to learning about and analyzing human behavior from a Catholic perspective, St. Joseph students are developing skills in time management, self-directed learning, web navigation, source evaluation, and MLA documentation while utilizing and honing their communication skills. In a recent online discussion, in which every student actively engaged, the students explored the topic of social media, its benefits and dangers. After following Pope Francis and Sister Percylee, the principal of UCHS, on Twitter for a week, the students spoke of how social media can be used for good and witnessed to its contributing to their personal spiritual development.


NCEA Appoints New Directors to Develop New and Innovative Programs for Catholic School Educators

Professional Development and Leadership Teams will work to refocus NCEA mission to Lead, Learn and Proclaim for Catholic schools

NCEA has announced the appointment of two new directors. Pamela Bernards, Ed.D. will serve as the Director of Professional Development and James Pavlacka will serve as the Director of Leadership Development. With the appointment of these new positions, NCEA will continue its commitment to Catholic school education and refocus its mission to lead, learn and proclaim.

“Catholic school education is facing both exciting and challenging times. With NCEA’s new focus on Catholic school education, Pamela and James will provide leadership and direction for Catholic educators nationwide,” said NCEA President Brother Robert Bimonte.

As the Director of Professional Development, Pamela Bernards will lead NCEA’s efforts to provide a state of the art, 21st-century professional development program for Catholic school teachers. Bernards will be responsible for setting the vision and priorities of the Professional Development team at NCEA.

In acknowledgment of her appointment, Pamela Bernards says, “I am honored to serve as the new Director of Professional Development and look forward to working with and supporting teachers in their vocation as Catholic school educators. Together we can ensure learning environments that integrate the Catholic faith in a rigorous academic program that ultimately prepares students for 21st Century leadership within the Church and a global society. “

As the Director of Leadership Development, James Pavlacka will lead NCEA’s efforts to develop and coordinate a state of the art, 21st century program to train and develop school leaders, including principals, presidents and pastors, governing bodies, as well as superintendents. Pavlacka will be responsible for setting the vision and priorities of the Leadership Development program at NCEA.

“This is an exciting and yet challenging time for Catholic schools across the country. NCEA has recognized this and has charted a new course and direction to support the challenges that our Catholic schools face. I am thrilled to be part of this new transformational focus and to work collaboratively with and support our nation’s pastors, presidents, principals, superintendents, and governing bodies in sustaining the viability and proud legacies of our Catholic schools and parishes and their leadership,” said James Pavlacka.

Pamela Bernards has served Catholic schools for over 30 years at the elementary and secondary levels in the Diocese of Knoxville, TN and the Diocese of Orlando, FL as well as an adjunct professor at St. Leo University. Pamela has done extensive work with curriculum development and teacher professional development. Her expertise along with her vision for 21st-century professional development for teachers that integrates Catholic teachings and religion across the curriculum align perfectly with NCEA’s renewed commitment to service Catholic school teachers in new and innovative ways.

James Pavlacka’s service to Catholic schools spans 30 years having served in leadership roles at both the elementary and secondary levels in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. His commitment to fostering the mission and vision of the schools he has served has resulted in growth and transformation in the schools. He brings extensive experience coordinating and leading leadership development for Catholic school leaders, as well as cultivating future leaders for Catholic schools. His diverse experiences and expertise position him to successfully lead and coordinate leadership programs for current and future Catholic school leaders.

Weekly Round Up – 6/12/2015

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…

LEADLearning Never Ends: Summer Reads for Catholic Education Leaders

PROCLAIMMonthly Message from NCEA’s President

Other news and resources:

All-boys Watts high school has 100 percent college acceptance – (

SNC, Notre Dame, GRACE schools announce Catholic education partnership – (

Monthly Message from NCEA’s President – June 2015

Dear NCEA Members,

As our Catholic schools celebrate the end of another school year, I would like to thank all of you for your commitment to serve our Church through education. In the coming days, I hope you will take time to reflect on the many blessings you experienced this year – the blessings you shared with your colleagues and with your students.

The end of the academic year brings many emotions. For some, it marks a time of grieving for a school that will be closing its doors for the last time.  For others, it is a sense of achievement on successfully completing another year with students well prepared for the next step in their educational journey.  
Catholic schools are in a place of transformation. Whether you’re part of a school community that is closing, transitioning or continuing to grow, please know that NCEA is here to serve as a resource and a guide.

Last October, in response to a year-long research process and wide consultation, the NCEA Board of Directors unanimously decided to transform the future direction and structure of the association. We are now transitioning to serve you as a professional association whose focus is exclusively Catholic school education.  NCEA will lead, learn and proclaim by:
  • Developing current and future leaders;
  • Providing educational resources and strategically expanding professional development opportunities for those committed to the mission of Catholic education; and
  • Telling the good news story of Catholic schools.
As we all plan and organize during these summer months, I look forward to sharing more information about our new and exciting future.
With prayers and gratitude,
Brother Robert