NCEA Builds Community

By Barb Miller

From April 3-5, the 2018 National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Convention & Expo was held in Cincinnati, Ohio. UD Center for Catholic Education staff attended the NCEA Convention and engaged in professional development sessions, liturgy, special events and meetings. It was an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and network with other Catholic educators. Our UD booth reflected this diversity with displayed materials about masters and doctoral degrees in Education and Religious Studies, e-courses from the Virtual learning Community for Faith Formation, and information about Lalanne, ECHO, St. Remy Initiative, and the Early Learning Center.

We at the CCE wanted to share our takeaways and highlights from the NCEA Convention:

Having had the opportunity to attend many NCEA Conventions, I am always impressed by the sense of being part of holy work and universal work when surrounded by so many dedicated Catholic educators. Conversations and plans for innovation provide inspiration! ~Susan Ferguson, CCE Director

I attended a session with Joe Paprocki whose books we make available to our Lalanne communities! It was an excellent session on how to teach the language of mystery as part of Sacramental preparation. ~Jacinta Mergler, Lalanne Director

At the workshop ‘Living Your Mission’ with John Meehan and Carl Patton of Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia, they shared their experience of the cultural shift in their high school when the entire school community began to focus on their “Why”. They are currently in their third year of this refocusing and they are experiencing enrollment growth as well as teachers’ personal and professional growth at a time when other high schools in their area are experiencing a downward trend. Their enthusiasm and clarity in purpose was contagious! ~Peggy Brun, Lalanne Coordinator

NCEA is an awesome way to learn, reconnect, and meet new people that share your passion. I really enjoy networking with so many people who have an interest in helping children learn and grow. I was encouraged by one of the sessions I attended which referenced my philosophy with children: “Don’t ask a child ‘what is wrong with you?’ ask them ‘what happened to you?’” ~ Rhonda Mercs, ECHO Director

My biggest takeaway was a sense of community. So many professionals from all areas and walks of life coming together in order to learn ways to serve children and families in a more effective and compassionate manner. It was a great day! ~ Jennifer Baker, ECHO Counselor

The NCEA 2018 Conference in Cincinnati was excellent!  Those attending the conference were enthusiastic and eager to learn about the programs the University of Dayton had to offer. ~Janice Keivel, UD Dept. of Educational Administration

This sense of community was most evident on April 4 at the reception hosted by the Marianist Province of the U.S. and the UD School of Education and Health Sciences. It provided a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues and talk about the new and exciting work in our in our schools, universities, and organizations. We were so grateful for the opportunity the NCEA Convention provided for us as Catholic educators to gather and build community.

Edited by Lindsey Bronder.

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