A Crucible for Faith, Learning, and Hope

dean presenting to summitCharism, culture, and curriculum conjure multiple notions of the place for Catholic Identity in Catholic schools. Catholic Education Summit presenters posed thought provoking questions for participants to consider prior to the July 14 gathering in order to bring forth these notions during small group exchanges and panel discussions near the conclusion of the Summit.

The National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools have been a foundation for the Catholic Education Summits from the beginning of the series in 2012. The 2014 Summit focused on two domains of the National Standards and Benchmarks: Mission and Identity and Academic Excellence. Catholic Identity pervades all aspects of a Catholic school, but elements of the school for these two domains in particular must intentionally embrace and foster Catholicity. The Summit symbolized a crucible where faith, learning, and hope ignited to find new, borrowed, and provocative solutions to challenges of our time. 

Presenters Address Charism, Culture and Curriculum

Ozar talking to studentsDr. Lorraine Ozar helped us to see that curriculum in Catholic schools could be both rigorous and filled with faith and Church teaching throughout the curriculum. Thoughtful study and lived faith create curriculum inspired by the Spirit. Multiple presenters including Sister Angela Ann Zukowski, Drs. John and Suzanne Wilcox, Dr. George Lisjak, and Mr. Rod Murphy prompted participants to consider charism, usually defined as the gift a particular vowed religious community and/or its founder provide the Church. These presenters provided multiple perspectives on infusing the culture of a school with the charism of a founding order of vowed religious or creating a charism through studying and emulating the lives of the saints, a less traditional view of charism. 

Culture, the most challenging concept of the Summit, was articulated by multiple presenters including Dr. Toni Moore and Rob Fortener who explored the basic elements of culture and ways of creating an inspiring culture in schools. Rhonda Mercs and Mayra Alza presented on the Latino outreach initiative and the importance of working with this population for the future of our schools and our Church. As each presenter conveyed a specific aspect of culture, it was clear that targeting culture for school self-study, as the pervasive atmosphere of an institution, as a call for sensitivity to needs and gifts of particular groups’ ethnic, racial, and spiritual practice demands great time and care in defining culture and concepts central to culture. 

Center staff and the planning team have agreed that the Summit shall be a crucible for faith, learning and hope. This Summit proved to align with and keep the promise of stimulating discussion, ample scholarship and rich experiences shared for purposes of better understanding direction, life, and joy in Catholic education.

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For further reading about the 2014 Catholic Education Summit, please visit the links below:

To see additional photos from the event, visit the Catholic Education Summit 2014 photo gallery >>