The result of their collaboration is the Initiative for Catholic Schools, a five-year program supported by a $2 million gift from the Clement and Ann Buenger Foundation. Scheduled to begin in January, the program is designed to involve about 200 people from 20 area schools. Those selected teachers, administrators and principals each will participate in an initiative program through the University. Participants either can enroll in one of two leadership programs or can choose to complete either the math or the science program.
The 20 participating schools are being selected through a competitive process. A committee of representatives from Xavier, the Cincinnati Archdiocese and the Buenger Foundation hopes to finalize the list of participating schools by Nov. 15.
The principals and teachers selected to participate in the Initiative for Catholic Schools will bring what they learn back to their schools and classrooms, directly benefiting the 53,500 students who attend our schools in Cincinnati, says Brother Joe Kamis, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Cincinnati Archdiocese.
What exactly they are taking back to their schools varies. Participants enrolled in the executive leadership program, designed for principals and administrators, are going to work to improve their skills, experiences and networks as leaders. The program spans one year, earns each participant three credit hours, and involves one four-hour meeting per month and four daylong meetings in the summer.
Those involved in the potential academic leaders experience, which targets professionals currently working toward masters degrees in educational administration, are going to undergo preparation to become principals in Catholic elementary schools. This two-year process is being limited to 10 members per year, five of whom are being selected to continue their education to obtain school principal licensure in Ohio with all tuition paid.
Participants in the science program, designed for teachers of grades four through six, are going to meet at monthly sessions and two weeklong sessions in the summer. Participants in the mathematics program, which targets teachers of grades one through three, are going to learn on a similar schedule.
A good number of teachers in Cincinnati Catholic schools are Xavier graduates, says University President Michael J. Graham, S.J. This is a wonderful opportunity for Xavier to make an even greater impact on the quality of Cincinnatis elementary schools.
Xavier plans to hire a science educator and a mathematics educator for the last two years of the five-year program to serve as consultant, mentor and observer for the participating schools. In addition, a series of events featuring nationally known leaders in education will augment the academic opportunities for participants.
Our goal quite simply is to continue to improve the quality of education in Cincinnati, says Dave Flaspohler, director of the Xavier center for excellence in education (X-CEED) and a professor of mathematics. Flaspohler, along with Michael Brandt, superintendent-in-residence in the University's department of education and a former principal and superintendent for Cincinnati Public Schools, is coordinating the Initiative for Catholic Schools Program.
"The members of the Buenger Foundation are very much interested in making it possible for Catholic schools to continue to enrich their educational programs, says Ann Buenger, foundation director. We believe that together, Xavier University, a leader in Catholic higher education, and the Archdiocesan school office can make a powerful impact.
For more information, contact Brandt at 513 745-3482 or Flaspohler at 513 745-4359. Fact sheets about each program are available upon request.