From August 9–12, the ITCE hosted state Catholic conference education policy directors for an annual meeting sponsored by Catholic Education Partners (CEP). In addition to these educational leaders, other partners in Catholic education were in attendance including directors of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat for Catholic Education and the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). Catholic Education Partners was founded in 2017 to partner with state Catholic conferences, Bishops and other clergy, Catholic school leaders and families, and other stakeholders to advance state policies that allow more families to access Catholic education. “I’m delighted that we were able to host this gathering of Catholic Education Partners at The Catholic University of America,” explained ITCE Director Sister Mary Agnes Greiffendorf, O.P. “As the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States, founded by the U.S. Bishops, it was fitting that we should host these leaders who support their local ordinaries in advocating for parental rights in access to the gift of Catholic education.”
These days together at The Catholic University of America allowed for invited colleagues to hold key discussions and strategy sessions regarding education choice programs across the United States. Through a variety of presentations, President Shawn Peterson provided the opportunity for the policy leaders to learn of important initiatives and support for Catholic education. He states, “It was incredibly fitting that we held this important gathering of Catholic education leaders at the bishops’ university, and in many ways the home of Catholic education, The Catholic University of America. I am so grateful that we were able to work so closely with the new Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education and its incredible staff, and to be able to introduce the important work they will be doing to so many state leaders. The Catholic University of America and the ITCE will be important partners in renewing Catholic education in the years ahead and CEP is proud to be associated with both. It is with this important partnership in mind that I look forward to returning to The Catholic University of America for future gatherings of the state conference education directors meeting.”
During the gathering, Dr. Daryl Hagan and Dr. Andrew Kremer gave a presentation to the group on the new Program of K-12 Catholic School Accreditation that the ITCE is developing. Dr. Hagan, Director of the Program states, “I appreciated the opportunity to meet, talk and pray with the state directors regarding accreditation and Catholic schools.” This occasion allowed the ITCE team to receive feedback from colleagues and answer their questions about the future of the Program of Accreditation. Associate Director Dr. Kremer shares, “The directors of the state Catholic conferences were quite interested in the Catholic school accreditation program being developed by ITCE. They asked meaningful questions and gave excellent feedback to our team with a unique focus on state-level policy.”
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to Catholic educators gathered at The Catholic University of America, noting, “…Everything possible must be done, in cooperation with the wider community, to ensure that [Catholic education is] accessible to people of all social and economic strata. No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.”
The ITCE was honored to have hosted this group of committed leaders in Catholic education and looks forward to future collaboration with CEP and these education policy directors.