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Looking Back at the Blessings of 2013

To Teach as Jesus Did:

Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

January 10, 2014





“Looking Back at the Blessings of 2013”

As the first full week of school in 2014 ends, it seems opportune to pause and recall some of the many steps forward that we took, as well as blessings that we enjoyed, as Catholic school educators in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee during 2013.  


January:   In partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), we launched Catholic Schools Milwaukee:  Light for the Future, an 18-month initiative aimed at improving the effectiveness of our 27 Milwaukee urban elementary schools.


February:  Elementary and secondary principals came together at the Cousins Center for the first Lenten Leadership Retreat, facilitated by Bishop Donald Hying.   Over 900 Catholic school K-12 math teachers also convened at three sites, later in the month, for professional development, networking, and sharing of instructional best practices.


March:  ACE Visioning Sessions were held at four sites in Milwaukee to gain input from teachers, principals, pastors, parents, and parishioners about the future of Catholic education in Milwaukee.   In addition, Catholic school communities across the Archdiocese gathered to watch and celebrate the election of Pope Francis.  Everyone gratefully spotted the white smoke and proclaimed, “We have a Pope!”


April:  The third annual meeting of high school principals, theology chairs, and campus ministers was held at the Cousins Center with a focus on the effective assessment of theology and faith formation programs in our 14 Catholic high schools.  Drs. Mary Diez (Alverno), Deb Dosemagen (Mount Mary), and Dan Scholz (Cardinal Stritch) led this session.


May:  Catholic Financial Life recognized five Archdiocesan teachers as “Catholic Educators of the Year,” based on the recipients’ achievements and commitment to living the mission of Catholic education.  The educators and their schools received generous cash awards from CFL.


June:  Over 60 Catholic school personnel, representing more than 1,500 years of Catholic educational ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, announced their plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2012 – 2013 school year.  All were invited to participate in a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Archbishop Listecki in the Mater Christi Chapel at the Cousins Center. 


July:  The first Summer Mathematics Academy was held at Mount Mary University, with approximately 80 Catholic school K-12 math teachers participating.


August:  More than 350 elementary and secondary Catholic school educators participated in the fourth annual Learning Support Team workshop at Cardinal Stritch University, bringing workshop attendance to capacity.  Catholic school presidents and principals also gathered in early August for Mass with Archbishop Listecki and their annual leadership development day at the Cousins Center.  The theme for this year’s Leadership Day, based on the Archbishop’s pastoral letter, was “Who Do You Say That I Am?”


September:  The third year of “Sustaining the Mission,” the religious education certification program for Catholic school educators in the Archdiocese made possible through collaboration with the Saint Clare Center at Cardinal Stritch University, was fully launched.


October:  John Soper, new Associate Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, was hired, bringing almost 20 years of urban experience and bilingual expertise to our Office for Schools.  Jennifer Maney, Director of the Greater Milwaukee Catholic Education Consortium, and Tom Kiely, Director of the Marquette Institute for Catholic Leadership, also expanded the capacity of our office team.


November:  Over 7000 supporters of Catholic education participated in the inaugural Soles for Catholic Education walk at Mount Mary University.


December:  Elementary and secondary school enrollment data for 2013 – 2014 revealed a combined enrollment increase in the 110 schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for the second time in three years.


Grateful for these and for all our blessings, we wish a happy and grace-filled new year to all!

Kathleen A. Cepelka, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

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