University of Notre Dame partners with archdiocesan schools department
September 12th, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz
On-going faith formation just got easier for Catholic school teachers in the Archdiocese of San Francisco with three new programs offered through the University of Notre Dame and a fourth through the well-regarded Sophia Institute.
The most unusual is the opportunity to apply to attend Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, on full scholarship for master of arts degree in the Mary Ann Remick Educational Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame. The program is part of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education Program.
“This is a program that produces excellent leaders, excellent Catholic leaders,” said Pamela Lyons, associate superintendent for faith formation and curriculum. “I have to say it’s the best program to prepare Catholic principals.”
The program offers strong faith formation and an excellent academic curriculum, said Lyons, a former principal, who earned her administrative master’s in education from the Remick Program.
“Leadership is a vocation in the church,” said Melanie Morey, assistant superintendent for Catholic identity assessment and formation. “We have to dream great dreams for our future.”
In a separate opportunity, The Sophia Institute is presenting three daylong educational faith formation workshops – with free lunch and all materials – to high school and elementary school teachers. Teachers receive a certificate of completion and can earn credit for catechist recertification. The Department of Catholic Schools is encouraging each school to send at least its religion coordinator or another representative to the workshop. The first workshop will be offered March 31, with two others in August and October 2017. A gift by another anonymous Bay Area donor is making it possible for The Sophia Institute to offer the seminars at no cost. Visit sophiainstituteforteachers.org.
The Archdiocese of San Francisco is also partnering with Notre Dame’s Institute of Church Life to offer a daylong science and religion seminar for high school faculty at St. Patrick Seminary & University. This workshop will take place in early summer, Lyons said.
The fourth offering is Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life’s STEP Online Theology Program for teachers to receive their Basic Catechist certification, Lyons said. The seven-week online program requires about three hours a week and will be a boon to teachers and schools, she said. New religion teachers are required to earn the Basic Catechist certification in the first two years, but the teachers have had to go to 24 hours of in-person classes, which has been a challenge for schools which lose the teachers during the day when they could be teaching, she said. Lyons took the program herself over the summer to test it.
The Master of Arts in the Remick Leadership Program is being funded by an anonymous donor who wants to encourage Bay Area Catholic teachers to become Catholic school administrators, Morey said. It already offers all participating students a scholarship that covers 50 percent of program costs. The new scholarship means Bay Area teachers accepted into the 25-month program will attend with a full scholarship. Teachers are mentored as administrators during two academic years and attend Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, for three summer sessions–two four-week sessions and a final two-week session that culminates with graduation.
The program will develop Catholic education leaders at a time when the all California schools expect a wave of principal and teacher retirements.
“We in the Department of Catholic Schools could not be more delighted and grateful,” said Morey. “The Remick program has a strong record of preparing transformational school leaders who invigorate Catholic education by assuring the schools they lead are deeply Catholic, financially stable and academically rigorous. This is the very definition of a thriving Catholic school.”
From September 15, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.