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Investing in Excellence for All

By Victoria Rabuse

Most adults can name an influential person from their school journey. It may have been a favorite teacher, the person at the front desk or someone who handled the building’s maintenance. Each person contributes to the excellence of a Catholic school community, which is why the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) extends regular professional development opportunities to both teaching and non-teaching staff.

“Our mission is to simply help every Catholic school be their best, and we are delighted to invest in excellence for every single person who works at a Catholic school,” said CSCOE President Gail Dorn.

This includes summer academies, webinars, expert-led sessions and resource sharing. One of the key initiatives to train Catholic school educators and staff is the CSCOE Summit of Excellence. Most recently held in October, the event brought together more than 2,100 faculty and staff from the 79 Archdiocesan grade schools for large and small group sessions with dedicated time for prayer and fellowship.

Attendees enjoyed a day of inspiration, motivation and innovation, beginning with Mass led by Archbishop Bernard Hebda. Participants then joined breakout sessions focused on topics like addressing anxiety and depression in students, working with exceptional learners, excellence in middle school, multicultural inclusion, and presentations by Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Andrew Cozzens. During and after the conference, educators connected with other teachers and staff on the CSCOE Hubs, sharing questions and best practices across the Archdiocese.

Nativity of Our Lord Principal Kate Wollan, who attended the previous summit in 2017, was equally impressed with the 2019 Summit. She was moved by the breakout session led by Catholic author, speaker and counselor Roy Petitfils, who addressed anxiety and depression in students.

“I’ve been in this role for 27 years and have seen the different challenges that students face with their mental health. With the fast pace of our world today, our kids are spread thin,” Wollan said. “Our schools are learning to create toolkits for the kids to build resiliency and compassion.”

Attendees modeled this mission by participating in the Knights of Columbus’s Coats for Kids drive, bringing coats that will be distributed throughout the Twin Cities during the winter.

Thank you to all who attended and presented at the Summit — we’re excited to continue pursuing excellence with all our schools!

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