St. Patrick Catholic School

122 West Street, Portland, MI   (517) 647-7551

Reflections by Randy Hodge

NCEA Convention Illumniates Catholic Education

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 7:10 AM

Each year during the week following Easter the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) holds its annual convention. The NCEA Convention and Expo is the largest private-education association gathering in the nation. Those participating represent all aspects of Catholic and faith-based education from preschool through the university level. It is attended by principals, pastors, religious sisters and brothers, school board members, and many others involved in Catholic education on some level. The convention is a time to celebrate, to acquire new knowledge, and to renew one’s spirit.

This year’s NCEA convention, which I had the opportunity to attend, was held in St. Louis, Missouri. It was a wonderful learning experience! It was a chance for me to meet colleagues from around the country and to share ideas with people who have schools similar to St. Patrick School. I came home impressed by the wisdom and knowledge that was imparted, and excited by the new ideas that I heard---ideas that will help Catholic schools continue to grow spiritually as well as academically for centuries to come.

It was also a chance to attend professional development sessions on a variety of topics. This year I was blessed to attend the following sessions at the convention:

• Creating an effective advancement office from the ground floor

• Best practices to connect and engage your teachers

• The benefits of millennial teachers in our Catholic schools

• Moving from passive to active learning environments

• UpSTREAM with a paddle: A guide to taking the apprehension away from implementing STREAM into your school curriculum

• Developing a resource department in Catholic schools

• 10 actions Catholic schools are taking now to be flourishing in 2025

• Staying safe with technology

Catholic education in the 21st century is evolving and becoming even better as it adapts to an ever-changing customer base. While retaining the foundation that was laid in place by our forefathers, we are providing our students with the rigorous curriculum they need for succeeding in today’s world. Our classrooms still contain bibles and crucifixes, but they also contain smartboards and computers. Our days still begin with prayer, but they also contain opportunities for online learning and college credit through dual enrollment.

The NCEA Convention reminded me of how large our network is around the world. It was invigorating to attend with educators from all over the country; it was inspiring to see the level of devotion that exists in the Catholic school network. I came away feeling that we are truly one big family looking out for each other and filled with a spirit of brotherly love. And most importantly, that Catholic education is alive and well!

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