Reflections by Randy Hodge
|Posted on April 20, 2018 at 10:20 AM|
Each year during the week following Easter the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) holds its annual convention. The 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. The convention is the perfect setting for learning, networking and sharing best practices as well as a time to celebrate and renew one’s spirit.
This year’s NCEA convention was held in Cincinnati, Ohio which I had the opportunity to attend. It was a wonderful learning experience! It was a chance for me to meet colleagues from around the world including educators from France, Canada and Mexico as well as around the country and to share ideas. 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 years 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:
• The Role of Evangelization in Marketing
• Going, Going, Gone…the Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics
• Mission Driven Advancement
• Campus Ministry Best Practice
• Leading the Energized Catholic School
• Improving Student Learning Outcomes Through Gamification
• Ready! Set! Go! 7 Practical Processes/Exercises to Improve Your Development/Advancement/Marketing Efforts
• 30 Alternative Revenue Streams
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 love. And most importantly, that Catholic education is alive and well!