With these words, in October of last year, the Institute was dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church. Just over a year later, as 2018 draws to a close, we are astounded at the many blessings she has made possible.
In 2018, the Institute directly served more than 500 educators representing over 20,000 students at more than 100 schools in 33 states through our hosted programs, on-site workshops and in-services, and, for the first time, online webinars. We have much to be thankful for.
And yet with the season of Advent upon us, we are reminded of the importance of preparing for what is to come. No longer do small independent Catholic schools represent the majority of our constituents. Longstanding parochial schools all over the country are seeking our assistance in transitioning away from the secular, industrialized model of education in order to ensure that their Catholic identity is woven through, not added on, to content, pedagogy, and school culture. They are reclaiming the Church’s tradition of education and transforming their communities into vibrant centers of faith and learning. We’re receiving a significant increase in new requests and our current staff is unable to fully meet demand.
Fortunately, there is much hope on the horizon. We have begun working toward offering our most essential programs online in order to reach as many schools as efficiently as possible. We have engaged in talks and partnerships with a handful of faithful Catholic colleges and universities that make us believe an affordable, nationally available teacher certification program, rooted in the Church’s vision of education, may become a reality. Perhaps most importantly, awareness of our work in this renewal is spreading rapidly. Our co-sponsorship of last week’s panel discussion on Catholic education at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, DC, is a prime example.
Our Blessed Mother has truly provided for us, but we also need your help. During the month of December, we will be conducting our first annual Advent Campaign in order to highlight various elements of the Institute’s work and seek assistance from people like you in order to continue making it possible. Our fundraising goal for 2018 is $250,000 and with $143,000 raised to date, we are already over halfway there. With your help, we can close the gap by December 31.
We ask you to read, listen, watch, and share. Authentic Catholic education – truly liberal education that leads to freedom in Christ – is changing the narrative for our nation’s Catholic schools. No longer are decline and consolidation the only sound bites. Growth and joy are once again taking hold. And it is the important work of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education that is allowing those fruits to multiply at the rate they are.