May 25, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 18

June Forum to Assess State of Catholic Schools

A national summit to be held at Boston College next month will address growing concerns over how to stem the tide of closing Catholic schools.

"Endangered Species: Urban and Rural Catholic Schools," which takes place June 23-24, will be highlighted by an address by Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, former president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The summit is co-sponsored by Boston College and USCCB along with the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), and is part of SPICE (Selected Programs for Improving Catholic Education), a joint venture between BC and NCEA to honor successful K-12 Catholic school programs and promote them as national models for other educators.

This year's conference seeks to educate participants on the challenge of sustaining struggling urban schools and begin to chart a course to bring new stability and viability to Catholic schools that serve the poor, according to organizers. Among the topics to be discussed are: creative diocesan leadership; reopened schools; consolidation and other methods of reorganization; advocacy initiatives, such as voucher programs and tax-credits; sustained fundraising and philanthropy; and innovative staffing

"Endangered Species" will also feature an address by Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, chair of the USCCB's Committee on Education as well as panel discussions on "Research on Urban and Rural Schools" and "The Role of Private Philanthropy in Saving Catholic Schools."

Among the members of the Boston College community participating in panel discussions are Lynch School of Education Dean Joseph O'Keefe, SJ, Vice President Mary Lou Delong and Jeff Thielman '85, JD '92, executive director of the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation.

-Kathleen Sullivan

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