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Foundation Honors Boston College

04/11/13

By Ed Hayward | Chronicle Staff

Published: Apr. 11, 2013

The Catholic Schools Foundation honored University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and Boston College’s extensive partnerships with Catholic schools, at the foundation’s recent 23rd annual Inner-City Scholarship Fund gala.        

The annual event supports financial aid to as many as 5,000 students across grades K-12 in Boston’s Catholic schools. The foundation estimates it will award $6.5 million in scholarships, $1 million in program grants to schools and another $500,000 in donor-specified initiatives.

Catholic Schools Foundation Executive Director Michael R. Reardon praised Fr. Leahy for his leadership and vision, which have helped to shape BC’s initiatives on behalf of Catholic schools.

“Under Fr. Leahy’s leadership, BC has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our Catholic schools,” said Reardon. “Catholic education in Boston has been enriched by the genuine commitment of BC to develop deep and sustaining partnerships that can transform Catholic schools by bringing together essential resources and inspiring others to support this vital work.” 

Among the speakers at the celebration was BC sophomore Jonathan Pierre, who also attended St. Columbkille and BC High with scholarship aid from the foundation.

“I would like the people who support Catholic schools to know that their investment does make a difference,” said Pierre, an economics major who grew up in Brighton and Cambridge. “Believe in the mission and believe in the work of the Catholic Schools Foundation. It does work and I’m just one of the many examples.”

Boston College, through efforts led by the Lynch School of Education, collaborates with Catholic schools through a multi-tiered strategy that provides services for students, program grants, strategic planning, leadership development, and professional development and graduate school courses for educators.

Lynch School Interim Dean Maureen Kenny said the University strives to build excellent and sustainable Catholic schools that improve the lives of their students.

“Strengthening and advancing Catholic education in Boston is truly a team effort involving teachers and principals, students and families, generous supporters and the University,” said Kenny. “Under Fr. Leahy’s leadership, faculty, staff and students in the Lynch School and across the University have dedicated themselves to initiatives designed to ensure that children in Boston have the opportunity to attend outstanding Catholic schools.”

The cornerstone of BC’s work with Boston Catholic schools is the St. Columbkille Partnership School, an in-depth collaboration between BC, St. Columbkille Parish and the Archdiocese of Boston that saved the last Catholic elementary school in Brighton. On the verge of closing, the school is now a thriving K-8 success story, with a growing enrollment, enhanced curriculum, restored facilities, improved finances and management. The partnership also enables St. Columbkille teachers to earn their master’s degrees at BC at no cost.

Other examples of BC’s work in Boston’s Catholic schools include:

   • The Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education, central to the Lynch School’s national leadership in the development of excellence and sustainability for local and national Catholic education.

   • Boston Catholic Connects, one of the nation’s largest systemic efforts to improve counseling and support services in Catholic schools.

   • The Lynch Leadership Academy, the nation’s first program to bring together leaders of public, charter and Catholic schools, offering a one-year leadership and management development program for Boston’s mid-career principals.

   • The Urban Catholic Teacher Corps, which places graduate education students in Boston Catholic schools to teach for two years. 

   • Services and support to Brighton’s new, co-educational Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, formed by the merger of Mount Saint Joseph Academy and Trinity Catholic High School.

   • The St. Columbkille Summer Camp, which opens the BC campus to children residing mainly in Allston-Brighton for nine weeks of recreation and academic enrichment.

   • The Summer Technology Academy, providing Catholic School teachers with training to use digital tools in class and help students use them effectively in school.

In addition, the Lynch School provides student teachers to Boston’s Catholic schools.