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Center Research

The Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education

The Jesuit High Schools and the National Study of Youth and Religion Project

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The Jesuit High Schools and National Study of Youth and Religion Project proposes to determine the influence of the culture of religious, and specifically, Ignatian, formation on the spiritual lives of students at Jesuit high schools, and also to identify best practices and other resources for secondary educators to more effectively support students' spiritual growth and development.  During this pilot year of the study, researchers at the Roche Center for Catholic Education will generate data to address these topics through a survey taken by 10th and 12th grade students at three Jesuit high schools across the United States.  Additionally, one-on-one interviews with a subset of these students will be conducted, allowing the research team to supplement the survey findings with the individual narratives of spiritual growth. 

The current goals of the survey additionally include determining if students in Jesuit schools across the country demonstrate similar spirituality outcomes as the diverse students in the major study driving this initiative, the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR).  The NSYR research team concluded that teens embrace, "a hodgepodge of banal, self-serving, feel-good beliefs that bear little resemblance to Christianity."  In partnership with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College, the Roche Center will launch a national roll-out of the survey with 52 Jesuit high schools in the fall of 2014.

Initial results of the pilot survey will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in April 2014.  Additionally, any forthcoming publications and presentations about the results will be shared on this website.  Please check back in the spring of 2014 for this information.

The Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools

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As the United States continues to grow more diverse culturally and linguistically, there is heightened awareness of the growing needs of these various communities. This is particularly true within Catholic schools which have experienced a great deal of growth linguistically and ethnically in recent years. Many of these students require support financially as well, despite limited resources within the schools themselves.

This Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools (TWIN-CS) which is unique in its approach to dual language instruction. Building upon the long-successful tradition of language instruction in Catholic schools, the TWIN-CS (or ‘the Network’) is a national initiative to share research, ideas, techniques, and resources to enable some of the most socially and economically challenged students to become bilingual and biliterate. This deliberate, intentional, and dynamic incorporation of eleven Catholic elementary schools from across the United States was forged into practice during the 2013 Summer Academy held in Massachusetts.

While two-way immersion and dual language instruction has been utilized in a number of educational settings for many years, the Network provides an innovative manner of supporting teachers and schools to enhance student achievement. Participation in the Network requires a great deal of input from the schools, while providing extensive support from university researchers and TWI experts. It is the creative structure of the Network that helps the schools achieve success.

Additionally, the Network schools have been provided a number of resources to aide them in transitioning to, or strengthening, their two-way immersion instruction. The Network schools are also provided with consultation services from university researchers and experts on site, throughout the academic year. From professional mentors for each school, to a secure social media website for participants to discuss their experiences, as well as book club webinars and norm-referenced assessments for all students, the Network schools benefit greatly from learning from each other.

The Spiritual Leadership Development of Emmaus Principals

The Emmaus Leadership Series posits that effective leadership for Catholic schools requires competencies in three strategic areas: spiritual leadership, curriculum and instructional design, and business management. Principals need to continuously develop knowledge and skills in these critical areas to effectively articulate and lead their school's mission. The program is a 20 month professional development opportunity led by the staff of the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College.

This research, entitled The Spiritual Leadership Development of Emmaus Principals, is structured to assess program outcomes related to leadership and measure the effectiveness of this series. We hypothesize that participants in the program (and in the study) will develop in the 3 competency areas of spiritual leadership, curriculum and instructional design, and business management.

Sustaining the Legacy: Governance and Finance in Inner City and Catholic Elementary Schools

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Research for Sustaining the Legacy, which studies the governance and financial models of Catholic schools, began in 1995 under the leadership of Fr. Joseph O’Keefe, S.J..  Since then, two follow-up reviews were conducted in 2000 and 2009, and the Roche Center continued this work in 2011-2012.  The Roche Center staff researched the remaining urban Catholic schools, as well as the schools that have closed since the beginning of the study.  Research identified the governance and financial models that may contribute to the sustainability of the remaining schools and those models that may contribute to the school closure process.  Further, the team investigated the unique features of governance and finance for the schools that closed between 2000 and 2011.

Two groups of principals were recruited for this follow up analysis:
1.)    Principals/leaders in schools that have remained open since the 2009 survey
2.)    Principals/pastors and diocesan administrators with knowledge of the schools                     that have closed since 1995.

All 78 schools that participated in the 2009 survey were invited to participate in this recent follow up research.  In April 2012, the research team presented the findings at the National Catholic Educational Association conference in Boston, followed by lively and engaging discussion.

Sustaining Urban Catholic Elementary Schools: An Examination of Governance Models and Funding Strategies

Sustaining Urban Catholic Elementary Schools: An Examination of Governance Models and Funding Strategies, by Dr. Erik Goldschmidt and Dr. Mary Walsh, is a report out of the Boston College Lynch School of Education that serves as a resource to assist Catholic educational leaders and stakeholders in planning for the future for Catholic schools.  Click here for the full report.