2018 Innovation in Catholic Education “Total community involvement, including fundraising” Finalists


  • Location: Butler, Pennsylvania
  • Diocese: Pittsburgh
  • Enrollment: 275
  • Grade levels: PK-8
  • Principal: Sr. John Ann Mulhern
  • Website: butlercatholic.org

As at many Catholic schools, tuition at Butler Catholic School does not cover the cost of all school expenses, and other fundraisers are required to raise ample funds. With four major fundraisers every year, many of the same businesses were solicited multiple times to donate to the school. With the creation of an innovative and comprehensive yearlong sponsorship plan called the Community Partnership Program, organizations can choose one of four financial levels of commitment. Each financial level clearly communicates how the donor will be recognized at each of the school’s three benefit events, as well as additional visibility throughout the school year. The funds generated through Butler Catholic School’s Community Partnership Program are used to enhance curriculum and student experiences. For the 2017-2018 school year, two special new programs were offered thanks to support from the school’s Community Partners: “STREAM Friday Enrichment” and “Academic Leadership Lab at Slippery Rock University.”

Butler Catholic - Community - Hugues - PGW


  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Diocese: Dallas
  • Enrollment: 150
  • Grade levels: K-12
  • Principal: Theresa Francis
  • Website: notredameschool.org

For the past seven years, The Notre Dame Spring Show has brought the community together in a fundraising effort that supports The Notre Dame School of Dallas. The event features performances by every student attending Notre Dame in an exciting experience that allows every child to feel like a true star! With a different theme each year, parent and volunteer involvement makes this event special. Community support comes from donations from over 50 businesses; this has allowed the school to raise over $100,000 to assist children with developmental disabilities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Notre Dame - WINNER Community - Hugues - PGW


  • Location: Medina, Ohio
  • Diocese: Cleveland
  • Enrollment: 494
  • Grade levels: PK-8
  • Principal: Bibiana Seislove
  • Website: sfxmedina.org

A 5K race and fun walk is the primary fundraiser for the Mary Grace Memorial Foundation, whose goal is to provide funds for life’s necessities to those affected by all forms of cancer. This year, with 1,465 participants and 37 teams, the foundation netted over $74,000! The school’s enthusiasm and commitment are stronger than ever, as participants work many hours behind the scenes and in the booths, as well as at the starting line. This year, the faculty team, “The Holy Walkamolies,” raised $800, and the student team, “Kickel’s Kids,” broke the bank with a $2,000 total.

St Francis Xavier - Community - Hugues - PGW

2018 Innovation in Catholic Education “Technology integration” Finalists


  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Diocese: New Orleans
  • Enrollment: 1,265
  • Grade levels: 8-12
  • Principal: Beth Ann Simno
  • Website: mcacubs.com

To encourage student involvement in the emerging medium of digital storytelling, which captures the blueprint of human civilization and its values, the teachers at Mount Carmel Academy devised an interdisciplinary project among the 3D Animation, Acting, and Creative Writing classes to create a digital short film. This cross-curricular unit centered on storytelling; however, students also built real-world collaboration skills and stretched their creative and technological capabilities. Painting worlds with words, bringing a character to life with voice, or animating the movements of creatures across a screen are all important individual skills, but seeing these come together and come alive is the true testament to the power of creative collaborations. These animated short films are shared with the school and local community at Mount Carmel Academy’s annual Arts in the Spotlight evening and used to inspire future storytellers.

Mt Carmel - WINNER Tech - GNP


  • Location: Plano, Texas
  • Diocese: Dallas
  • Enrollment: 552
  • Grade levels: PK-8
  • Principal: Patricia Opon
  • Website: stmcs.net

In 2017 the St. Mark Catholic School community built a SmartLab, which principal Patricia Opon likes to describe as “STEM on steroids!” A SmartLab is a fully integrated facility where students explore many disciplines through applied technology and project-based learning. It is carefully designed and provisioned for each grade level, meeting the targeted needs of the campus. Applications reinforce academics across many disciplines and build next-generation skills utilizing the most engaging learning tools available. An appropriate level of challenge is provided to each student, addressing all learning styles. Students apply the thought processes and knowledge they gain from the classroom and their STEM projects to real-world applications. The marriage of classroom lessons, the STEM project thought process, and cutting-edge technology means that students know no boundaries.

St Mark - Tech - GNP


  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Diocese: Phoenix
  • Enrollment: 478
  • Grade levels: PK-8
  • Principal: Sr. Raphael Quinn
  • Website: simonjudeschool.org

SS. Simon and Jude Cathedral School has successfully led students through technology integration with the 1:1 iPad program initiated during the 2013-14 school year. iPads have become a routine part of students’ lives. While these are useful academic tools, there is also a focus on digital citizenship; students are taught how to perform appropriate searches, identify reliable sources, and be responsible with the technology that has become infused in their lives. Students are directed when to use the iPad in class as teachers balance traditional learning with technology. Teachers were provided with professional development training in best practices for incorporating this technology into lessons and assessments. The 1:1 program allows faculty to collaborate and share new ideas and methodologies. Differentiation can be achieved through blended learning as students follow self-paced lessons.

SS Simon and Jude - Tech - GNP

2018 Innovation in Catholic Education “Curriculum and instruction Finalists


  • Location: West Bend, Wisconsin
  • Diocese: Milwaukee
  • Enrollment: 280
  • Grade levels: PK-8
  • Principal: Mike Sternig
  • Website: has.pvt.k12.wi.us

To prepare students for a multicultural, interdependent society, Holy Angels School offers a sequential program of study in world culture and language in all grades, for all students. Students in kindergarten through grade five receive instruction in German, Spanish, and Chinese language and culture on a rotating trimester schedule. Middle-school students concentrate on one world language, chosen prior to sixth-grade placement, for three years. By the end of eighth grade, it is possible for students to complete the equivalency of level one in their respective language at the high school. The study of world language and culture leads to the ability to communicate in a second or third world language, in addition to an awareness of and appreciation for God’s gift of diversity in other cultures.

Holy Angels - Curriculum - CTP


  • Location: Wilmington, Delaware
  • Diocese: Wilmington
  • Enrollment: 661
  • Grade levels: 9-12
  • Principal: Barbara Markham
  • Website: paduaacademy.org

Padua Academy offers a yearlong elective on the Holocaust and Twentieth Century Genocide to students in grades 10 through 12 as well as students from “brother” school Salesianum. This program has cross-curricular applications designed to emphasize the respect for life, the preservation of democracy, and the moral dilemmas in an immoral reality. Extending beyond the historical treatment of the Holocaust, themes of the course deal with reconciliation, survival, morality, indifference, and immorality. The local Jewish Community Center provides grants for honoraria and travel subsidies. Guest speakers and presenters include camp survivors, hidden children, a liberator of Dachau, a Jew living in China in the l930s, and a filmmaker who has interviewed some 300 survivors, righteous and liberators.



  • Location: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Archdiocese: Louisville
  • Enrollment: 138
  • Grade levels: PK-8
  • Principal: Mary Parola
  • Website: stleonardlouisville-school.org

At St. Leonard Community School, the belief that all students are 21st-century learners who must demonstrate creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills along with the ability to communicate and collaborate with others led to the creation of 20% Time. This program involved the middle-school students in creating physical improvements for the school. The students brainstormed ideas, which ranged from the very ambitious (adding a second-floor loft) to the more manageable (adding a Lego wall). They set up committees to handle everything from the budget to fundraising, furniture, and technology. They created agendas for meetings, kept detailed notes, and made plans. Students even formed a public-relations team to get input from parish and community groups that would use the space. The committees will present their proposals to the school and parish councils for final approval, and students will take part in the actual work of transforming the space. Students have shown increased confidence in their writing, research, and public-speaking skills. 20% Time has also helped build and strengthen relationships among the students in different grades and between the teachers and students.

St Leonard - WINNER Curriculum - CTP

2018 Innovation in Catholic Education “Promoting Catholic identity” Finalists


  • Location: Champaign, Illinois
  • Diocese: Champaign
  • Enrollment: 266
  • Grade levels: 9-12
  • Principal: Jason M Schreder
  • Website: hs-stm.org

At the High School of St. Thomas More, we created a Family System to bring the communal life of the Church into the school day. Within the Family System, students and staff have opportunities to form relationships and friendships with those they may not have otherwise. All students, along with teacher mentors, are part of a House that meets weekly for a time of faith, fellowship, fun, and food. Houses named for St. Peter, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and St. Michael the Archangel are led by student House Leaders along with a teacher House Mentor. The House Mentors and student House Leaders follow the model of Christ in demonstrating true friendship and love to their fellow students.

St Thomas More - Catholic Identity - Lands End


(Modeling Virtues One Month at a Time)

  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • Diocese: Richmond
  • Enrollment: 213
  • Grade levels: PK-8
  • Principal: Sean Cruess
  • Website: saintbenedictschool.org

As an alternative to the typical “student of the month” program, St. Benedict Catholic School created a program called “Virtue of the Month.” Designed to teach students about different virtues, this program allows students to practice positive habits and recognizes those who excel as models of each virtue. Students learn what it means to follow the example of Jesus and the saints. The entire school focuses on a different virtue each month. Before a month begins, the faculty receives Scripture verses that help to define that month’s particular virtue. Teachers integrate these virtues into their instruction. This program’s goal is to reinforce the words of St. Francis de Sales: “All of us can attain to Christian virtue and holiness, no matter in what condition of life we live and no matter what our life work may be.”


  • Location: Lewiston, Maine
  • Diocese: Lewiston
  • Enrollment: 265
  • Grade levels: PK-8
  • Principal: Marianne Pelletier
  • Website: stdomsmaine.org

At St. Dominic Academy we believe that a Catholic education should be accessible, affordable, and available to all. The traditional Catholic school model needed to be adjusted to meet the needs of the rural communities within Maine. St. Dominic Academy set out to create a new model to provide a Catholic education in Rumford, a rural area of just under 6,000 people, where the Faith is strong but Holy Savior School, which had served the area for over a century, was not large enough to be sustainable. A team of individuals who are passionate about Catholic education worked to create the St. Dominic Academy/Holy Savior School Initiative. This has not only allowed for the sustainability of Holy Savior, but it also serves as a model for how Catholic schools and Catholic educational centers can grow and thrive in rural communities.

St Dominic Academy - WINNER Catholic Identity - Lands End