Cretin-Derham Hall bolsters support for exceptional learners with $1M gift
By Sandra R. Sabo
Collaborative. Welcoming. Loving.
These are some of the ways students and parents describe their Catholic school principal — words that were incorporated into personalized posters on display at the 2019 CSCOE BASH. CSCOE presented its Legacy of Greatness Award to each principal of the 79 Catholic grade schools in the archdiocese.
“We honor you for your hours of care and coordination and for how you make a gift of yourselves to our Catholic schools,” said Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who also serves on the CSCOE Board of Directors. The 800 attendees at the third annual event showed their appreciation with a standing ovation for the principals in attendance, who also received a sculpture of Jesus symbolizing their role as servant leaders.
The CSCOE BASH raised more than $1.5 million to support efforts to enhance excellence and increase enrollment in local Catholic grade schools. More than half a million dollars will go toward supporting exceptional learners — students who require additional tools for success, such as students with ADHD, autism, giftedness and English language learning. As part of this mission, an additional $1 million dollar gift from Cretin-Derham Hall High School will bring the CSCOE and Groves Academy literacy initiative to more schools.
Together with the St. Louis Park-based Groves Academy, CSCOE is working to implement its highly successful literacy framework at 18 Catholic elementary schools. The Groves Literacy Framework™ is a three-year program designed to ensure all students are fluent readers and spellers by third grade through weekly classroom coaching, monthly team meetings and teacher support.
An additional partnership is also helping meet unique educational needs. With Loyola University Chicago, CSCOE recently created the Network of Excellence for Exceptional Learners. Through this partnership, university personnel will provide professional development opportunities and work with schools to support one another and better serve students. For Catholic schools without special education staff, CSCOE offers access to consultants who can provide advice on supporting students with learning challenges.
Training opportunities keep schools equipped with the latest information and resources for exceptional learners. In 2018, St. Hubert School in Chanhassen hosted CSCOE’s conference, A Place at the Table for Exceptional Learners, where each school received a toolkit of resources.
“Our teachers immediately began using the items, which included weighted blankets, fidgets, special clocks and noise-canceling headphones,” said Kari Zobel, St. Hubert’s interim principal.
With the support of dedicated school principals and generous donors, CSCOE plans to continue support of exceptional learners this summer with another conference at Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School and more initiatives to come.