Jane Bona Honored With National Catholic Educational Association Award


Principal Jane Bona has led a renewal of Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Columbia Heights, and her Lead. Learn. Proclaim. award from the National Catholic Educational Association confirms the effectiveness of her efforts. What’s the secret to Immaculate Conception’s turnaround under Bona’s leadership? Something traditional and something new.

First, the new: Bona’s decision to partner with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame moved Immaculate Conception away from a one-size-fits-all educational model toward the cutting edge of educational methodology. ACE provides Immaculate Conception with differentiated instruction strategies and nuanced insights into students’ individual learning needs. This helps teachers ensure that all students have the greatest opportunity to succeed.

Immaculate Conception recognizes the importance of remaining competitive by adding new curricula, technology and even a new playground. Yet, these changes do not make the school any less Catholic. In fact, walk around the school, and it’s difficult to find a nook or cranny that isn’t adorned with images of Jesus, Mary, saints and angels. As Bona says, these details really serve to allow the “spirit of the school” to permeate the entire operation.

The school is thriving, maintaining a traditional Catholic feel to complement its modern technological advancements. Since becoming principal, Bona has seen increases of 84 percent in enrollment and 45 percent in fundraising. Moving forward, Immaculate Conception will continue to seek new ways to blend the old and the new.

Worthy of the NCEA honor, Bona has proved that combining modern educational ingenuity with the sacred tradition of the Catholic Church is an excellent way to revitalize Catholic education.

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