Making An Impact

Cretin-Durham hall invests in literacy for all

By Maddie Lupori

Education is a constant building block, and literacy is the cornerstone. The foundational components of literacy start in the early education years, making it key for schools to focus on these skills early on.

Cretin-Derham Hall High School (CDH) recognized this importance by committing $1 million over five years to improve literacy in Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. This represents a unique partnership with the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) and Groves Academy to advance literacy.

Why would a high school contribute to elementary education in such a significant way? Research proves that effective literacy programs not only enhance a student’s early years, but they also directly affect the high school experience and beyond. 

“Reading is a gift that lasts a lifetime,” explained Mike Halloran, CSCOE vice president of development and operations. “This amazing partnership is impacting the trajectory of these children’s lives — forever.”

He explained that the groundbreaking partnership looks at the Catholic school system as a federation, where investing in literacy in K-3 will impact the student’s success as they matriculate through Catholic grade school and potentially Catholic high school and college. The initial response from donors has been extremely positive and “so hope-filled,” he said.

The newly branded Believe and Read program is based on the Groves Literacy Framework™ — a comprehensive, three-year program for reading and spelling instruction that follows evidence-based practices and scientific research. The framework uniquely addresses every child at every level to help boost students at risk for falling behind while also furthering students who thrive.    

“For nearly 150 years, our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the Christian Brothers, have supported the highest quality of education in Minnesota,” 

Said Cretin-Derham Hall President Frank Miley. “At Cretin-Derham Hall, we share that commitment and are strong believers in early literacy as a transformative response to our educational challenges today. The impact will be felt by all students at all levels of our Catholic school system.” 

Twenty schools are currently piloting the program, with the goal of bringing the framework to all 79 Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. A marketing communications campaign is also in development, which aims to raise awareness and additional funding to continue the momentum spurred by the generosity of CDH. 

As CSCOE board member and donor Michael Cole said, “There’s no legacy that is as sacred as this one.”

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