Archive for the 'Catholic/Christian Faith' Category

A Prayer for the End of the School Year

Prayer_TeamBy Aubrey Murtha — As many of us are preparing to leave Marquette or have already left to spend the summer in our hometowns, I would like to offer up a lovely prayer I found in celebration of the conclusion of a successful academic year.


A Prayer for the End of the School Year
Author Unknown

Christ, Teacher and Lord,
Bless all at this university
As we seek to end our year
With the grace you so generously provide.

We give thanks for the students
And the faculty, the administrators,
And all who have contributed
To this year of nurturing and growth.

We affirm all the positive moments,
Of insight, of the excitement of learning,
Of accomplishment, of creativity,
Of laughter, of a sense of community.

We recognize the times of struggle,
Of difficult work, of misunderstanding,
Even of failure–we give these
To you for transformation,
So they can become seeds
That will find fertile soil.

As we leave for the summer,
May we take with us
The knowledge that
You will keep us all
In your embrace so
We may rest and be restored
And so we can continue in
The ongoing discovery
of your Love.

Prayer taken from

New Technology, Ancient Opinions

Facebook-Circling-the-DrainBy Elizabeth Turco — Facebook. While it is simply a social media website, it has taken over the globe.

As a 21 year old college student, I use it quite frequently. This is also (what I hope) true of all other people my age. This site is not uniquely popular among people my age. From my middle school cousin to my elderly grandmother, everyone is using this site to connect with others around the world. It is the most modern form of communication; letter writing and phone calls are almost a thing of the past in this age of technology.

The other day, during one of my many viewings I found something quite shocking. A Facebook friend of mine posted something about how she was excited about a certain republican politician who has announced his running for president in 2016. This is not uncommon. Facebook has become an outlet for people’s political excitement and frustrations. The comment conversation that ensued, however, was appalling. When asked about why she liked him so much, she responded with a very discriminatory and crude statement about how she agrees with his distaste for homosexual people. She then proceeded to continue in her bigoted comments. The first amendment gives her free speech, and she was taking advantage of it.

At a Jesuit university, the issue of gay rights is a very hot issue. Some use the church to defend their opposition. Did the Bible not condemn homosexuality? As a Catholic, I look to Pope Francis. He has made many statements on this issue. His most famous was when he said in regards to gay people, “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?” Even though he is the leader of the church, he understands that he is not God-like in his ability to judge others. He preaches that no one should be the judge of others. Living a religious and godly life is what should be important, not something as meaningless as sexual attraction.

As a future educator, I fear this debate. I am confident in my beliefs, but understand that the classroom is no place to voice them. The role of a teacher, to me, is not to teach beliefs and opinions, but to teach the ability to form them for one’s self. As a history teacher, this will be a constant struggle. Historically, discrimination is on the down turn. From slavery to civil rights to now, racism is slowly declining. Thanks to the Nazis, discrimination against Jewish people is socially unacceptable. It will be necessary to teach these types of prejudice and how they are being eliminated. It is easy to relate these issues back to homosexual issues, but hard to do so without putting my own beliefs into the mix. I can encourage kindness and compassion, but I cannot force it.

I can only hope to find a good balance in my classroom: offering my Jesuit education gained insights to social justice issues, yet providing them in an informative, but not forceful, way.

Honoring Our Beloved K-12 Catholic Schools: Debunking Common Myths and Looking Ahead

Catholic-Schools-Week-2013By Bill Henk – With Catholic Schools Week now squarely upon us, it’s only fitting to honor these educational treasures.  Today’s affirmation takes the form of putting K-12 Catholic schools into proper perspective and looking toward a brighter future.

You see, there are a lot of misconceptions about Catholic schools out there,  and it’s high time to set the record straight.  And there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about Catholic education, especially when these common myths can be dismissed.

Sad to say, one of the reasons I know about these faulty perceptions is that I harbored many of them myself even as a lifetime Catholic.  It surely didn’t help that I am the product of public education from kindergarten all the way through my doctorate and then worked in public universities until 2004.  In fact, even in my first few years at Marquette, a Catholic university no less, I still didn’t truly grasp the realities of Catholic schools.

It wasn’t until I helped to co-found our Greater Milwaukee Catholic Education Consortium (GMCEC) almost five years ago that I finally started to become enlightened.  Since then, I have literally become a student of K-12 Catholic education, which explains the heightened awareness that I feel compelled to share with our readers here.

So, with the help of my valued colleagues in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Office For Schools and the GMCEC, I’ve assembled  a list of common Catholic school myths below.  Be forewarned, I  don’t elaborate much, and believe me, it’s probably for the best, because I’m hardly an expert.  Instead I’m relying on your willingness to acknowledge that the very opposite of each statement represents the truth.

So What are the Myths?

Continue reading ‘Honoring Our Beloved K-12 Catholic Schools: Debunking Common Myths and Looking Ahead’

Tuesday Trivia – January 29, 2013

Did you know that this week, January 27th-February 2nd, is Catholic Schools Week? Let’s see what else you know!

What is the theme of this year’s Catholic Schools Week?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.


How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education? Test your knowledge every Tuesday during Tuesday Trivia!

Serve Wholeheartedly: A Message for Aspiring Teachers

On Sunday, October 7th, the College of Education hosted its annual blessing service to honor student teachers and field placement students. This year’s service featured particularly inspiring comments from COED Assistant Professor, Leigh van den Kieboom.  Her remarks  appear here for your appreciation and enjoyment.  


As you begin your field experience and student teaching, remember that your training is not over; it’s just beginning and will continue every day that you teach.

A good teacher must first and always be a good learner.

And you learn to teach by teaching… there is no other way.

So you must approach your field experience and student teaching with both humility and confidence – humility because you don’t know everything about teaching and learning yet, and confidence because you know more about teaching and learning than you think you do.

Your work is of immeasurable and lasting importance, and your students will remember you long after you have helped them move on to the next step in their life. So, be yourself and give all of yourself.

Bring your enthusiasm and interests into the classroom and share them with the students who will learn to love and respect you. And learn to seek out, embrace, and build upon the knowledge, enthusiasm, and interests your students will bring into your classroom.

Accept and receive each of the students you teach as a special gift to you, never wishing to teach other or better students, but always working to figure out how to teach “this” group of students.

Plan on feeling overwhelmed, as though this experience has swallowed you whole and consumed all of your energy. And then, remember why you’re feeling overwhelmed; it’s because you are.

Teaching is an enormously difficult job that when done well only looks easy. Find strength to combat this overwhelming feeling by knowing that teaching is filled with fresh starts – a new day, a new lesson, a new unit, a new school year.

You can try again…

And finally, as men and women who are called to serve others in your field experience and student teaching, serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving God Himself, because you know God will reward everyone for whatever good he or she does. (Ephesians 6:7)

Servant Leadership: Learning from the Act of Service

By Erin Galvin — Growing up in Catholic schools, service was always incorporated into my education.  It began with small acts of charity, such as preparing food baskets for a Thanksgiving food drive and completing service hours in junior high.

While I enjoyed these experiences, it wasn’t until I experienced Jesuit secondary and higher education that service became more than a mere requirement.  Over the past few years, I have come to value service for the personal relationships that I have developed with others.  The opportunity to be fully present to another human being has made service a meaningful part of my life.

As I reflect on what service means to me, I immediately think of my first service experience where I developed relationships with the people that I served.  This service experience took place during my sophomore year of high school when I signed up to spend a Monday evening participating in the Labre Project.  The Labre Project is a weekly ministry of friendship and food to the homeless in Akron, Ohio.

In three short hours, service became an act of being with others rather than doing for others.  I met several individuals who openly welcomed several high school students and teachers into their living space (usually the steps outside of a church or a camp that they set up near the railroad tracks) to talk with them about their lives and current events. They also offered advice to all of us students, such as emphasizing the importance of making good decisions and getting a good education. Through my conversations with my Labre friends, I learned that they had experienced a series of events or made decisions that led them to homelessness.  Listening to their stories helped me to see beyond the common stereotypes associated with homeless individuals as well as understand the obstacles that they face on a daily basis.

While this service experience took place over six years ago, it opened my eyes to how service can be an act of being present to another. This is the experience from which my passion for service stems and the reason why service continues to be an integral part of my Marquette experience.

At Marquette, I have had countless opportunities to participate in service experiences and often times I feel like I take away far more than I give to the people that I work with. In each of these service experiences, I strive to be fully present to others and build relationships with them.  From participating in the Dorothy Day Social Justice Living Learning Community to going on service trips through the MAP and IMAP programs, the relationships that I have build with others in the context of service have transformed me.  Sometimes these relationships brought a smile to my face because of the simple joy of experiencing friendship or playing games with schoolchildren. Other times, I have found myself saddened and frustrated by the injustices of this world.  Regardless of the emotion that each conversation evoked, each relationship called me to continue to participate in service and reflect on how I can use college education to benefit the lives of others.

As a future educator, I hope to empower my students to achieve their goals as well as give them opportunities to participate in service just like my teachers did for me.


Erin Galvin is a rising senior majoring in Elementary Education and Mathematics.  This summer she is teaching at Breakthrough Fort Worth, an affiliate of Breakthrough Collaborative.  The program provides highly motivated students from underserved populations with a six-year academically intense enrichment program with the ultimate goal that the students will graduate from a four-year university.  This is Erin’s second year with the program, and she will be teaching 8th grade Geometry and Algebra. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Erin will be serving as the Math Department Chair where she will work closely with a Mentor Teacher and her fellow math teachers to provide their students with quality math instruction.

Securing the Future of Catholic Schools

By Jen Maney, GMCEC Institutional Coordinator — A few years back, a group of like-minded people in Milwaukee with a commitment to K-12 Catholic education got together and began to talk about the ways in which some of our local Catholic colleges and universities might better support these schools.

From those conversations, the GMCEC, or Greater Milwaukee Catholic Education Consortium, was born. As a result, Milwaukee is the first archdiocese in the United States to have all of its Catholic universities and colleges within its boundaries mount a collaborative effort to ensure the future of its Catholic schools.

I was brought in about a year later to coordinate some of the efforts that were beginning to take shape under commitment and guidance from Alverno College, Cardinal Stritch, Marian University, Marquette University, and Mount Mary College.

“It will never work,” a friend of mine said as I was discerning whether or not to take this brand new position, never occupied by anyone, anywhere. “’Groups like that always die when new leaders come on board,” said someone else. “You’re crazy if you want to report to five different institutions!” cried a family member.

In spite of my lack of experience in Catholic K-12 education, I decided to jump in and accept the challenge.

Two and a half years later I have had a chance to stand back and appreciate what we have accomplished thus far:

  • The GMCEC has served over 500 teachers and administrators from 80 archdiocesan schools in barely three years.
  • Three of its board members, including me, were invited to Washington D.C. through the Department of Education, to address a group of educators thinking of new and better ways to improve our schools.
  • The GMCEC, in collaboration with the Archdiocesan Office for Schools and the St. Clare Center at Cardinal Stritch University, supports a year-long, cohort-model, faith formation training program for school teachers and leaders wishing to grow their faith and understanding their ministry to “teach as Jesus did.”
  • In December, 2010, Marquette University hosted a roundtable discussion among 40 Catholic school leaders struggling with their school’s Catholic identity in the 21st century.
  • In August, the GMCEC and Office for Schools provided ongoing training to over 245 teachers looking to improve their classroom practice as we establish a new school culture of welcoming students of all learning levels.
  • The GMCEC has developed and conducted grant writing workshops to help schools seek both local and federal funding.
  • The GMCEC collaborated with the national Department of Education to provide a two-day workshop on how Catholic schools can work more effectively and efficiently to obtain federal funds for special needs and low-income students.
  • Alverno College developed and offered a Basic Spanish class for 12 Catholic school teachers working in our schools serving English language learners.
  • Alverno also developed and conducted a 6-week mini-course for teachers on serving our Latino population more effectively and more justly.
  • The GMCEC is involved in utilizing master’s degree students in counseling from Mount Mary College to go into Racine elementary schools and provide counseling services to its students.
  • Marian University hosted 166 teachers at the “21st Century Approach to Teaching and Learning” conference in August to assist our Catholic school teachers meet the challenges of a growing electronic age.
  • Marquette University’s service learning department connected 13 Catholic schools with undergraduate courses and their students with its mission to do work within the community.
  • All five participating GMCEC institutions offer tuition discounts for its Catholic school teachers and leaders.

This is just some of the work we have done thus far. As we look to the future, the GMCEC is taking the lead in measuring the academic effectiveness of our schools, something that has never been done in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. In addition, we are coordinating an effort to help our urban schools who participate in the school choice initiative by conducting customized professional development for their populations.

The GMCEC will also be welcoming universities from across the country in October of 2012, including Boston College, Fordham University, University of Notre Dame, Loyola Marymount, and Catholic University, among others, as it hosts a national summit on school governance.

The question this collection of institutions has asked in the past is “how can our Catholic colleges and universities better serve our Catholic elementary and high schools?”

The thing is…here in Milwaukee? We already are.

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