In 2009, the University of Notre Dame launched the Catholic School Advantage (CSA) campaign, with the mission to improve educational opportunities for Latino children. Latinos who attend Catholic schools are 42% more likely to graduate high school and two and a half times more likely to graduate from college. At the same time, Latinos—who comprise two-thirds of practicing Catholics under the age of 35 in the United States—are woefully under-represented in the very institutions that have such dramatic success, as only 3% of school-aged Latino children attend Catholic schools. The mission of the CSA directly aligns with the Hispanic Education Imperative, a program of the Crimsonbridge Foundation that strives to improve educational outcomes for Hispanic children and youth.
One vital component of the CSA campaign is the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI), an initiative with two distinct objectives: to promote the unique value of Catholic schools to Latino communities and to help schools respond effectively to the unique needs of their Latino families. Since 2012, the LEI has worked with 163 Catholic schools from across the United States, and helped add 2,852 Latino students to those schools.
Earlier this month, the Crimsonbridge Foundation had the benefit of joining over 90 principals, pastors, school staff, and diocesan employees, representing 33 schools from 25 dioceses at the sixth LEI hosted at the University of Notre Dame. Over the course of 4 days, participants discussed the importance of welcoming Latino students into our nation’s Catholic schools, and learned practical strategies for increasing Latino enrollment. Presenters included LEI staff as well as principals who participated in the LEI in previous years and have since catalyzed transformation in their school community by increasing Latino enrollment.
VIDEO: Principals, some of whom will serve as mentors for the schools that attended this year’s LEI, shared inspiring stories of hope and resiliency, and emphasized that there is no “one size fits all” model in this work. However, one common theme throughout the conference was the importance of relationships: between principal and pastor; between principal and school staff; and perhaps most importantly, between principal and the Latino community.
To make this national program available to local school leaders and pastors, the Crimsonbridge Foundation and the Archdiocese of Washington have partnered to bring the Latino Enrollment Institute to Washington, DC in April 2018 with plans to engage more than 50 schools interested in improving outreach to the Hispanic community. More details to come!