Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Catholic Inner City Schools (CISE)

The urban schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, in recognition that the classroom teacher is the leading force in the movement towards maximizing student learning, are participating in the professional growth opportunities offered through the Center for Catholic Education at Xavier University.

This academic year, the focus of professional development at the center has been on Building Professional Learning Communities. Teachers from Archdiocesan schools participated in the yearlong monthly in-service that resulted in schools working collaboratively for the benefit of studying and improving student learning in their school. Of the 17 schools participating, six were from the urban core of Cincinnati.

Our schools that are funded through the Catholic Inner City Schools Education Fund (St. Boniface, Corryville Catholic, St. Francis de Sales, St. Francis Seraph, Holy Family, St. Joseph, Prince of Peace and Resurrection of our Lord) serve the poorest of our urban students. One program that serves the unique needs of these students is the Leadership Scholars Program.

The mission of the Leadership Scholars program is to develop leadership skills in inner-city elementary students and the high school students who mentor them. Its goals are to improve communication, analytical thinking and interpersonal skills as well as build character and technological and academic proficiency and excellence.

These goals are met through structured weekly scholar/leader meetings, summer leadership camp and monthly seminars hosted at Xavier University. Currently 170 students participate, with roughly half grade school scholars and half high school leaders. (High schools involved: Elder, Purcell Marian, Roger Bacon, Seton, Summit Country Day and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.)

Because many students in the urban core come to kindergarten without a preschool experience, the CISE schools are beginning to explore early learning opportunities. Two of the eight schools will open a preschool in fall 2010, with plans for expanding quality programs to other CISE schools. Program quality will be ensured through partnerships with Success by 6 and other endorsed agencies serving young children.