Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

Center for Catholic School Effectiveness celebrates 10 years

Center for Catholic School Effectiveness celebrates 10 years

CCSE Team (left to right): Lee Hubbell, Michelle Lia EdD, Lorraine Ozar PhD, Michael Boyle, PhD and Sharon Smith

What do several countries, scores of dioceses, hundreds of Catholic schools, and thousands of Catholic school teachers have in common? They’ve all worked with the faculty and staff of the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness (CCSE), now celebrating its 10th year. 

Established on August 15, 2003 by Loyola University Chicago president Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. and supported by former Loyola School of Education (SOE) deans Margaret Fong Bloom and David Prasse, the Center has impacted Catholic education locally, nationally, and internationally.

“Our vision from the very beginning,” said the Center’s founding director and SOE faculty member, Lorraine A. Ozar, Ph.D., “was for the Center to be a premier ‘go to place’ in Catholic education for school effectiveness coaching, professional development, and research.”

In the Chicago and Joliet area, two of the Center’s programs have impacted well over 100 schools. “Open the Doors to All” is a program designed by the Center’s assistant director and SOE faculty member Michael J. Boyle, PhD, and supported by the Big Shoulders Fund in Chicago.

“The program has far-reaching impact by building teacher and principal capacity around the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and positive behavior management,” said Boyle.

With coaching from the Center, teachers work together to develop and implement  effective standards-based curriculum, effectively use research-based teaching strategies, expand learning assessments for a collaborative results-oriented approach, and manage behavior for student success.

The Center’s national — and increasingly international — impact was especially evident in March 2012 when Loyola, the SOE, and the Center published the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.  These school effectiveness standards, produced by a national task force chaired by Center Director Lorraine Ozar, provide 9 defining characteristics of Catholic schools along with 13 standards and 70 benchmarks in four domains: mission and Catholic identity, governance and leadership, academic excellence, and operational vitality. 

For the first time in the history of U.S. Catholic schools, the Catholic community has a research-based, nationally agreed upon set of standards and benchmarks describing in observable, measurable terms what a mission-driven, program-effective, well-managed, responsibly-governed Catholic school should look like for this century. Schools and dioceses across the country have begun implementation, including, for some, accreditation using the National Catholic Standards through AdvancED, Inc. Additionally, the Center recently began a three year partnership with Catholic educational leaders in the Philippines to assist them in developing national Catholic school standards for their country.

Through the SOE and in partnership with the Office of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Center has been instrumental in establishing graduate degree cohorts for Catholic educators. Graduates of the MEd in Instructional Leadership, the MEd in Reading, and the EdD in Curriculum and Instruction connect best practices and rigorous research with Catholic identity as they move forward as Catholic school leaders. The most recent programs include extensive onsite school-based coaching by former Catholic school principals and full alignment with the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.

In highlighting a few of the many successes of the Center in its first 10 years, Ozar underscored gratitude for initial, on-going and generous support from Loyola and the Arthur Foundation, as well as generous gifts from the Mazza Foundation, the Helen Brach Foundation, the Simon Foundation, and the Perry Family Foundation.  According to Ozar,  “The opportunity Catholic schools have to be “the best schools” in this century – schools that simultaneously hold students to high academic standards AND nurture and develop people of faith who can transform the world – can be realized only by forging partnerships among schools, dioceses, universities, donors, and the wider Church and civic community.”  The Center is looking for more such partners as it moves into its next decade.

A 10th Anniversary reception for the Loyola community and other supporters, partners and friends of the Center is scheduled for November 6, 2013 at Loyola’s Water Tower Campus.