Focus on Partnerships: Holy Family Catholic School—Bensenville, IL

Although Holy Family Catholic School in Bensenville and the Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education are not next door neighbors, there is a close relationship between the two. For the past several years, the CCSE has been providing professional development support to Holy Family Catholic School. "Holy Family Catholic School has been blessed to partner with Loyola University's Center for Catholic School Effectiveness in so many ways. The CCSE has held our hands as we have grown from 136 students in 2009 to 206 students this current school year," states Holy Family Catholic School Principal, Corie Alimento. Using a continuous improvement framework based on Response to Intervention developed by Dr. Michael Boyle, CCSE Assistant Director, Holy Family School has worked to strengthen their Tier One program by focusing on curriculum, instructional strategies, assessment and positive behavior management.

Under the leadership of CCSE's Dr. Michelle Lia, Holy Family is working to align the curriculum to the Common Core State Standards. The goal of this approach is written curricula in English language arts and math aligned to the Common Core and vertically aligned from grades preK-8 that is transparent to all stakeholders. In addition to direct skill- building sessions, Dr. Lia provides on-going coaching and support to classroom teachers around classroom instruction and curriculum-based assessments. Corie Alimento offers, "We are a diverse school. We serve students and parents with different cultural backgrounds. Because of this, it was important for us to team with the CCSE to make sure our curriculum was not only aligned with the new Common Core State Standards and National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, but to guarantee that our instruction meets the needs of the population we serve."