A Model for Urban Catholic Education
Ascension Catholic Academy is a consortium of schools formed in August 2016. The Academy provides centralized leadership and governance in multiple schools to deliver academic excellence and coordinated efforts to serve the whole child. It is the result of more than a year of study by Ascension and its partners on the best strategy to ensure excellence and sustainability in Catholic schools serving the highest portions of low-income scholars and families in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
Four schools are currently in the consortium: St. Peter Claver, St. John Paul II, St. Pascal Regional and Ascension Catholic School. Each of these schools serves scholars who primarily come from diverse backgrounds, with a large majority in need of additional academic and social support.
The need for scholars of color to have rigorous, high-quality educational opportunities that ensure they increase their educational achievement and close the gap with their peers is well documented. While Minnesota ranks high nationally in our academic measurements for all students, there is a significantly different academic picture for children of color.
- Minnesota ranks 49th in Hispanic/Latino graduation, at 70%
- Our state ranks 45th in African American graduation, at 70%
The areas around our schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul — where there are higher levels of poverty, mobility and English language learners and lower levels of parental educational attainment — are lacking “seats of rigor and relevance.”
The bold vision of Ascension Catholic Academy is to ensure that Catholic Schools are a key part of the solution to the Twin Cities urban cores’ entrenched challenges with the Achievement Gap. Ascension Catholic Academy is maturing into a network of schools that offers an excellent academic program of value to scholars, families, schools, parishes and communities. Our ultimate aim is to expand upon the nationally recognized success of Ascension Catholic School in the areas of academics, financial stability, and development; this will bring more scholars the opportunities that come with education and faith.
Our faith-based mission is a source of strength to each school. Because we practice faith and prayer every day, we are able to more fully prepare students to become intelligent, responsible adults and to give them a future full of hope. Our Catholic faith moves us to welcome all to deepen their relationship with God, through their chosen faith traditions. Many of our scholars have come to believe they are not valued; we instill in them the knowledge that they are God’s beloved children and help them see the gifts that God has given them.
In Partnership with GHR Foundation
The GHR Foundation has been an important partner in Ascension Catholic Academy from the beginning. The foundation’s values mirror those of the Academy:
- Driving school excellence by promoting best practices in finances, procurement, data collection and assessment.
- Testing and incubating new models in instruction, student support and governance.