The foundation of the Center for Catholic Education is based on the Catholic, Jesuit identity of Saint Louis University.
Catholic school closures in 2020 disproportionately impacted underserved families and non-Catholic families, creating a new sense of urgency to continue faith-driven educational opportunities.
Through our innovative practices, our mission is to:
- Hand on the Catholic faith to future generations,
- Create sustainability and equity for a viable future in Catholic schools, and
- Recruit and support change leaders.
Graduate programs in educational leadership at SLU have a far-reaching impact by serving students in St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Little Rock, and Oklahoma City. The Master of Arts in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Catholic education is designed to prepare students for school-level leadership positions in Catholic schools. The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Catholic education is designed to prepare students to become executive-level leaders in Catholic education.
The Billiken Teacher Corps (BTC) is a unique service-learning opportunity for faith-driven college graduates to have a transformative impact in under-resourced Catholic schools in the St. Louis area. For two years, the fellows live in an intentional faith community while teaching full time and earning their Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree with full tuition remission. As of spring 2021, there are 29 alumni of the BTC program; 93% of these alums are employed in education. Billiken Teacher Corps alums often continue their studies in doctoral education programs at SLU, increasing their impact in the community. The Billiken Teacher Corps has also recently expanded to serve the children in St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Springfield, Illinois. This is the first time that the BTC has partnered with a school outside of the St. Louis metropolitan area.
The Grow Your Own Teacher program offers an opportunity to high school graduates who would like to teach in an under-resourced Catholic elementary school that they attended. These students may apply for the Grow Your Own Teacher scholarship fund and earn their Bachelor of Arts in Education at Saint Louis University.
Access Academies at Saint Louis University propels middle school students in urban Catholic schools who have been historically underserved through high school and on to college and career success. Access provides enrichment programs, counseling in middle school through high school, and scholarships for high school. The School of Education also partners with Access Academies to help provide summer tutors for their Summer Bridge Program. Access’s partnership with three local schools —St. Louis Catholic Academy, Sister Thea Bowman, and St. Cecilia—strengthens SLU’s connection to students in Catholic schools. This also allows Access Academies to leverage the School of Education’s expertise, data research, and the Billiken Teacher Corps to enhance its programming.
Through our Beyond Home Initiative, we provide scholarships for Catholic educators in the developing world. The Center for Catholic Education is making an impact through its partnership with the Belize 2020 organization, a group based in St. Louis that provides volunteers and funding that support the Jesuit schools and parishes in Belize, Central America. Based on the theory of change for international outreach to “train the trainer,” Belizean Catholic school teachers and students return home after earning their graduate degree at SLU and serve as teacher-leaders who work alongside and coach their colleagues.
The Center for Catholic Education at Saint Louis University is uniquely positioned to serve as a hub to study best practices in Catholic education through its connection with:
- Archdiocese of St. Louis
- National Catholic Educational Association
- PRiME Center in Saint Louis University’s School of Education
- Saint Louis University Geospatial Institute
- Journal of Catholic Education
The Commitments of the Institute for Catholic Education
- Provide a focus for research and analysis of central issues affecting Catholic education.
- Serve as a national clearinghouse for research and practical applications of this research for use by Catholic education practitioners.
- Expand and strengthen specialized degree programs related directly to Catholic education.
- Develop effective processes, structures and leadership training for strategic planning, financial management, enrollment management, governance and leadership of Catholic educational systems.
- Develop new models for effective practices in catechesis, curriculum and instruction, and student and family support processes in Catholic education.
- Provide professional development in the key areas of catechesis, curriculum and instruction, student and family support processes, and leadership for staff and leaders of Catholic educational systems. Create and sustain effective collaborative partnerships in educational initiatives with archdioceses, dioceses, provinces and Catholic educational leaders.