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New teacher Maggie Hogan ’15 is at home in the Catholic classroom. Photo courtesy Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Pre-K-Through-College Partnership Finds St. Norbert Alumna Perfectly Placed

One of the most innovative collaborations in faith-based education, a Green Bay-area partnership has emerged as a national example of what parochial institutions can achieve when banding together toward a common mission. And Maggie Hogan ’15, a graduate of two of its member schools, embodies the program’s promise.

The initiative links Green Bay Area Catholic Education System (GRACE), Notre Dame Academy and St. Norbert College students and faculty in joint enterprises that encourage mutually beneficial collaborations in fundraising, admission initiatives, alumni relations and faculty development. 

“I love the sense of community I feel belonging to a Catholic school,” says Hogan, now in her first year as a kindergarten teacher at Resurrection Catholic School in Green Bay.

She is on track to become one of the partnership's first faculty beneficiaries. As a St. Norbert education graduate teaching at a partnership school, she’s in line to receive a $5,000 grant after a three-year commitment to GRACE. The incentive is funded through the benevolence of a donor intent on rewarding well-prepared teacher-education graduates who start their careers in the system.

We are one body 
Having attended Catholic schools her entire life, Hogan herself is representative of the pipeline prospects the new partnership affords. After Catholic grade school, she attended Notre Dame High School and then majored in education while at St. Norbert College.

She says, “Looking back, Catholic schools really shaped me into the person I am today. I am much more in touch with my beliefs, my religion and myself than I have ever been, and I wouldn't trade the ability to talk freely and openly about life’s mysteries, like God and the afterlife, for anything.”

She cites small class sizes and the “family” feel between classmates and teachers as further reasons for staying within GRACE. Hogan draws on the energy of such a culture to build an atmosphere of joy for her kindergartners. 

‘’Children at this age are so eager for knowledge. … I love being able to do projects and crafts with them that allow opportunities for hands-on learning, creativity and exploration,” she says. “Honestly, this year has been the best first year I could have ever imagined, and I am so happy I chose to work where I do.”  

The prospect of a grant to come is not the only advantage she cites about working in the CatholicLink environment:

“In the future, if I choose to have children and send them to a GRACE school, Notre Dame Academy or SNC, I will only have to pay half tuition for their education. I also understand that the partnership is looking to extend the benefits into professional development opportunities for me to further my education.” 

At St. Norbert, Hogan minored in English as a second language (ESL). She anticipates the possibility of additional language training plus training in ESL classroom management strategies: ambitions that the initatives professional development partnerships may be well-placed to foster.

Amazing GRACE, Notre Dame Academy
A pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade cohort, GRACE was created in 2008 as the central administration system for Green Bay area Catholic schools. With 23 parishes and 10 schools in its domain, it is the largest Catholic school association in Wisconsin.

Notre Dame Academy is a Catholic high school that holds a 99 percent college admission rate. It was established in 1990 under its present name when St. Joseph Academy (founded in 1896), Abbot Pennings High School (founded in 1898 as St. Norbert High School) and Our Lady of Prémontré High School (founded in 1941) combined under one roof.

March 1, 2016