Serving as host of the National Catholic Educational Association’s 104th convention and exposition brings a lot of benefits to Baltimore, according to Dr. Ronald J. Valenti, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Not only will the archdiocese get to showcase its rich educational history and experience April 10-13, Baltimore teachers will be able to learn from some of the top Catholic educators in the country.
Each year, all teachers in the Baltimore archdiocese are required to take a minimum of seven days of professional development. This year, three of those days will be taken at the NCEA convention, where 2,500 teachers from the Baltimore archdiocese will join more than 8,000 other educators from around the country in participating in a wide variety of workshops covering topics like Catholic identity, administration, curriculum, development, sports, technology and more.
“There is something for everyone,” said Dr. Valenti. “It helps to build and strengthen who we are as Catholic educators.”
The superintendent said it would be quite expensive for the archdiocese to bring in some of the experts who will be appearing at the convention on its own. It’s just as expensive to send teachers to other parts of the country, he said.
“Having the convention in Baltimore provides our teachers with an opportunity to participate in a national convention they could never experience,” he said. “The NCEA is the largest professional organization of educators that exists.”
Dr. Valenti highlighted the scheduled appearance of Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, an expert on curriculum mapping. By next year, the archdiocese is planning to implement curriculum mapping in all elementary schools. The process charts out the curriculum across disciplines to make sure there is no redundancy, he said.
“To have the guru of curriculum mapping here so our teachers can learn from her insights is just marvelous,” he said.
Conventioneers won’t go home without mementos to remember Baltimore, Dr. Valenti said. Thousands of goody bags will be distributed complete with Mary Sue Easter egg candies and blinking lighthouses in keeping with the convention’s theme, “Anchor of Faith, Harbor of Light.”
“We have a strong and vibrant and deep-rooted history of Catholic education,” Dr. Valenti said. “We want people to recognize they are part of that history. We want them to be warmly received and have a good time.”