Fulcrum Funding Sparks New Teaching Methods at St. Cecilia Catholic School

June 30, 2020

What goes around, comes around.

Through the Fulcrum Building Diversity and Inclusion Grant Program, Alexis Anjomshoaa Brown, a St. Cecilia Catholic school teacher, received invaluable professional development skills in teaching English as a new language through the University of Notre Dame’s Hernandez Fellows program.

Alexis took six graduate-level courses through the program, deepening her expertise in educating culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Now, she’s sharing that same training with her fellow educators at St. Cecilia.

“It’s been really amazing,” Alexis said. “I’ve brought a couple of teaching techniques that really impacted me to the other teachers. It really helped explain some of the learning phenomena we’d see in the classroom.”

Susan Kilbane, principal of St. Cecilia, said her teachers immediately put Alexis’ new strategies to the test.

“We had Alexis present during one of our professional development days right before we started school,” Susan recalled. “And then when I started going into the classrooms to observe lessons, I saw her strategies being used.”

Alexis’ teaching techniques focus on helping English language learners, but the school has found that Alexis’ strategies have reached all their students.

“We’re not just targeting English language learners, we’re supporting every student’s learning,” Susan said.

After taking a survey of her fellow teachers, Alexis plans to lead more training sessions for the next school year, building off the lessons and skills she learned as a Fulcrum-funded Hernandez Fellow. Her work perfectly demonstrates the far-reaching effects of Fulcrum’s mission, proving that just one person with proper funding and support can make a world of difference in Catholic education.

“I feel like this is a wonderful step for our archdiocese,” Susan said. “We’re really great at inviting in families of all languages. It’s a really big step and Fulcrum supports that. Fulcrum knows that it’s all about instruction, that what we do in the classroom matters. It’s what makes us successful.”

For more information about Fulcrum’s Diversity and Inclusion Program, please contact Susan Ocoma, the Fulcrum programs director, at susan.ocoma@fulcrumfoundation.org or 206.748.7988.