Latest Updates

*** Secretary Grant Application Now Open ***

Posted: October 4, 2022

The Office of Catholic Elementary (OCE) is proud to provide the Secretary Grant as a resource to support our elementary school teachers who have children that attend an Archdiocesan elementary school. Please note the list below for guidelines and qualifications:

  • One parent/guardian must be employed full-time as an Archdiocesan elementary and/or early childhood school teacher at the time of submission of the application and continue to be employed in the 2023-2024 school year.
  • The parent/guardian must have been employed as a teacher in the 2022-2023 school year.  New hires employed after this school year will need to wait for the following registration year to apply.
  • The child/children must attend an Archdiocesan elementary (not early childhood) school in the 2023-2024 school year.
  • The grant is applied toward elementary school tuition and is given to the school where the child is a student.
  • The grant  is based on the number of applicants and the calculated need of each applicant, so award amounts may vary.
  • In the Spring of 2023, the principal will receive a letter confirming each family and grant amount that will be issued to the school that the student(s) attend.
  • The application process is a two-part process, as follows:
    1. Completion of the Secretary Grant Application. (This will determine the eligibility of the applicant.)
    2. Completion of the FACTS Application. (This will determine the amount of the scholarship.)

Please retain a copy of your confirmation for each application filed, as proof of registration that will be required in the event that we have no proof of registration.

The deadline for submitting the application January 31, 2023. No applications will be accepted after this point. OCE is working to streamline the Secretary Grant process, as we understand that it has been confusing in the past. As we move forward, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Catherine Jennings.

The Citizenship Challenge

Posted: September 26, 2022

Link to Enter the Challenge:  Citizenship Challenge

Parish Missionary Disciples Opportunity

Posted: September 14, 2022


Handwriting is Still Important

Posted: September 2, 2022

Handwriting instruction is still essential at every level from pre-K through grade 8. It has never been eliminated from the Archdiocesan curriculum.   Formal instruction using manuscript letters should begin at the PK level.  Instruction in cursive writing should begin mid-year in the second grade with continued instruction and practice throughout the grades.  The following points should be considered:

  • The use of larger pencils and crayons at the primary levels is not recommended by handwriting experts. Students at this level should be using pencils more appropriate to the size of their hands.
  • At all levels it is important to instruct students how to correctly hold a pencil.
  • Teachers should model good handwriting.
  • Students admitted from schools where cursive writing was not taught should be given extra attention in this area until they develop the skill.
  • Every class in grades 5-8 should have at least 10 minutes a day to practice handwriting skills.
  • Manuscript writing should not be permitted beyond Grade 3. Research indicates that using it slows the learning process.

12 Reasons Why Handwriting Is Important

  1. The brain engages differently when we write something by hand as opposed to typing it on a keyboard or by touching a screen. Studies show that writing improves memory; students retain learning better when working with new ideas through handwriting instead of typing.
  2. Engaging the body in writing by hand helps make writing a more holistic activity. There is something uniquely physical and multidimensional about putting pen to paper to form words and sentences.
  3. Learning the alphabet by interacting with each letter in many different physical ways helps students imprint and retain the letters and the letter sounds for easier recall when learning to read. Learning letters on a screen engages at most two physical channels: the eyes and the fingertips. It is not possible to tell one letter from another by the shape of the keys. Learning letters through writing them involves numerous tactile experiences, engaging the fine-motor muscles of the fingers and hand, and larger muscles of the arm and body, as well as the eyes.
  4. Many writers attest to the value of a handwritten first draft and the subsequent process of reading through and interacting with their writing by annotating, correcting, editing, and reshaping it as a whole. Typing on a screen tempts us instead to edit as we go, fragmenting and dissecting, and potentially interfering with the organic flow of ideas.
  5. Even in this digital age, many accomplished people consider it critical to their success to keep a small notebook and pen handy so that they can jot down ideas in the moment and refer back to them later.
  6. Many historical documents were written by hand and are now indecipherable to any who are unable to read cursive. The ability to read handwriting is gained through learning to write in one’s own handwriting. Being able to decipher both cursive and print is an important part of language literacy.
  7. Handwriting can help us slow down and fully engage with our thoughts. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I type as fast as I think”? This is certainly an asset when transcribing the spoken word, but thoughts need to breathe (as do writers), and writing by hand conveniently holds such a space for thoughts to fully form before being set down in sentences.
  8. With a pen in hand, there are instantly accessible creative and artistic opportunities that are not possible to weave into the experience of typing on a keyboard.
  9. Handwriting is unique to each individual writer, unlike typeface. One’s handwriting style, and especially one’s signature, is a public and permanent statement. Learning to write well can help make that statement strong, beautiful, and – perhaps most importantly – legible.
  10. Handwritten notes to friends and loved ones are intimate and personal in a way that email and typewritten text cannot fully convey. Nothing but handwriting can fully represent the mood and personality of the writer. A handwritten love note is a creative gift to cherish!
  11. Proficient writing has a soothing flow and rhythm. While technology and culture is goading us to work faster and more intensely, tasks such as writing can help us find healthy balance in our work, our learning, and our play.
  12. Being able to write effortlessly enables the mind to focus more fully on a topic. Struggling with handwriting takes valuable brain energy away from any writing task, but when that skill is mastered, it makes all the difference. Skilled, fluid handwriting is an asset to learning!

Sources and resources

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades, by Maria Konnikova (New York Times, June 2, 2014).
The Importance of Teaching Handwriting, by Louise Spear-Swerling.
Why is Handwriting Still Important in the Digital Age? (Pen Heaven).
Behind Every Successful Person is a Notebook Full of Ideas (Pen Heaven).
How Handwriting Trains the Brain: Forming Letters Is Key to Learning, Memory, Ideas by Gwendolyn Bounds. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 5, 2010).
The Importance of Handwriting Instruction: Handwriting instruction is crucial for a child’s education, by J. Richard Gentry Ph.D. (Psychology Today, January 09, 2014.)
Master penman Jake Weidmann

M. A. in Educational Leadership

Posted: August 28, 2022

Click Here for the Virtual Information Session.

Request Program Information Here.


Back to School: Free Printable Classroom Resources from Edmentum

Posted: August 18, 2022

Luckily, Edmentum has just what you need to start off the school year right. We’ve gathered up our favorite printables that are perfect for getting your classroom organized and ready, along with teaching and classroom resource packs with everything you need for a perfect first day back no matter what your classroom looks like, including fact sheets, activities, and name tags!

Back-to-School Topical Resource Pack

Inside this pack, you’ll find fun first-day-of-school activities; back-to-school-themed fact sheets; and creative critical thinking discussions that are perfect for engaging your new students. Use these activities to get everyone excited and focused on the new school year and to fight back any first-day nerves your students might have by engaging everyone in a lively class discussion. You’ll also find full-color posters, sticker templates, and printable name tags to make learning your student’s names easier. And, to help everyone get to know each other, have your students fill out their own About Me profile, and share with the class!

Teacher Classroom Resources Pack

Our updated Teacher Resource Pack features 90 pages of downloadable math, ELA, and science materials for kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms. These cross-curricular resources were designed by educators to support teaching and learning in your classroom. These versatile materials include conversion sheets, graphic organizers, flashcards, diagrams, and more! Project them on your whiteboard, print and add them to students’ interactive notebooks, or laminate them for use as reference sheets.

About Me Letters

Understanding your students, where they come from and what they like and vice versa is an integral part of gaining their trust for the whole year. We have put together templates for you to share with your students at the beginning of the year so you can really get to know each other!

This 30-Day Back to School Challenge flyer includes creative ideas designed to keep students engaged in their learning after summer break. With 30 days’ worth of fun activities, facts, and resources, learners are bound to learn something new each day and make the most out of returning to school.

Classroom Organization Resources

Celebrate Success

Have Fun!

Back-to-school time always comes with a bit of stress, and this year is no different. When things start to feel a little hectic, and you start to feel like you and your students just need a little break, try out one of these fun activities.

  • The Edmentum Brain Game is a fun, descriptive game that puts an interactive twist on flashcard review by challenging players to describe terms with a partner or group. There are multiple ways to play the game, so your imagination is the limit! Plus, the cards are easy to download and print, so your students can play wherever they are. Check out all the different decks we’ve assembled for K-12.
  • NEW! Edmentum Printable Bookmarks: We wanted to create a fun and meaningful way to help you encourage your students to stay on top of their literacy gains. These exciting new bookmarks come in three different tracking styles, designed to suit a variety of reading levels. Find which one works best for you and your students!

K-12 Worksheet Bundles

These bundles include K-12 math, language arts, science, reading and literacy activities from a variety of our online programs. We’ve also put together grade-specific FREE printable Spanish worksheet bundles for kindergarten through eighth grade students. These bundles include math, language arts, reading and literacy activities from Edmentum’s Study Island.

K-12 Lesson Plan Bundles

To help support your teaching needs, we’ve compiled a variety of lesson plans focused around English language arts and mathematics. Each lesson also includes additional supplemental resources.

Educator Back-to-School Discounts 2022

Posted: August 17, 2022

Did you know that according to a survey conducted by, teachers spent an average of $750 out of pocket on school supplies during the 2020–21 school year, and 30% of teachers spent $1,000 or more? Educators know that back-to-school shopping can get expensive, so to help ease the financial burden, we’ve tracked down some great deals for teachers.

If you’re looking for the ultimate shortcut to great teacher savings, check out, where you can verify that you are an educator once and unlock some major teacher discounts.

When you’re looking to replenish those essential classroom supplies

  • Office Depot and OfficeMax: Join the Office Depot OfficeMax Rewards program, and you’ll receive a teacher-exclusive coupon to earn 20% back in rewards on qualifying purchases, such as essentials for your classroom, through September 24, 2022. There are also weekly coupons available in-store and online!
  • offers teachers, administrators, and other school officials 10% off on all orders. Sign up for a account, then apply for the Educator Discount program, and start assembling your mass supply of tools.
  • JoAnn: Enroll in JoAnn’s Teacher Rewards program, and save 15% on every purchase!

When you’re building the classroom library of your dreams:

  • Barnes & NobleThe free B&N Educators program offers a 20% year-round discount on books, toys, and games for the classroom and first access to helpful educational resources, valuable email offers, and information on exclusive Educator events. During special “Educator Appreciation Days,” educators can take 25% off of almost everything.
  • First Book Marketplace: If you are an educator at a Title I eligible school (or at least 70% of the children in your program are eligible for free or reduced lunch), see if you qualify to register. Members receive brand-new, high-quality books and resources for free and at low cost. Also, hundreds of Book Bank books and educational resources are donated by publishers and available for only the cost of shipping and handling If you are working to distribute resources to children in need through an emergency program for COVID-19 or natural disaster response, you may be eligible to sign up for a temporary membership.
  • Half Price Books: Sign up for Half Price Book’s Educator Discount Card to save 10% on your purchases all year long. Half Price Books also has a donation program for educators, with donated books and media that focus on literacy, the environment, or education. Requests must be sent via email and picked up in person at qualifying stores.
  • Scholastic: The Scholastic Book Clubs program offers special discounts on classroom sets of books and provides a points system for your students to buy books and give you rewards points to redeem for free books and resources! It also features monthly rewards with bonus store cash and back-to-school specials.

When you’re bringing the power of technology to your students:

  • Adobe: Take over 60% off the full Creative Cloud All Apps plan from Adobe for the first year if you’re eligible for Adobe’s teacher and student discount. Adobe also offers teacher and student discounts for other Creative Cloud for education and program options.
  • Apple: Shop for an eligible Mac computer or iPad tablet with education pricing, get 20% on AppleCare+ support, and receive more offers with special pricing for educators and students.
  • Bose: Save on orders of $199 or more with Bose’s discount program for educators and students.
  • HP: The current back-to-school sale features savings of up to 77%. Shop for deals on laptops, printers, printers, accessories, and more!

When you’re wanting to dress to impress:

ALL of the stores below offer a 15% off teacher discount with a valid school or district ID.

As a bonus, here is another retailer that also offers discounts for teachers.

  • Bonobos: Save 20% off your purchase through verification of your teacher ID.

Looking for more ways to save this school year? Many states offer tax-free weekends that often coincide with back-to-school sales, giving you even more opportunities to save! Take a look at this article to see if your state participates.

Educators know #backtoschool shopping can get expensive, so @edmentum rounded up a few of our favorite back-to-school deals!

#iGive Catholic – Message from Ken Gavin

Posted: August 17, 2022

Dear Friends,

In May, I wrote to share that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will partner with the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia to participate in #iGiveCatholic for the third year in the row.

#iGiveCatholic is nationally recognized as the official Catholic Giving Day. It is celebrated annually on #GivingTuesday, which follows Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This year, #iGiveCatholic will take place on Tuesday, November 29th.

Archbishop Pérez recently released a special video message via the CFGP YouTube Channel. In the video, Archbishop Pérez encouraged all parishes, schools, and non-profit ministries of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to register for participation in #iGiveCatholic.

Please note that this video is for internal use only and may not be shared broadly with others. As it is relevant only to the process of registration for beneficiary entities.

Register for #iGC (English)

Register for #iGC (Spanish)

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s participation in #iGiveCatholic presents an opportunity for Catholics to affirm their faith as disciples of Jesus Christ by sharing their gifts out of love for God and one another. It also gives parishes, schools, and nonprofit ministries the chance to rally support for their individual organizations and make a difference in their community, with the goal of raising as many funds as possible.

Last year, 124 Catholic organizations across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia participated in #iGiveCatholic and raised more than $1.7 million.

Please visit to register. If your ministry is a returning participant, simply search for your organization’s name, and click on it. You can copy over your profile from last year and make any needed edits. If you have questions or are a new participant, please click here for instructions.

N.B. Registration should be completed only by departmental supervisors or administrators or their designees.

Thank you.

Kenneth A. Gavin
Chief Communications Officer
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
215-587-3747 (phone)
215-587-3875 (fax)

Presentation B.V.M. School – Lemonade War

Posted: July 7, 2022

Recently Presentation B.V.M. School 5th graders became business entrepreneurs. They read the book, The Lemonade War, with a goal of starting and running a company. They were assigned jobs: market analysis, executive summary, marketing strategy, accounting, sales and operations and worked in small groups to get their business up and running.

The students learned many tech skills during this assignment, using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.  Mr. Micah Sumner, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was kind enough to come in and teach the 5th grade students about budgets. Like all things in business, there were goals and benchmarks. They wrote a business plan, pitched their proposal to investors and ran an advertising campaign.  Talk about a real world experience! Students highlighted all of their hard work by having a Lemonade Sale. What a success!! They raised $138.00 for Rising Together Alliance.

Job Well Done 5th Grade!!

Archbishop Perez Graduation Letter

Posted: June 7, 2022

Click on the image for the pdf version.


Archbishop Perez Graduation Letter