Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 5. Organizational structures that support the 2020 Vision and the Model school approach.

Today will focus on syntheses.  Participants will organize the work of the week so that they can share it with their coworkers who are unable to come in for the seminar.  They will go over the work of the health committee to see how it will be woven into the school Vision 2020.  The institutional work will be explained: fund raising, grant applications, ongoing training in topics covered during the seminar.  The program concludes with certificates and celebration.  The seminar has been completed and the families of Nsukka Diocese will realize their opportunities in new and creative ways because of the work of all these educators both during the seminar and throughout its implementation in the Catholic Schools of the whole area.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 4 We are the model school. Living the 2020 Vision

Continuing the group work seminar participants work out the steps that are needed to go from the present into the future.  Specifically they talked about the structures that would be necessary to for this transformation.  Then the tasks were put into a time line showing which could be started with this coming school year and which would need to wait until the Model School is built, or until the materials are more available.  They will be asking whether the primary and elementary schools should lead the way so the students can grow into with this visionary education, or whether the secondary schools should lead the way so that they can prepare personnel to move out into the reinvigorated diocesan schools.  After the groups completed their reports the information was organized for all to see.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 3: Understanding a New Vision of Education through the Story of the Universe and our Model School

A few days ago, Fr. Willie Odo told those who follow this blog a turtle story.  It is one of the many turtle stories found among indigenous cultures.  After comparing and contrasting these stories, the seminar participants will hear from Chuck Neuman one of the principals in Schools for the Children of the World.  They have prepared the architectural drawings  for the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka Model School.  This campus has two wings: one for teacher training, the other for students with whom to learn.  This central teaching / learning site will be linked to all the schools of the diocese, enabling all schools to offer the model school experience to their students. No matter how far the school is from Nsukka, local administrators, teachers and students will have the basic tools to  using many different forms of intelligence.  The participants worked toward the outlines necessary changes they will need to their school a model school for their students.   For more information on the model school read the planning guidelines.

Day 2. Understanding a New Vision of Education through Multiple Intelligences.

You wonder what education through Multiple Intelligences is?  Just like the participants in the seminar, you find this answer best by beginning with yourself.  How do you learn?  We are all concerned about the earthquake in Japan.  Would you rather read about it in the newspaper, or listen to reporters talk about it?  Do you like the first person stories coming from the survivors or the videos of the tsumani washing homes away?  Do you have family or friends in Japan whom you can talk to?  Or do you have investments in Japan which will need rebuilding?  Each of us learns differently.  After the participants reflect on their own learning styles, they work in groups to take some of the lessons they teaching, and design the material engaging the Multiple Intelligences of their students.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 1: Engaging th the Power to Transform

This transformation will occur by using the Vision 2020 which was prepared by  Mbido Olu Igu Akwukwo Katolik: Project Genesis Catholic Education  The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Catholic Schools in Partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka that will direct the work of the seminar participants.  You will find this outline in the DREAMS section posted last week.  This cooperative participation of all facets of the school community, in this week-long seminar will bring this vision out into the open, with the help of our Creative God.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bishop Okobo welcomes Chicago Delegation


Saturday, March 12, 2011


Our questions about Direction have us look at the vision the Catholic educational leaders and teachers see for their schools, and how those visions can be realized. We do this together, not alone. As we move through time in the partnership, we will make adjustments to enable the change we seek. We want our outcomes and values to be realized through the educational process. We want to provide our students with a cutting edge education that gives them hope for their futures and for the future of Nigeria.
In the evolving struggle to face the challenges and to create something new together, we see our destiny unfold. What results can we anticipate over time? How can we insure that the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Nsukka will be vibrant educational centers where students can create their future with the tools needed in a complex and diverse society. Times are not easy, but they are always full of potential. We have but to see and to walk one step at a time in the direction that leads to life. This is what our faith tells us to believe.
Cooperrider believes that the Appreciative Inquiry approach is based on a spirituality of hope and life. John writes, “I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Our deepest hopes and dreams come from a center that rests in the presence of God Who is all in all. Even in the most tragic of happenings or most difficult challenges, we can lift ourselves up and keep on going with an inner dignity that stems from the One who sustains us.

Friday, March 11, 2011


This direction phase leads into the final phase of the Appreciative Inquiry process. The faces of the children already overcrowded into classrooms remain at the center of setting these directions. The questions about what’s workable and how we frame the common commitments must be set in what is realistic in the long run. While the formal partnership is only for five years, the hope and logic is that the relationship will last much longer. Key to the success of this joint diocesan effort is the relationships built out of a shared vision of the future and a well-defined partnership that creates meaningful points of convergence and creativity.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Many people are stakeholders in the Catholic Schools of Nsukka Nigeria. Previous teams spoke with these stakeholders and developed this list of dreams for their schools.  One of the present team is working primarily on teacher, principal and parent development through the Seminar they are presenting.  Another present team is working on with the local hospital within Nsukka to create partnerships that support the health of the children in an area where many children do not live long enough to go to school.
  • Catholic identity
  • education in Christian values and moral living
  • commitment of bishop
  • students have a vision for their future
  • students motivated to learn
  • dedicated and strong teachers and principals
  • capacity and desire to solve our problems
  • parents who use the schools support them
  • well organized
  • solid learning programs
  • improve over time
  • competitive
  • students contribute to social transformation in Nigeria

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Traits of Nsukka Catholic Schools found in cities and rural areas.  These care for highly motivated students from nursery through secondary school.  Here are some of their findings.
  • The school is accountable to a diocesan education director and office of administration. The Director of Diocesan Education Commission is Rev. Fr. G. U. Dine and the Secretary Diocesan Education Commission is Mr. Lazarus Oga Ugwu. Both administrators have extensive experience in the Nigerian education system.
  • National standards and testing guide the educational process. Teachers must follow the standards and “teach to the test” in order for students to pass from grade to grade. Learning is by rote with few books, tools and technology to support the learning process. Tests are provided by the state and are administered by teachers to an entire class. There is little or no individually guided education.
  • Although some of the buildings are old (pre-Biafra War), the Catholic schools are relatively “new” because at the close of the war the government took over the schools and education became entirely public in that area of the country. It is only recently, within the last ten years, that Bishop Francis Okobo successfully negotiated with the Nigerian government to resume Catholic education under his authority. Some of the schools we visited are only three years old.
  • Each school has capacity or over capacity enrollment. Whether Catholic or not, parents are enrolling their children out of the perception that Catholic schools do a better job of educating. There is no way that we can prove the validity of this perception in our data.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Appreciative Inquiry - Process for Collaboration

The Appreciative Inquiry Process is an established method for collaborative social change.   Several online sources can help one see how it works, this one consolidates many different resources.  It was chosen for this Nsukka Catholic Schools projects because it recognizes all participants as valuable questioners and helps teachers, school administrators, pastors, bishops, and parents from both churches to find a common ground while improving the educational setting for Catholic Education in Nsukka Nigeria.    A lengthier presentation on Appreciative Learning can be found in this paper.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Meet the Health Initiatives Team

Who will create a plan with Shanahan Hospital to deliver holistic health care to families and children; and complete work of Shanahan Hospital extension?  These team members are Mary Romuald, Chuck Neuman, Kathy Petitti and Norma Thornton.  Norma Thornton will be the team leader as they work with the hospital to care for the children of Nsukka so they can learn.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meet the Educational Seminars Team

Who will develop and deliver educational seminars for 175 to 200 principals and teachers from 47 schools that cover nursery classrooms, primary classrooms, junior and senior secondary classrooms?  The team members are Sr. Barbara Jean Ciszek, CSJ, Stephanie Clausell, Vito De Frisco, Bernadette Felicione, Dr. Carol Fendt, Jeanne Henry, and
Dr. Desmond Odugu.  Carol's focus on educational research makes her a natural team leader.  Seminar participants will touch the lives of students in countless classrooms like these.

Meet the Planning, Research and Management Team

Who will direct planning for new school building site with local contractor and builders; and connect planning to health initiatives?  These team members are Dr. Carol Fendt, Esther Hicks, Chuck Newman,  Dr. Desmond Odugu, Kathy Petitti, and Norma Thornton.  Esther is the team leader, she has been working in institutional development for several decades.  Here, she is pictured with the children who will benefit from team planning through more effective education and health care systems.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2011 Delegation Leaves Chicago This Week!

The Archdiocese of Chicago expresses its commitment to the Diocese of Nsukka in Nigeria Catholic Schools through an annual spring delegation.  During this trip the delegates will work in three teams.  Each team is responsible for goals in their own specific area: education, health care, and planning.  Since the beginning of this project many accomplishments have been noted.
  • The strategic plan for the diocesan schools has been completed, 
  • partnerships have been formed, 
  • blueprints for the central teacher training complex are being improved, and
  • the 2011 delegation brings graduate level teacher training to school teachers and administrators.
Please return often to follow this year's delegation.