NCEA Rise Resources

NCEA offers an ever-growing list of multimedia resources that will help you grow what you've measured in your classroom.  This list of books, podcasts, and webinars are just a few of the ways NCEA wants to support you in your mission of Catholic education. 

NCEA Rise Resources - Books

Living Our Faith Today: Catholic Identity Assessment Process

Author: Christopher J. McAtee, D Min. Edited by Regina Haney, EdD
Published April 1, 2011
The author developed this Catholic identity assessment and planning instrument based on seventeen characteristics and traits of Catholic life, which have emerged during a twenty-year experience as a Catholic educator. These characteristics and traits are rooted in sacred Scripture, Catholic tradition, church teachings, and ministerial planning and leadership.

What Do Our Children Know About Their Faith?

Author: John J. Convey, PhD
Published January 1, 2010

A well respected researcher, Dr. Convey makes the national Assessment of Children/Youth Religious Education (ACRE) data accessible. Read about predictors for faith formation, Mass attendance, and relationships with Jesus. Discover how colleagues in dioceses, schools, and parishes produce exemplary results. Use the book with Catholic school faculty and volunteer catechist in-services.

Faith for Our Children: A Practical Guide

Author: Michael Amodei
Published January 1, 2007
Based on catechesis called for in the National Directory for Catechesis, the author, a seasoned catechist and parent, shares stories and examples for implementing effective catechesis with children. Catholic school principals, religion teachers, parish catechetical leaders, volunteer catechists and the parents they serve will appreciate this book as an engaging and practical resource. Faith for our Children: A Practical Guide offers point-by-point catechetical guidance in specific content areas, such as sacramental preparation and moral catechesis. Reprintable games and activities make this book not only a perfect catechetical/religion classroom resource, but also a suitable gift for teachers, catechists and parent volunteers.

Questions of Faith: A Workbook Companion

Author: Michael Amodei
Published April 1, 2013
This publication is a workbook designed to assist anyone wanting to learn more about Catholicism. Organized in the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Creed, Liturgy, and Sacraments, Morality and Prayer), it contains 160 objective questions referenced in the Catechism. Personal thought questions are also included to help make connections between what has been taught about faith in the Church's tradition and a person's own life.

Cultivating Faith: A Guide to Building Catholic High School

Author: Dan Masterton and Cari White
Published April 2, 2020
Campus Ministry. Tips for Catholic High School Campus Ministry to Grow and Thrive. Campus Ministry sustains and animates the faith life of high school students in a way that dynamically and substantially complements the formation they receive in theology class, in their parish life and their family life. Drawing on the experience and sharing of campus ministers across the country, the authors have put together this survival guide -- a framework of approaches and tips to aid your own survival as campus ministers. Use this book when you need fresh ideas or a simple starting point. Each chapter is full of practical tips on the many different facets of Campus Ministry.

NCEA Rise Resources - Podcasts

Building a Caring Classroom Community

Presenter: Leticia Kawamura
Join us in the Diocese of Sacramento where NCEA's Laura MacDonald sits down with classroom teacher Leticia Kawamura of Our Lady of Grace School to discuss strategies for building a caring classroom community.

Leading with Eyes Toward Equity

Presenter: Dr. Brandi Odom Lucas
Dr. Brandi Odom Lucas shares her perspective on leading with equity in mind with a broad look at what it means to be inclusive. As the leader of a Cristo Rey school, Dr. Odom Lucas sees the benefits of providing opportunities and supporting all learners from all backgrounds in the students that graduate from her high school. Dr. Odom Lucas is a leading voice for equity in the Catholic school space with an important role and message for Catholic leaders.

The Ripple Effect

Presenter: Mary Desmarais
In this week’s podcast, Teacher and Inclusion Consultant Mary Desmarais talks about her experiences as a Catholic school student and how they formed her personally and professionally. As a high school student, Mary became involved in her Catholic high school’s peer mentorship program. There she grew in her understanding and care of persons with intellectual disabilities, which has now become her life’s work as an educator. Enjoy Mary’s inspiring story of mission and love in this week’s NCEA podcast. This episode is sponsored by Blackbaud.

Creating Places of Belonging

Presenter: Dr. Michael Boyle
In this episode, Dr. Michael Boyle and Crystal Brooks discuss the challenges, successes, and realities of inclusion in Catholic schools. Though a clear aspect of the mission of the Catholic Church is to be inclusive and educate all children whose families wish them to be educated in Catholic schools, the majority of schools still struggle in this area. Crystal and Mike discuss solutions and areas for growth in Catholic schools in an effort to achieve fullness of mission.

Leadership, Inclusion & Lenten Reflection

Presenter: Bishop Burbidge
Bishop Burbidge discusses how his own Catholic education influenced his experiences as a parish priest, teacher, and bishop in this week’s podcast. He shares why his role as member of the board for the National Catholic Partnership on Disability is so important to him and how the educational ministry for all students in the Diocese of Arlington makes him proud. Finally, he provides insights for reflection during Holy Week. Listen, reflect and be inspired on this week’s NCEA Podcast, sponsored by Petrus Development.

Searching for God: Faith Formation and Evangelization in Catholic Schools

Presenter: Bishop O'Connell
Most Reverend Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, joins Kathy Mears on the podcast this week to discuss faith formation and evangelization in Catholic schools. Bishop O'Connell focuses on the reality that everyone is searching for God and our ministry is a response to that longing of the human heart.


Inclusion in Catholic Schools

Presenter: Doreen Engel
Chief Program Officer Kathy Mears chats with Professor Doreen Engel about inclusion and Catholic schools. Learn about the long history of special education in Catholic schools and see the direction that it's heading. Engel is the author of "Be Open: A Guide to Prayerful Reflection on Inclusion in Catholic Schools," which can be purchased at

NCEA Rise Resources - Webinar

Embracing Diversity, Equity and Belonging - A Collaborative Approach for Catholic Schools

Presenter: Dr. Alice Prince, Anna Davis, and Jacob Reft
Learn how the leaders of eight Catholic schools in the North County Deanery of the Archdiocese of St. Louis ensure that the excellence they provide is available to all students and that misunderstandings of culture and socioeconomic status do not prevent students from achieving their best. Intentional planning with a consultant helps each school maintain a strong Catholic identity while serving a student population that's increasingly diverse in culture, race, socio-economics, and religion.

The Absence of Asterisks: Inclusion and Belonging for Children with Developmental Disabilities

Presenter: Erik Carter, Ph.D.
We are called to be communities without asterisks. Yet too many Christian schools still struggle to welcome and weave students with disabilities into their schools. In this presentation and discussion, I will share a powerful and practical framework for reflecting upon and fostering belonging within and beyond the classroom. This session has implications for the ways we support students with disabilities and on the ways we spur our own schools to be more inclusive and welcoming.

Moving from Inclusion to Belonging: Accompanying Students with Disabilities in Catholic Schools

Presenter: Michael Boyle, Ph.D.
How can we learn to see people with disabilities if they are not part of our communities, hidden away from our view? By excluding certain groups of people from our Catholic schools is there an inadvertent message that these people don’t exist or are not valued. Or, if there are students with disabilities in our schools, do we see them? Are they visible and viable members of our school communities? Drawing on experiences in Catholic schools, Dr. Michael Boyle will offer a framework for understanding the barriers that students with disabilities experience that prevent a sense of belonging and identify potential first steps for schools. NSBECS Standard 1.

Defining Inclusionary Practices In Catholic Schools

Presenters: Sean J. Smith, Ph.D.; Gregory Cheatham, Ph.D.; Jennifer Amilivia, Ph.D.
This session provides Catholic school educators, families, and parishes with an understanding of the critical elements required to effectively include all students, particularly those with disabilities, in Catholic schools. We offer a rationale for the need to include all learners in our Catholic schools through the reinforcement of Catechetical teachings; define inclusion in Catholic education; outline characteristics of high quality, inclusive schools through reviewing relevant research and providing examples of an inclusive Catholic school environment relevant to current needs.


Evidence-based Practices to Promote Inclusion in Today’s Catholic School

Presenter: Sean J. Smith, Ph.D.; Gregory Cheatham, Ph.D.; Maggie Mosher M.S.S.L.
Educational reforms and corresponding effective practices have evolved to correspond with the growing expectations that all students should participate in the general education experience. Applying evidence-based practices (EBPs) provides Catholic educators with the needed strategies to ensure successful inclusion of students with disabilities. This session defines EBPs and offers explanation/examples to facilitate successful inclusion in our unique Catholic environment, specifically relevant to current needs.

School Unity: The Importance of Diversity & Inclusion in Catholic Education

Presenter: Tiffany Norris
The goal of this session will be to encourage discussion. Although it may not be “comfortable” conversations, attendees will leave having a better understanding of how they connect with their school community on a broader level.

Inclusion in Catholic Schools: An Overview of the JoCE Special Issue - On Demand

Catholic schools are called to include learners with diverse needs and those with disabilities, yet seek the knowledge and skills to implement meaningful inclusion. This session overviews the Journal of Catholic Education’s special issue dedicated to inclusion and grounded in relevant theological, moral, and practical considerations for educators. Seven articles will be introduced, focusing on Why we include; What is inclusion; and How we include in Catholic schools. We provide a foundation for subsequent sessions reviewing these articles that pave the way to successful inclusion.

Sowing Seeds of Faith

Presenter: Blythe Kaufman, DMD MS
Looking for a way to deepen the Catholic identity of your students? Join Dr. Blythe Kaufman, who has helped to support the prayer lives of children throughout the world, in a session that outlines how a 33 day prayer journey can sow deep seeds of faith in children for a lifetime. Join other dioceses and schools that have implemented this program with beautiful results. 'Sowing Seeds of Faith' is a session you do not want to miss!        

Seasons of Faith: Liturgical Year Activities for the Early Childhood Classroom

Presenter: Joseph D. White, Ph.D.

Sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor. Highlighting the various celebrations of the Liturgical Year is a great way to connect religious education at school with the Sunday Mass and the universal Church. Join us on a guided tour of the Liturgical Year, with ways to engage young children in every season.

Strategies for Faith Formation in Early Childhood: Nurturing Faith in Developmentally Appropriate Ways

Presenter: Kathryn Bojczyk
Through faith formation, young children (ages 3-5) develop in their awareness of God and gain the foundation for a loving, personal relationship with God. Research suggests that play is the work of young children. However, religious education in early childhood is more than "fun and games." Therefore, it is essential for teachers to engage children in developmentally appropriate ways to nurture faith. This session will entail identifying strategies for promoting learning in early childhood.

Growing in the Fullness of the Faith: Involving the Whole Person Through the Lens of Theology of the Body

Presenter: Michael Grasinski
Sponsored by Ruah Woods
We need to avoid taking too much of a speculative approach to Catholic religious instruction. Gerard O’Shea claims that this just “inoculates” our students against the faith. Instead, students first need to encounter what is real and concrete. This calls for involving the heart and awakening wonder. St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body teachings provide a whole vision of the faith that includes the heart and paves the way to experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ."

Taking Faith Formation to a Blended or Virtual Catholic Classrooms

Presenter: Paul Sanfrancesco
Sponsored by William H. Sadlier, Inc. Schools have the opportunity to evangelize not only students, but also their parents and families through a blended or virtual classroom. In this different classroom environment, prayer, worship, message and community become as purposeful for the family as they are for students in a brick-and-mortar building. In this session, discover ways to translate brick-and-mortar faith formation experiences to blended or virtual ones for the entire family. Topics discussed are daily prayer, school wide prayer, prayer services, the rosary, Nativity plays, Stations of the Cross, Mass/Worship and special liturgical devotions, message instruction, field trips to religious shrines/places, and community-service opportunities for the family.  d

Faith Formation and Character Development in the PE Classroom

Presenters: Peter Piscitello, M.Ed. and Kristin Sheehan, M.Theo.
This session supports Catholic schools in integrating faith formation and character development in the physical education classroom, offering professional development and curriculum ideas for elementary teachers and their administrators. Drawing on Catholic tradition and best practices for developing physical literacy, the presentation will incorporate research and strategies designed to facilitate each child's physical, mental, social, and emotional development while emphasizing spiritual growth.     

Heroism in Superhero Movies: What these Stories tell us about Life and Faith

Presenter: Sr. Nancy Usselmann, FSP
Everybody loves superhero stories and Hollywood loves to deliver. What do these movies say about the human need for communion, redemption, hope, and the universal struggle between good and evil? Yet what are the benefits and limits of the culture’s “mysticism of heroism?” Delving into the theology of heroism and using the media mindfulness methodology, we will bring these pop culture artifacts into conversation with our faith experience while offering the saints as our spiritual superheroes.