Believing they are “stronger together,” these faith-based schools across the nation have reinvented the NativityMiguel organization so that they may thrive in education of America’s urban, poor children as a mission-aligned force.
For more than 40 years, NativityMiguel schools have made a unique impact in communities across the country by providing a quality, faith-based education for students from low-income families. Then, in spring 2012, the NativityMiguel Network, an organization founded to support the needs of schools, suddenly dissolved, leaving the schools without a meaningful, formal association with other mission-aligned schools and like-minded leaders. Barely skipping a beat, the schools themselves picked up the cause and re-formed the organization with a new name, NativityMiguel Coalition, and a new structure driven by the member schools.
“We maintain the same mission and hold each other accountable to the same Core Beliefs [see below] that lead to strong educational outcomes,” says Terry Shields, the Coalition’s former Director and the organization’s former Vice President for Mission and Programming. “These independent, faith-based schools face similar challenges and thrive on the ideas, expertise and best-practice-sharing that comes with being part of a larger group.”
The current 49 Coalition member schools are educating over 3289 students and supporting 7,231 graduates. Based on 2017-18 data, 73% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, 42% are African-American and 48% are Hispanic. The schools are located in 16 states, the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces.
“Nothing is more important to the future of our Church and our nation than ensuring every child has access to a high-quality education. It is their birthright and our responsibility,” says Tim Scully, C.S.C., Hackett Family Director, Institute for Educational Initiatives, and Co-founder of the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. “The work of the NativityMiguel Coalition is an example of the innovative and mission-driven commitment needed to create a better future for the hundreds of thousands of students in this country who face socio-economic hardship, and for the parents who struggle to secure equal opportunity for their children to attend great schools. The Coalition’s work is a matter of justice. It must be expanded, and wherever possible, replicated.”
David Card, President of Escuela de Guadalupe in Denver, CO, chaired the steering committee to re-launch the Coalition. “This Coalition is critical to private, independent, faith-based schools that are trying to blaze a trail in their area,” he says. “We believe we are stronger together and our association has always provided value to us. The Coalition offers an alternative model for traditional parochial schools that have struggled to remain viable today, particularly in urban settings.”