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  Issue #254
  September 19, 2014
Mission Statement
Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin is a Catholic,
co-educational, college preparatory school sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame.
Like Mary, who gave Christ to the world, NDCL educates leaders who transform the world, as Jesus did, by living the truth in love.
Core Values
NDCL earns straight-A report card
While the Ohio Department of Education does not issue its highly publicized school report cards for nonpublic schools, applying the state's criteria to our students' performance shows that NDCL has earned another straight-A evaluation.
The state's current evaluation system for high schools focuses on three distinct but related measures of student performance: Achievement, Gap Closing, and Graduation Rate.
NDCL's Performance Index:
out of 120
This grade measures how well students performed on the state's mandated tests for high school students (Ohio Graduation Tests).

Gap Closing
This grade measures reading and math performance as well as the graduation rate for all subgroups in a school.
Graduation Rate
This grade measures the percentage of freshmen who graduate in four years.

Of these three measures, the achievement data provide the most valuable information on our students' performance, according to Principal Mr. Joseph A. Waler.
"Our performance index rating stands at 109.5 out of a possible score of 120, which qualifies us for the state's 'A' grade," he explained.
The performance index is an overall calculation of the Class of 2016's achievement on the OGT last March. The state identifies five performance levels on the OGT: advanced, accelerated, proficient, basic, and limited.
Digging a little deeper into our data reveals some impressive findings, Mr. Waler noted.
In reading, 84% of NDCL students scored at the advanced or accelerated levels, compared to 51% of students statewide.
In writing, 81% of NDCL students achieved advanced or accelerated ratings, compared to 44% of students throughout the state.
Math scores show 81% of NDCL students scoring at the advanced or accelerated levels, contrasted to 63% statewide. 
NDCL's science scores were similarly high, with 72% of students reaching the advanced or accelerated levels in science, compared to 51% across Ohio.
In social studies, 67% of NDCL students achieved at the top two levels, while 56% of students statewide earned this distinction.   

First blended learning day on Friday to focus
students, faculty on new Blackboard system
As previously announced on the school calendar, Friday, September 26, will be NDCL's debut blended learning day as students use our new Blackboard learning management system for the first time to access sophisticated digital lessons from home or anywhere they have an Internet connection.
Blackboard is a powerful digital toolkit that enhances learning by delivering media-rich content, facilitating monitored collaboration and communication, and providing speedy, focused feedback to students. NDCL teachers will use Blackboard to create units, lessons, and assessments that complement or extend the learning that occurs in their classrooms. 
"Blackboard engages students in the way they prefer to be engaged—and that's digitally. They'll be able to access media, practice their skills, connect through posts and web conferencing, and take online quizzes or exams to measure their learning. It's really quite amazing and worth every dollar we've invested in the system," explained Principal Mr. Joseph A. Waler.
Using Blackboard also gives NDCL students a leg up as they prepare for college, where online learning is expanding exponentially. That's one of the reasons NDCL adopted Blackboard, which is the learning management system of choice at thousands of college and universities worldwide, including most schools our graduates attend.
Students will not report to school on Friday, but the building will be open as usual, with teachers participating in professional learning activities. Students who wish to use school computers on Friday to complete their blended learning lessons are most welcome to do so.
“I hope everyone remembers we’re experimenting with blended learning,
not life-or-death surgery!”

To ease students into the new system, Friday's blended learning lessons will involve only three departments: English, Social Studies, and Visual Art. Teachers in these departments will preview their online lessons with students this week. Other department will participate in blended learning days later in the year.
As exciting as this learning innovation promises to be, Mr. Waler encourages everyone to be realistic and patient in the initial roll-out.
"I fully expect that we'll experience some growing pains as our students and teachers work with Blackboard for the first time," he commented. "I'm very confident about the system's capability and reliability, but with nearly 800 individual users, it's just natural that there will be software and hardware questions, not to mention the inevitable user errors," he said with a smile.  
While most students should have no difficulty with the user-friendly Blackboard system, Assistant Principal Mrs. Denice Teeples offers this advice if you run into problems:
  • Be sure you know your network user ID and password before you leave campus on Thursday. You will need these credentials to log on to the Blackboard system.
  • Use Firefox to access Blackboard. It's the most reliable browser for the system.
  • Here's the URL for the Blackboard system: ndcl.blackboard.com

  • Plan to access your Blackboard lessons on Friday morning or early afternoon. If you run into any problems, call 440.286.6226 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. We'll have teachers and administrators available to troubleshoot and document your problems.
  • If you have trouble with one computer, try another computer if available.You should also try accessing Blackboard on your smartphone or tablet if you have one. Computers at your local library are another option, as are the computers at school. The school building will be open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 on Friday.
  • If you have any trouble submitting your work, don't stress out! As a last resort, you can always email your work to your teachers or print it out and hand it in on Monday, September 29. Just be sure you let us know about your problem by calling on Friday.
"I hope everyone remembers we're experimenting with blended learning, not life-or-death surgery!" Mr. Waler joked. "I can't imagine a problem that we won't be able to work out as we get better and better with this 21st century means of teaching and learning."

Didovic earns News-Herald
Player of the Week honor
Senior Andreja Didovic's superb tennis playing (2-0 in first singles and 1-0 in first doubles) qualified her as a News-Herald Player of the Week. Read more about Andreja in the paper's online edition

NDCL to celebrate freshmen on Thursday
We will celebrate and share our mission, vision and core values with the 173 members of our Class of 2018 and their families during the Freshman Induction on Thursday, September 25, at 7:30 p.m.
This important event for freshman and their families will occur in the  chapel of the Notre Dame Education Center, just "up the hill" from NDCL. All freshmen are expected to attend and to wear the school's dress uniform. Students should report to the auditorium of the Notre Dame Education Center by 7:00 p.m. Light refreshments will follow. 

CWRU admissions officer helps teachers
write standout recommendation letters
Rae Ann DiBaggio, senior associate admissions director at Case Western Reserve University, recently met with the entire NDCL faculty to share her tips for writing compelling recommendation letters to help our students stand out in the college admission and scholarship selection process. Ms. DiBaggio has 20 years of experience in CWRU's Office of Admissions. 

Bethany Retreat Center offers wide variety
of spiritual programs right on our campus
Our Sisters of Notre Dame have announced the 2014-2015 schedule of retreats and other spiritual programs at Bethany Retreat Center, located just across the road from NDCL. Offerings, which are open to the public, range from a "Quiet Day of Prayer" to discussion of Saint John of the Cross's The Romances. 
Complete program descriptions and registration details are available online.

Win the $10,000 grand prize
The end is growing near . . .
to sell scholarship raffle tickets!
Monday, September 22, starts the third week of the 2014 Scholarship Raffle Ticket Drive. We're asking each student to sell at least 20 tickets. All proceed benefit our tuition assistance fund, which this year helps 43% of our families defray the cost of attending NDCL.
The grand prize is $10,000 awarded to the buyer of the winning ticket, and $2,500 is awarded to the seller of the winning ticket. The second prize is $2,500, and the seller of that ticket wins $1,000. The top ticket seller in each grade level wins $500! Make sure to turn in all sold tickets by each Tuesday to be entered to win gift cards on Turn-It-In-Tuesdays.

Having trouble selling your tickets? Try some of these great selling strategies:

  • Email the link to the online ticket order form to your friends and relatives: https://www.ndcl.org/donations/ScholarshipRaffleForm.aspx
  • Retweet Scholarship Raffle Ticket tweets from @NDCLLIONS
  • Sign up to sell tickets at athletic events. You can find the sign-up list in the school office.

Questions? Contact business and technology teacher Mrs. Nancy Vondrak or technology teacher Mrs. Vicki Eby.

Counselors complete initial one-on-one conversations with all freshmen
Our counselors have met with each ninth grade student to say hello, offer support, and have a preliminary discussion about goals and interests. The counselors are very impressed with the range of talent in the freshman class, as well as the positive comments they have shared about their NDCL experience.

Parents should always feel free to call, email, or meet with our counselors if they have any questions or concerns about their children.

Wrestling team sponsors takedown clinics
With wrestling season just around the corner, the Lion wrestling team is looking for athletes of all skill levels, from first time wrestlers to experienced wrestlers. The team is kicking off the 2014-2015 season by partnering with Wrestling Factory of Cleveland for a series of preseason Saturday afternoon takedown clinics.
Wrestling Factor founder and All-American Mike Kulszicki will conduct the clinic. Coach Kulszicki served as an assistant wrestling coach at the University of Michigan and Saint Edward High School.
These takedown clinics are free for any NDCL athlete. Click here for more information or contact Athletic Director Frank Platzar at 440.279.1052. 

Universities visiting campus this week
Here's this week's schedule of college visits to our campus:
Tuesday, 9/23:
Wednesday, 9/24:
Thursday, 9/25: 

Moms in Prayer welcomes new members
Moms in Prayer, formally known as Moms in Touch, will meet in the NDCL chapel on the second and fourth Mondays of each month to pray for children and schools worldwide in Christ's name
For more information, please contact Mrs. Aileen Schneeberger at 440-974-6007. You may also visit the Moms in Prayer International website to learn more about the group.