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September 23, 2008


Unique In-Service Program Highlights Innovation in Curriculum, Social Networking and Neurobiological Learning Patterns

PHILADELPHIA (September 23, 2008) - 1000 high school teachers from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's twenty Catholic high schools will gather at Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, Chester County, at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, September 24 to participate in a day-long in-service program entitled "Understanding and Educating the 21st Century Learner." Speakers and workshops will address numerous topics associated with the unique qualities of today's student, including neurobiological differences in learning patterns, the growing influence of social networking and technology on young people, and the standardization of curriculum, instruction and assessment in Archdiocesan classrooms.

Two nationally recognized education experts are scheduled to present on groundbreaking trends and scientific guidelines for improving the learning process of modern students. Jim Warford, Executive Director of the Florida Association of School Administrators and a member of the International Center for Learning and Education, will deliver a keynote address entitled "Bringing Rigor and Relevance Framework to Reality in Our Classrooms." The Rigor and Relevance Framework was developed by the International Center for Learning and Education to provide a means of designing effective curriculum, measuring individual learners' progress and ultimately delivering a more meaningful educational experience to the student.

Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neurologist and adjunct associate professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine and also a member of the International Center for Learning and Education will present on how best to work with individual students based on the mental learning processes inherent to that child. Additionally, attendees will hear from Dr. Nussbaum on the importance of ongoing brain health for adults and various methods of maintaining sharp reasoning, memory and communication skills throughout life.

Afternoon workshops will highlight best practices among the Archdiocesan high schools for connecting with 21st century learners, including blogs and other social networking content tools like "wikis", and digital video production. Dr. Ellen M.E. Wedemeyer, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education, will present to the group on how best to reach the struggling learner with advanced technology methods.

"Students today are dramatically different than they were thirty years ago. Even the last three years have brought about changes in technology and communication that create new opportunities for educators," said Nancy Caramanico, Director of Technology K-12 for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Office of Catholic Education. "Even email is too slow for today's young people. They can easily multi-task, they place a high value on interactive learning, and they are better equipped than any previous generation to learn independently. Web-based learning tools are teaching them to collaborate with their peers in new ways."

"It's an exciting time for educators everywhere," Carol Cary, Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction for the Office of Catholic Education. "The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is committed to keeping up with and even anticipating these trends for the 80,000 students we serve in our schools."

For more information about the 182 parish and regional elementary schools, 20 high schools and five schools of special education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, visit

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The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, celebrating its Bicentennial in 2008, has 270 parishes serving almost 1.5 million Catholics. Currently there are 182 parish and regional elementary schools, 20 high schools and five schools of special education in the Archdiocese, located throughout Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

Meredith Wilson
Communications Specialist

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