ST. FRANCIS — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee in partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) launched an initiative to reinforce the effectiveness of Catholic elementary schools on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Notre Dame’s ACE Consulting team will conduct an 18-month, in-depth assessment of the 26 Milwaukee Catholic elementary schools, as part of the initiative, “Catholic Schools for Milwaukee: Light for the Future.”

Kathleen Cepelka, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, said Notre Dame approached her last summer regarding donors interested in the advancement of urban Catholic education.

“They have been up here exploring the rich possibilities of work here in Milwaukee, because of the choice program, because of the growing Hispanic population and so forth,” she said.

She met with the ACE team and local partners interested in strengthening Catholic education in Milwaukee, including Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE), School Choice Wisconsin, GMCEC, Marquette Center for Catholic School Leadership, Stollenwerk Foundation and the Office for Schools team.

“The whole purpose is to strengthen our schools, to provide help where that can be offered by, especially, these partners who are going to be involved in the implementation of the study, and expand the capacity of these schools to serve more students,” Cepelka said.