As a parent of four children, I am amazed by the emotional energy it takes to give each child what they need in terms of support, encouragement, discipline and care. They are totally different people with different ways of responding to the world. One-size-fits-all does not apply.

Now imagine 25 unique students in one class. A few probably came from homes with two parents with college degrees, a plethora of books and organic food in the fridge. They are eager to learn, hungry for a challenge, and highly motivated by good grades and test scores.

But there are a few in the class who are struggling with the basics. There’s no food for breakfast. There are no books in the house, and sometimes no electricity either. They don’t believe in their worth and don’t see the value in reading Shakespeare or learning geometry.

There are a few who are hiding the shame of a visual processing disorder which makes reading and comprehension next to impossible.

Maybe there is student who struggles with anxiety which prevents him from participating in class because of a crippling fear of judgement or failure.

this is just one class period

The bell rings and those 25 students are replaced by another 25 with different strengths, backgrounds and challenges. This happens 6…7…8 times each day.

It would be much easier if every student came with all of the tools necessary to be successful. It would be much easier if every student came from the same type of family with the same type of educational background and the same advantages.

But this is not our mission. Pius XI Catholic High School faculty meet every student where they are and help them to envision their individual path. Nearly 800 students from 125 different feeder schools, 65 zip codes are all given the tools and support they need, when they need it.

Equality is not enough. Equality is treating every student the same, but that assumes that every student IS the same. Equity is what moves everyone closer to success. Equity gives each child what they need.

Having been a teacher for many years, I know that every student can learn, and that “success” doesn’t look the same for everyone. The difference maker at Pius XI? Teachers, staff and coaches who believe that success is possible for every learner. The proof? Graduates who are the first in their family to go to college and graduates who go on to the most competitive universities in the country. Graduates who join the Marines. Graduates who join the Peace Corps. Graduates who write books and design buildings and produce music or become public servants. 28,000 alumni who have pursued thousands of different pathways to success.

At the end of this year, we will be celebrating the retirement of some legends of teaching/coaching at Pius XI. These five individuals have a combined total of 182 years of service to the school’s mission and to thousands of Popes:

Entire careers spent on 76th and Stevenson helping students develop their voices, find their passion and achieve their goals. What incredible dedication to the profession of teaching and commitment to the formation of young people!

Our teachers have the incredible privilege of being a person in a student's life who truly sees him/her and cultivates a sense of purpose and belonging. An ethos of empathy allows staff to value the whole person - not just their output or their test scores. So whether our students come prepared to excel or prepared to just begin - they do.

As we celebrate national teacher appreciation month, I ask that you consider making a gift in honor of the men and women in this building, past or present, who inspire, motivate and believe in future leaders.
"Flyaway" - Ashley Collier '19

We'll share the news of a contribution made in their honor. If you'd like to send along a message of gratitude, encouragement or humor, please do!

Thank you PIUS XI FACULTY - for being part of this community, for your commitment to excellence and for answering the call to make a profound difference in the lives of our students.

135 N. 76th Street - Milwaukee, WI - 53213

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