8th Annual DIA Schools Summit Receives Rave Reviews

“One of the best conferences I have attended. I felt supported in how to address certain cultural and political issues that are antagonistic towards our faith while also gaining new skills in student learning.”

“It sometimes feels like we’re on an island in the world of authentic Catholic education, but this is so refreshing to see other facilities and meet others doing similar work.”

Catholic school administrators, teachers and campus ministers from across the country gathered in October for the 8th Annual DIA Schools Summit at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. Attendees were highly satisfied by the content, caliber of speakers, time with 19 vendors, sacramental celebrations as well as the opportunity for networking with like-minded colleagues. Enthusiastic endorsements in the post event survey indicate that the DIA Summit met and exceeded expectations. 

Nearly 125 colleagues in Catholic education took part in an action-packed 48 hours including general sessions and workshop tracks forging new paths to encourage faith and holiness on their respective campuses. Two-thirds of attendees experienced the Summit for the first time and most intend to attend a future Summit.

The Summit opened on the afternoon of October 19, with Mass celebrated by Diocese of Orange’s Auxiliary Bishop, Timothy Freyer, at the beautiful Basilica San Juan Capistrano. Several priests and chaplains attending the conference also concelebrated. The agenda continued on the JSerra Catholic High School campus, with a welcome reception, time with 19 strategic partners of DIA Schools Collaborative, and dinner. After a welcome and opening remarks by Bishop Freyer, the evening’s general session was presented by Mary Rice Hasson, titled “Catholic Education for Challenging Times.”

Christopher Kaczor opened the second day of the Summit, October 20, with a keynote titled, “Why We Teach Virtue and the Faith Life in Catholic Schools.” After a campus tour, Summit attendees made their way to the south campus for JSerra’s All School Mass. After Mass, four workshops were offered on topics like Accompanying Gender-Confused Students, how Collaboration fits in today’s teachings, Leading Young People to Encounter Christ through Personal Prayer and Taking Discipleship Seriously.  Then six of the strategic partners presented mini sessions. 

The afternoon’s keynote was presented by JSerra High School Teacher, Sr. Miriam, O.P., on “Strategies Towards a Virtue-Based School Culture.” Another round of concurrent workshops followed, on topics such as Catholic Natural Law vs. Critical Theory in teaching race and diversity, “Seeing Well”  on Catholic worldview, Dialogical Discussion in the Theology Classroom, Liberation from eSlavery, Resilient Disciples, and Catholic School Discipleship.

The closing day of the Summit, October 21, started with Mass, followed by John Zimmer’s presentation on “Catholic Education in an Age of Apostolic Mission.” The final concurrent workshop topics included Catholic Education and Cultural Challenges, Sports Properly Directed, Notable Communities of Black Catholics in the United States, Catholicism in The Content-Area and Educating Our Youth For Life.

Review the detailed event agenda, a pdf of the conference program, as well as speaker materials and general session recordings on our website.

The overall Summit experience and DIA Membership benefits are aptly described on this wrap-up video

Save the Date and put the next Summit in your professional development budget now – be part of the 9th Annual DIA Schools Summit in Washington, DC, October 16-18, 2023. Registration details will be available in the Spring. Email summit@diaschools.org to indicate intent to participate in the 2023 Summit Planning “Think Tank” which will be monthly conference calls to discuss speaker and topic suggestions with potential Summit attendees. Your input matters!