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Catholic learning sessions to start in Pittsburgh

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By Megan Harris
Sunday, April 20, 2014, 9:20 p.m.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh expects 6,000 educators in town this week for the 2014 National Catholic Educational Association convention.

Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who grew up in Mt. Washington and was bishop here from 1988 to 2006, will top the list of speakers on Tuesday through Thursday in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik will attend.

Michael Latusek, superintendent and acting secretary of education for the diocese, said students and teachers trickled in and out of the convention center all weekend setting up school banners, stuffing gift bags, arranging meeting space and hanging posters spotlighting the diocese's high-achieving students.

“It's been a yearlong planning process for us, so it's so nice that the weather has worked out,” Latusek said. “We're hoping Pittsburgh and the diocese make a nice impression.”

Locals will offer tours of the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry while educators get their pick among dozens of programs designed to blend the science of teaching with the mission of the church.

Sessions will address reading techniques, Montessori teaching, a Christ-centered approach to bullying, engaging parents, implementing new technology and increasing enrollment, among other topics.

The diocese is down about 800 students this year from last, when enrollment was about 21,000 in preschool to 12th grade.

Tuition is up across the diocese, which operates more than 100 schools in Western Pennsylvania. Diocese administrators from Allentown, the only diocese in the state where enrollment grew, will speak.

“We've got a game plan and scripts for every occasion,” Latusek said.

Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-388-5815 or

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