Montana Catholic Schools Weekly

May 16, 2016

Building our School Culture

As educators, we’re struggling to find the way to improve—not because what we’re doing is flawed but because we know we can always get better. In our Montana Catholic Schools, the question becomes what can we do really well?

My suggestion is that we should take a look at our culture. What do I mean by culture? I don’t mean tradition (“this is the way we do things around here”) but our behavior and expectations. Culture is how we treat each other and how we work. We are Catholic schools, after all, and I suggest that what we could do really well is be Catholic.

“Going Deeper” is a faith formation program for Catholic school teachers which delivers a personal/professional development lesson every week. These 5 minute videos accompanied by reflection questions and a short prayer service will be sent to you via email every week. Here is the link to the program so you can find our more information. Here’s another video you’ll enjoy.

All of our Catholic schools have committed to this new program which I hope will allow us to examine our school cultures and build stronger schools.

More articles for your interest:

· “Tim Keller on What Culture Is and Why it Matters”

· “100 Culture Change Insights from 100 Culture Expert Posts”

· 5 Easy Action Tips for Building a Culture-Led Organisation”

Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

The Week Ahead

Monday: Great Falls meetings

Tuesday: office & chancery meeting (Helena)

Wednesday: chancery meeting (Great Falls) & St. Jude visit (Havre)

Thursday: St. Mary's visit (Livingston)

Friday: office (Helena)

This week: 843 miles

Last week: 662 driving miles

2015-16: 26,428 driving miles; 14,969 air miles

What I'm Reading in 2016

  1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling.
  2. What College Trustees Need to Know (on deck)
  3. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (finished)
  4. Getting it Done: How to Lead When You're Not in Charge by Roger Fisher & Alan Sharp (finished)
  5. Motion Leadership in Action: More Skinny on Becoming Change Savvy by Michael Fullan (finished)
  6. HBR's 10 Must Reads "On Emotional Intelligence" (finished)
  7. A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne (finished)
  8. The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations by John P. Kotter (finished)
  9. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (finished)
  10. Motion Leadership by Michael Fullan (finished)
  11. The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda (finished)
  12. It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff (finished)
  13. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Greg Heath (finished)
  14. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeon (finished)
  15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (finished)
  16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (finished)
  17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (finished)
  18. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (finished)
  19. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (finished)

Montana Catholic Schools

Serving 3800+ students in 24 Catholic schools across the Treasure State

For Principals

  1. Open Enrollment is the time when benefit-eligible employees can make changes to their benefit plans. The dates: Diocese of Helena (May 10-24) and Diocese of Great Falls-Billings (May 18-June 2).
  2. We currently have two principal openings: Our Lady of Lourdes parish school in Great Falls and Butte Central Elementary. Please direct interested parties to me.
  3. The Great Falls Task Force now has a web page with links to all meetings notes, etc.
  4. The Principal/President Evaluation process is now underway. Principals & presidents filled out goal statements last fall and will be asked to evaluate themselves as part of the process. Here is the form that I will fill out, too. I have scheduled dates for these interviews when I will come and visit the school and observe the learning climate, share the perception data, and talk about the principal's performance this year. The dates: Julanne Gauger, St. Jude (May 18th), Catherine Kirchner, St. Mary's (May 19th), and Bart Freese, Sacred Heart (May 26th).
  5. The Annual Report template is now posted and ready for each principal. This Annual Report is due June 9th at the June Principal Meeting in Livingston.
  6. There is one more survey regarding Professional Development. Every teacher & administrator is asked to fill out this very short survey.

American Catholic News

Leadership Links

Teaching & Learning


The psychology behind irrational decisions - Sara Garofalo