Catholic School Matters

November 2, 2021

Chain of Care

Last week the elementary school principals and our staff gathered and one thing became very clear--we are in the midst of a staffing crisis. The "Great Resignation" has hit our Buffalo Catholic schools. We don't have enough bus drivers, we don't have enough subs, we don't have enough aides, we don't have enough teachers. Heck, we have lost two principals and there is no bench.

First, we need to make sure that our school communities are aware of this crisis. When a teacher resigned a few weeks ago, a few parents reached out to me to complain that the principal was not doing enough. I'm certain they did not know how pervasive the staffing crisis is. Tell your pastor, tell your boards, tell your parents. Everyone needs to know this is a crisis that needs innovative solutions.

Yet as the article I linked to above points out, this is a mental health crisis. I don't quite think that autonomy is the answer. One principal confided in me that she's ready to walk away due to her frustration over teachers quitting and the constant battle to find teachers. Our personnel are stressed, under attack, and overburdened. Your call is to serve and love your staff members. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. We need to approach our positions with the same mindset--serve, love, uplift.

In my talk in early October (link here) I referenced the Chain of Care. This insight came from Jack Peterson. Here is Jack Peterson's blog and video explaining the Chain of Care. Give this some thought and reflection this week as we try to wade into the currents crisis and make it to the other shore.

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Dr. Tim Uhl

Office Updates

  1. Here's the link to the registration form for the November CPR/First Aid class.
  2. Last week we had special guests on the Wednesday Zoom to explain the Oishei Scholarship.

  3. NCEA is proud to continue the NCEA Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award Program that will formally recognize extraordinary young people in our Catholic schools who through their selfless service, innovation and commitment to social justice are changing the world. Here is the link for more information.

  4. Do you need support deciding which standards are the most important as we continue to make up lost instructional time? Take a look at these Focus Skills from our friends at Renaissance.

Kari Buchinger on Academics

Building a Classroom Library

If we want students to develop a love of reading we have to help them find a book that will light that fire of excitement. Which means it is imperative that we have a variety of texts in our classroom libraries. Ideally, each classroom library should have at least 1,000 books. When searching for books for your own classroom library you may consider looking for the following:

  • Windows- books that provide views of other worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange.
  • Mirrors- literature that captures the human experience and reflects it back to us. We see our lives and experiences as part of the larger world.
  • Sliding Doors- opportunity to walk through in imagination to become a part of the world created by the author.

This approach can help you find books that will be representative of all communities in your classroom. Furthermore, you can search for a balance of text varieties that span genres, length, content, and difficulty.

  • Fiction vs. Nonfiction
  • Picture Books vs. Chapter books
  • Graphic novels
  • Classics vs. Modern Favorites
  • Fables, Folktales
  • Biographies
  • Poetry
  • Book Series
  • Variety of texts focused on student interests

Where can you find books for your classroom?

  • Take a look around your school. In one of the many closets in my former school I found bins and bins of donated books that didn’t have a home. Who knows, one of your school closets may be full of books as well.
  • Take advantage of your school and local public libraries. This is a great place to go when you are doing a thematic unit.
  • Use those book club points! Do you have a scholastic book club account? Every time your students make a purchase through a book order you earn points to purchase books for your class.
  • Grants, grants, grants! Here are a few opportunities to look into:

Dollar General Youth Literacy Grant

Snapdragon School Library Grant

Walmart Local Community Grant

Ask your principal! The worst thing they can say is “no, it isn’t in the budget.” But, it is at least worth a conversation. Happy Reading!

Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari

Chris Riso on Government Services

Remember that there is a new application on the NYSED Business Portal ( for you to submit your BEDS report by the 11/19/21 deadline. When you are ready to file your BEDS report with NYSED, go to “IRS Data Exchange” under “My Applications” (do not use BEDS/IMF – that only holds your archival data now). It takes about 10 to 15 seconds to load but you should see “BEDS - Nonpublic Data Form” for “Collection Year” 2021-2022 as one of your choices. Thank you to those of you who have already completed this online process and also sent a copy of your completed Excel spreadsheet to Cathryn Harrower.

When you completed your Title services “Written Affirmation” forms over the summer, many of you requested a copy of the District’s “2021-2022 Consolidated Application” on the bottom of page 3. I doubt many of you have actually received a copy of this document for one of two reasons: 1. The District forgot to send it to you; or 2. The District is waiting until their Consolidated Application is formally approved by NYSED. At this time I recommend that you to follow-up with each district you asked for your copy by sending a letter or email that says something like this:

“As indicated on Page 3 of my “2021-2022 Written Affirmation of LEA Consultation with Private School Official”, I would like to request a copy of your 2021-2022 Consolidated Application. If possible, please send this copy to me as a PDF at [] or indicate where I might find a digital copy on your District website; if you would prefer, please instead mail a printed copy to me at the address listed above.”

Once you receive the copies you requested would you please forward them to me, preferably as a PDF sent to me via email?

Important Dates:

11/2/21 VOTE! Also encourage all staff and parents to vote, as well

11/19/21 BEDS Report Due to NYSED via Business Portal IRS-Data Exchange

12/1/21 Fire Safety Inspection Must be Completed; Report Due 12/15/2021

Previous posts from Mr. Riso

Save the Date!

  1. Weekly principal Zooms at 9:30 am on Wednesdays. This week we'll discuss the November task list.
  2. School Visit Schedule
  3. Diocese of Buffalo Catholic days at the BPO Jan 18th


  1. All-schools Mass at OLV with Bishop Fisher. Here is the link to Dr. Uhl's talk.
  2. "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
  3. Here's a link to the forms on our website.
  4. New Policy Manual
  5. New Operations Manual
  6. Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form

Articles for Your Reflection

Chain of Care

Catholic School Matters

A weekly newsletter of resources to spur enrollment and excellence in our Catholic schools.

What I'm Reading

    1. TrustED: The Bridge to School Improvement (2021) by Toby A. Travis
    2. Leading Change: An Action Plan from the World's Foremost Expert on Business Leadership (1996) by John P. Kotter

    3. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World (2003) by Chris Lowney

    4. Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community (2009) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    5. The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church (2014) by Pope Francis

            Click this link for a full list of my professional reading

            Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

            October 26, 2021 "Our Strategic Priorities"

            October 19, 2021 "Enrollment Numbers"

            October 12, 2021 "Core Beliefs"

            October 5, 2021 "A Culture of Collaboration"

            September 28, 2021 "Coming Together"

            September 21, 2021 "How We Doing?"

            September 14, 2021 "Retention, Retention"

            September 7, 2021 "Operations Manual"

            August 31, 2021 "Swimming Upstream"

            August 24, 2021 "Learning in Community"

            August 11, 2021 "Another COVID Opening"

            August 4, 2021 "Welcome Back"

            For previous newsletters, click this link