Catholic School Matters
March 29, 2022
The Lessons from LA
When I come across a struggling Catholic school, the question always comes up, “What is the solution for turning this school around?” I’m often asked by parents, teachers, and principals searching for a quick solution. If there was a silver bullet, I’d be sure to share. But there’s not.
Rarely do we have a chance to conduct an autopsy of a successful school and examine why it has succeeded. But this week, you get that chance.
Dan Horn took a struggling inner-city Los Angeles Catholic school as a new principal and transformed it into a Blue Ribbon School teeming with students and new construction. Then he moved to a struggling Catholic high school in the Valley and has brought enrollment growth and now a $36 million construction project. How?
Dan has a focus on bringing change, paying attention to what’s important, and changing students’ lives. He is focused on teaching character, attracting and retaining excellent teachers, and authentic Catholic identity. But these transformations didn’t happen overnight. He has spent 22 years at St. Genevieve and he’s finally going to be able to build a new theater. The changes took time and determination.
Listen in on our remarkable conversation here. Or you can read his powerful book here. Either way, take heart that there is a successful, transformative leader who is overseeing enrollment growth and generating excitement in Catholic education.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
Principals of all Diocesan parish and regional schools are asked to please fill out this quick survey to help us build our School Health Scorecards and respond to this request for a mid-year financial report by the end of March.
Safe Environment audit instructions have been sent to your Safe Environment coordinators. This is due back May 15th. Please check to make sure everything is on track.
This is the link for NYS test scoring sign up.
Kari Buchinger on Academics
Schools across Western New York find opportunities to celebrate sports teams and honor societies throughout the school year. As we venture through this second semester, we have a chance to recognize the stream projects and initiatives that have challenged students this year during our X-STREAM Games event.
During this year's event, students will have an opportunity to show off projects they completed at school and a chance to exercise their STREAM skills with live challenges. Check out the offerings below.
- Shark Tank- Do you have a creative idea that could help make someone's life a little bit easier? Create a prototype and a brief presentation to present to our "Sharks."
- Science Scrimmage (Check out this year's challenge here Paper Ball Run—2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge (sciencebuddies.org))
- CSI - Collect evidence and conduct your own investigation.
- Arcade Academy- Design your own arcade game and invite visitors to play along.
- Biztown- Are your students ready to create their own business and sell their products?
- Robotics- Time to put those robots to use. Build a team, robot, and plan to achieve this year's Vex robotics challenge.
Connect with your school's STREAM coordinator and sign up today. We will see you on May 15th to celebrate our incredible students and all they have learned from their STREAM classes, projects, and challenges this year.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Girls entrance, Holy Trinity
The formerly Polish school of Holy Trinity in Niagara Falls. This was Stop #1 on our historical church tour
Subbing as Service
The Department of Catholic Schools served as substitutes for the faculty of Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls, allowing the teachers a short break to complete report cards
Chris Riso on Government Services
Mandated Services Update: I wanted to remind you that there are only three more school days until the 4/1/22 Mandated Services claim submission deadline. If you ask, I will look your claim over once it has been entered online (but NOT submitted!) on the NYSED Business Portal. So far I have reviewed 38 claims and 26 have been submitted and approved; that leaves 16 schools left to assist with very little time remaining. I will do my best to assist the remaining schools with such little time left before the 4/1/22 submission deadline.
Important: Mandated Services – Forward any NYSED “Post Review” or “Hold” emails: As your Mandated Services claims are submitted, some schools labelled as “HOLD” or “Post Review Pending” will get an email from NYSED at some point. Please forward to me any emails you get from the state that request follow-up on your end to resolve a claim. I highly recommend you allow me to assist you during this review process. Be especially careful with anything you say to NYSED representatives on the phone – I recommend you get their requests in writing and make your responses in writing.
Non Public Safety Equipment (NPSE): If you are submitting a Non Public Safety Equipment (NPSE) application to NYSED, make sure you mail your application and supporting documentation no later than Wednesday so it arrives by the 3/31/22 deadline. Contact SORIS if you have any questions at SORIS@nysed.gov.
Spring Consultation Regarding Health Services Available to your Students: This is just a reminder of the updated 2018 NYSED School Health Services requirements in place now as described on NYSED:SSS:School Health Services. They are as follows:
· Physical (Health) examinations are required for new entrants and in grades Pre-K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Dental Certificates must be requested at the same time. SCHOOL HEALTH EXAMINATION GUIDELINES (nysed.gov)
· Vision screening for color perception, distance, and near vision acuity is required for new entrants within 6 months of admission to school. Vision screening for distance and near vision acuity is required in grades Pre-K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11. Vision Screening Guidelines (nysed.gov)
· Hearing screening utilizing pure tone testing is required for new entrants within 6 months of admission to school and in grades Pre-K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11. Hearing Screening Guidelines (nysed.gov)
· Scoliosis screening is required in grades 5 and 7 for girls and grade 9 for boys. NYSED Scoliosis Screening Guidelines
Referring to the list of medical services required above, please remember that your students are entitled to a number of Health Services from your Public School District of location. The health services available to your students upon request are described at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/handbookonservices/healthservices.html. Services available include those mandated above such as vision, hearing, and scoliosis screening tests, physical examinations, and in-school immunization. Additionally, nursing services, dental screening, dental prophylaxis, the maintenance of cumulative health records, emergency care of ill or injured students, compliance with and enforcement of mandatory immunization requirements, guidance for parents, children and teachers in procedures for preventing and correcting defects and diseases, and instruction for school personnel in procedures to take in case of accident or illness may also be requested if these services are provided in their own schools.
I highly recommend that you reach out to your school district of location and discuss the services they provide to their own students regarding these mandates and then request any of these services described if you wish to have them provided by the district for your students. The important thing to remember is that they will not provide these services if you do not request them in writing in a timely manner – please reach out to the district and arrange for a meeting regarding this so that by the middle of April you can make a formal request in writing for health services, while also describing any students at your school with exceptional medical (nursing) needs. This will give the district plenty of time to consider the cost of providing your school these services prior to their establishing the school budget to be voted on in May.
Title IIa Consortium Costs: The Erie I BOCES Title IIa Shared Services Consortium will once again cost $2,700 for the 2022-2023 school year. Contact Mary Jo Casilio (firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-821-7538) if you have any questions about this consortium.
Elementary AIS Program Forms Available for 6/30/22 Application Deadline: On 3/23/22, NYSED notified you that the Elementary AIS grant Year 5 forms are now available and that the submission deadline date is June 30, 2022. Remember, eligible purchases and payments had to have been completed by March 31, 2022 to be submitted in this year’s application.
3/31/22 NYSED Nonpublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Application Due
3/31/22 NYSED Elementary School AIS Purchases/Projects/Payments Completed
4/1/22 Online 2020-21 Mandated Services Claim Due to NYSED
4/1/22 Parent Requests for 2022-23 Transportation Due to Public School Districts
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Save the Date!
- ELA Scoring Dates
- Schools North of Buffalo April 4 (3,5,7) &April 6 (4,6,8)
- Schools South of Buffalo April 7 (3,5,7) & April 8 (4,6,8)
- Math Scoring Dates
- Schools North of Buffalo May 5 (3,5,7) & May 6 (4,6,8)
- Schools South of Buffalo May 9 (3,5,7) & May 10 (4,6,8)
- Science Scoring for all Schools: June 10 (4,8)
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:30 am on Wednesdays.
- Primetime televised segment to support Catholic Education on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022 from 7:00-8:00 PM on WBBZ-TV
- 175th Anniversary date for the Diocese of Buffalo May 1, 2022
- X-Stream Games, May 15, 2022.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 8th graders, Sep 20, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral
- Diocesan Professional Development Day October 7, 2022 at St. Amelia's.
- School Pastor's Administrative Guide
- The Executive Summary. of this year's school data.
- Video recording of All-schools Mass at OLV with Bishop Fisher. Here is the link to Dr. Uhl's talk.
- "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
- Here's a link to the forms on our website.
- New Policy Manual
- New Operations Manual
- Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form
Catholic School Matters Podcast
This week, Dan Horn, the President/Principal of St. Genevieve Parish Schools, joins the podcast to discuss his successful turnarounds at two separate Catholic school sin the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Dan is a transformational leader whose story is inspiring. Previous episodes:
- John Reyes of the Roche Center joins the podcast to discuss his contribution to the "Cultivating Talent" report and his journey of leadership
- Dr. Elena Sada of the Roche Center joins me to discuss their ground-breaking report, Cultivating Talent, which investigates how to recruit and retain Hispanic educators in our Catholic schools. She also discusses bilingual Catholic education and the role of the TWIN-CS.
- Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, the President of the Association of Catholic Colleges & Universities (ACCU) joins me to discuss the disruptions of the pandemic, the challenges to Catholic higher education, and leading with mission.
- Gloria Purvis joined me on the podcast to discuss Black Catholicism and racism in the Church
- My old friend Neal Wilkinson, SJ joins me to discuss his vocation and work as well as his struggles with living with Parkinson's
- Roy Petitfils joins the podcast to discuss the impact the pandemic has had on us all.
- Dr. Lauren Casella of LMU joins the podcast to discuss her work with our Principal PLN to strengthen Catholic identity.
- Last week's podcast is a discussion with author Mark Shea about the divisions and tensions within the Catholic Church.
- Last week's podcast is a great conversation with Diocese of Orlando Superintendent Henry Fortier. One of the few African-American Catholic school superintendents, Henry discusses the challenges of the past few year
- I was joined on the podcast by Dr. Ann Garrido, the author/speaker/ professor of homiletics.
- The December 27th episode was a conversation with Jennifer Daniels of the USCCB about government programs and school choice.
- In the December 20th episode, Bridgette Theurer discusses Resilient Leadership
- In the December 13th episode, I'm talking with Jodee Blanco about parents bullying the school.
- Here is the link to the Dec 7th conversation with Faustin Weber, the author of the great blog post "Top Ten Suggestions to Avoid Principal Burnout."
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
Articles for Your Reflection
6 in 10 teachers experienced physical violence or verbal aggression during COVID - MindShift
Educators are taking blows from all sides, and they sometimes feel like no one is hearing them. That is the key finding of a big, new COVID-19-era survey from an American Psychological Association task force. Responses, collected between July 2020 and June 2021, came from nearly 15,000 school personnel - from psychologists to bus drivers - in all 50 states.
What Can Leaders Learn from Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy? - Knowledge@Wharton
While his country is in crisis, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is emerging as a masterful communicator and charismatic leader whose management style is reminiscent of some of the greatest statesmen in history, according to Wharton management professor emeritus Michael Useem. Watching Zelenskyy receive a standing ovation after addressing the U.S.
The Great Resignation or the Great Rethink?
A friend of mine - I'll call him Jim - was in the running for a C-suite job at his company, a consumer packaged goods firm. I've known him for years, and he'd always seemed happy and fulfilled in his career. So, imagine my surprise when not long ago I got this two-word text message from him: "I quit."
My Last 5 Books
- Writing Straight with Crooked Lines: A Memoir (2020) by Jim Forest
Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World (2020) by Vivek Murthy
Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood (2022) by Danny Trejo
The Mystical Way in Everyday Life (2010) by Karl Rahner, SJ
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading
Past Issues of Catholic School Matters
A couple of years ago I set out to write a book which would explore the challenges of Catholic school leadership. My premise that there are no easy answers and that we have to learn from our (and other's) mistakes in order to form a mindset appropriate for orchestrating conflict proved prescient as we all faced completely new and unexpected challenges in 2020. The book,Orchestrating Conflict: Case Studies in Catholic Leadership is now available on Amazon or on the Barnes & Noble site in print or e-book formats. The book explores issues in Catholic school leadership and the tensions between building community and following Church policies and introduces deliberate practice as a method for leadership formation.