Catholic School Matters
April 26, 2022
Orchestrating Conflict 2022
When a controversial topic comes up with Catholic school leaders, I often ask, "What are you doing to prepare?" More often than not, the answer I get is, "We hope it doesn't happen here." Hope is not a strategy. Catholic school leaders need to orchestrate conflict--not manage, not run and hide, not solve every problem.
Before you know it, you'll have to face a thorny situation. The sooner you prepare, the better. To that end, I have been tracking controversies which have occurred in Catholic schools across the country. Here is a list as well as resources and articles. Added to that, I've recorded a 40-minute video with a suggested approach for examining these conflicts. I've also converted this to the podcast this week.
If nothing else, the video or podcast will provide you an introduction to the controversies facing many Catholic school leaders. The list includes newspaper articles so you can examine different perspectives and begin to consider how you could orchestrate that conflict. Things are changing!
Perhaps you might be inspired to gather a few critical friends and spend time considering how to prepare for these issues. Policies will help you prepare. But so will a listening heart that will accompany our students, parents, and staff members as they deal with these difficult situations.
Want to keep up with the conversations surrounding Catholic education? Set up your own Google Alert, subscribe to this newsletter by clicking "follow," subscribe to the Catholic Schools Daily, or subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast.
Dr. Tim Uhl
We have sent out this survey on Diocesan athletics to all principals and athletic directors to be completed by May 1st.
Please fill out this survey to RSVP for the principal meeting on May 12th. There are only 40 slots available!
Here is the tentative list of dates for meetings & activities.
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.
Kari Buchinger on Academics
A few notes this week…
Catholic Identity Resources
During our last principals’ meeting our executive principals team presented our Catholic Identity google drive. This drive is meant to be a bank of resources that can be shared from school-to-school as you continue to plan special events and enhance your school’s Catholic identity. We would like to fill this bank as much as we can before we transition to summer break.
This is certainly a busy time of year filled with spirit week, field day, hope ribbon ceremonies, and graduation. Which makes this the perfect time to upload resources into the google drive. Or, be welcome to send this information to me via email email@example.com and I can add it for you. Are you not sure what to share? Send this challenge out to your teachers and have them email me an artifact from their religion classes that could be shared with their fellow teachers.
Time for math scoring!
North Town schools
- St. Edmund’s campus
- 530 Ellicott Creek Rd.
- Tonawanda, NY 14150
- Thursday, May 5: Grades 3,5,7
- Friday, May 6: Grades 4,6,8
South Town schools
- St. Peter and Paul School
- 66 E Main St
- Hamburg, NY 14075
- Monday, May 9: Grades 3,5,7
- Tuesday, May 10: Grades 4,6,8
7:45-8:15 Arrival/Sign in Materials
8:15- 10:00 Scorer Training: Training set, practice set, CAS
12:00-12:30 Lunch break
ELA scoring wrapped up around 1:00. I anticipate math scoring to be similar. But, please ensure all scorers are prepared to stay for the afternoon if needed. Scorers should bring their own lunch. If a scorer is unable to attend due to illness please contact me via phone or email as soon as possible. Please review the following with your teachers and ensure all requirements are met before the day of scoring.
- Check all answer sheets for completion
- The test session code must be filled in on each answer sheet.
- If a student was absent or refused to test that must be marked on the answer sheet.
- The math test has 2 answer sheets. Please place answer sheet #1 in a stack and send them along with the test book. Answer sheet #2 (which includes the portion we will grade) must be placed into the front cover of the student test book.
- Alphabetize test booklets for each grade level.
- Number test booklets for each grade level.
- Do not send any blank answer sheets to the scoring day.
- All scorers should arrive on the scoring day with the printed practice, training, and cost assurance sets.
Scoring Assignments were sent via email yesterday. If you did not receive this information please email me.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
St. Martin de Porres Church
Our tour of Buffalo churches uncovered a gem last week. The Gospel choir at St. Martin de Porres was inspirational!
Bishop Fisher at Mt. St. Mary
Bishop Mike listens to the Gospel being read by Monsignor Fran at the All-School liturgy last Friday
Chris Riso on Government Services
NYS Enacted Budget Summary: The NYS Budget was enacted on 4/9/22. Some of the most notable changes are:
- the tripling of funding for Nonpublic Safety Equipment (now at $45 million) with the new authorization to use such funds for critical repair and maintenance and other capital needs;
- STEM/MST Grant funding was increased nearly 40 percent to $58 million; and
- enactment of language guaranteeing that EANS funds that may revert to GEER will be available exclusively for our schools.
I will update you as guidance documents related to these programs are released so you know how these changes will impact your school.
Graduate Courses available for Free through University at Buffalo (UB) and SUNY Empire: As an eligible nonpublic school teacher or leader, you can take select online courses through these colleges’ Graduate programs.
- University at Buffalo Professional Development for Religious and Independent School Teachers
- Available online courses for Summer 2022 - University at Buffalo
- Online application deadline for University at Buffalo Summer 2022 courses is 5/20/22 (classes begin 5/31/2022)
- Available online courses for Fall 2022 - University at Buffalo
- Online application deadline for University at Buffalo Fall 2022 courses is August 20, 2022 (classes begin 8/29/2022)
- University at Buffalo Academic Calendars(link is external)
- Questions? Contact the Office of Graduate Admission at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-645- 2110.
- SUNY Empire Graduate School for Religious and Independent School Teachers(link is external)
- Available online courses for Summer 2022 - SUNY Empire
- Complete the SUNY Empire application(link is external) – Deadline to apply is 4/29/22
o If you have questions, please contact Graduate Student Services at 518-587-2100, ext. 2429, or Grad.Services@esc.edu.
Reprint: NYSED MST/STEM Grant Submission Deadline 8/1/2022:The 2021-2022 school year Program Guidance and Reimbursement Form Instructions and Reimbursement Form for the New York State Grants for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Teachers in Religious and Independent Schools (MST) – year 4 has been released and can be found at http://www.nysed.gov/nonpublic-schools/grant-opportunities#mst. In Year 3, our WNY Catholic Schools received just over $2.2 million in reimbursement, with the 14 participating elementary schools averaging $51,000 in reimbursement while the six participating high schools averaged $261,000 in reimbursement. With another increase in funding to the MST Grant program in last year’s NYS Budget, I highly recommend that you apply for this grant if you have any qualified teachers. The application will now be available to be submitted on the SED Business Portal (SED Monitoring). Directions on how to access the online application are in Appendix B of the MST Guidance document; there is also a Frequently Asked Question document available. Although they are encouraging schools to submit via the Business Portal, the paper applications will also be accepted (please only send the applications once either via the portal or by mail). All applications must be RECEIVED by NYSED by Monday, August 1, 2022.
BOCES Textbook Meeting: The Erie 1 BOCES Annual New York State Textbook Loan meeting will be held virtually this year on April 29th from 10am-11:30am. They will review the process of sending student data securely and answer any questions you may have. Crystal Shirley from the Buffalo Public Schools will be present. If you have any questions or need the WebEx link, please contact Domenic Liberta at email@example.com or Kelly Gorney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E1B Title IIa Consortium Administrator Meeting: There will be an E1B Nonpublic School Title IIa Consortium Administrator Meeting via Zoom on May 2nd from 9am to 11am. Nicole Kerner will be the guest speaker, addressing teacher burnout while including specific ways to inspire joy and hope in your school community. Go to https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/ActivityProfile.asp?D=19584&I=4078972 to register for this meeting.
4/29/22 Annual NYS Textbook Loan Meeting at Erie 1 BOCES – 10:00am
4/29/22 Last Day to Register for Free SUNY Empire Summer Graduate Classes
5/2/22 E1B Nonpublic School Title IIa Consortium Administrator Meeting via Zoom
5/20/22 Last Day to Register for Free UB Summer Graduate Classes
6/1/22 Last day for Parents to Request Special Education Services from Districts
6/30/22 AIS Reimbursement Form Due to NYSED – Elementary Schools Only
8/1/22 NYSED 2021-2022 MST/STEM Grant Submission Deadline
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Save the Date!
- 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.
- 175th Anniversary Mass 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.
- The "Shoot for the Stars" one-hour TV special.
- 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, I take a look at controversies that have impacted Catholic schools. There is not a guest! It's just me exploring the issues. There is a resource page, too. Previous episodes:
- Earlier this month, the podcast features a great panel to provide a primer on the latest Congregation for Catholic Education's document, "The Identity of a Catholic School for a Culture of Dialogue": Dr. Melodie Wyttenbach, the Executive Director of the Roche Center; Dr. John Piderit, SJ of the Roche Center; and Dr. Lauren Casella of Loyola Marymount.
- 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
- 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
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
Articles for Your Reflection
9 Ways to Lead the Learning on Your Campus - Jimmy Casas
It is not uncommon for school leaders to get caught up in the minutia of leading a school, thereby neglecting one of the most critical components of effective school leadership - leading the learning. After all, there are issues to address, problems that need resolving, meetings to attend, students
Blame Culture Is Toxic. Here's How to Stop It.
At work, we show kindness by doing things like paying someone a compliment with no ulterior motive or holding the door open for a colleague. Now think about the rare occasions when we're feeling stressed and snap at a coworker or criticize their ideas. Are we still kind?
Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid
What would it have been like to live in Babel in the days after its destruction? In the Book of Genesis, we are told that the descendants of Noah built a great city in the land of Shinar. They built a tower "with its top in the heavens" to "make a name" for themselves.
Orchestrating Conflict in Catholic Schools 2022 The following resources are supplemental to my 2022 (virtual) presentation for NCEA. Here is the link to watch the presentation. This is by no means a comprehensive look at controversies in Catholic schools during the 2021-22 school year. It's not even a comprehensive look at any one controversy.
My Last 5 Books
- Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood (2022) by Danny Trejo
The Mystical Way in Everyday Life (2010) by Karl Rahner, SJ
Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience (2022) by Brené Brown
The Great Upheaval: Higher Education's Past, Present, and Uncertain Future (2021) by Arthur Levin & Scott Van Pelt
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading
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.