Catholic School Matters
August 23, 2022
As we embark on a new school year, it’s important to articulate one of our strategic priorities for this year. We are going to devote resources and time to a collaborative strategic planning process for our Diocesan Catholic schools. We have contracted with Dr. Tad Dickel to facilitate this process for up to 10 schools beginning next month. Our hope is that the collaborative effort will help surface creative solutions to the problems we’re all facing.
Every school is facing variations of three vexing problems—enrollment, teacher pay, and tuition—and share (to some degree) those three challenges in common. After all, most of our students are under their enrollment capacity, cannot pay teachers what they are worth, and cannot charge what they need for tuition. While we could look at a variety of other problems and a myriad of solutions, developing long-term sustainability needs to focus on these issues.
So we’re giving our time and resources to help the schools committed to improvement. To that end, interested schools are being asked to complete a commitment by September 7th and submit a $1000 deposit which will be refunded if all expectations are met. We’re looking for a commitment by the pastor/canonical administrator, the school administration, and the school board.
We’re articulating these priorities to demonstrate accountability. This is one of our priorities and we’re working for it to succeed. Please consider joining this effort!
Previous blogs can be found here. 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
Kari Buchinger on Academics
I hope everyone enjoyed our fun-filled day on a double-decker bus last week! In the midst of travel, church tours, and a whole lot of fellowship, there were also a few academic initiatives sprinkled in. Ok, maybe by a few, I mean a lot! I am very excited to find opportunities to work more closely with principals and teachers this year. All of our academic initiatives were established to directly impact student learning in our schools. That impact comes from programming, teacher support and preparation, and principal professional growth. In the spirit of community and collaboration, I look forward to helping you all grow vibrant Catholic Schools in Western New York!
Here is a virtual copy of my handout for your reference.
I do want to highlight a few things that are a little more time sensitive.
New teacher orientation is this Thursday, August 25, at St. Andrew Country Day School from 9 am- 3 pm. Please sign up your new teachers here.
Do you have teachers you would like to sign up for Classroom Learning Labs? Details can be found in the handout; please use this registration form for each teacher you would like to participate.
Principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders are invited to participate in this year's Academics PLN. This will take place monthly via zoom from 3:15-4:15 pm. Sign up here!
For those of you who were unable to attend our meeting last week, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions about any of our academic initiatives this year.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Here is the link for the Office Blog with the latest forms and information. This can be found on the website under "Blogs."
Save the Date for the November 10th Diocesan Education Summit!
For all your STREAM-related content, check out the STREAM page
In case you missed it, here's our 2021-22 Year in Review
Chris Riso on Government Services
The latest COVID information can be found here.
August 18th Meeting Information: Please see my blog for a summary of the Government Services notes with links you may be interested in.
Public School Title Consultation - “2022-2023 Written Affirmation of LEA Consultation”: Once you have completed the “2022-2023 Written Affirmation of LEA Consultation with Private School Officials” for each school district, please email (or mail) a signed copy to me. Please do not sign forms until they are complete, with all sections filled in by the districts.
Mandated Services – HR Teachers vs. Students Suggestion: Although there is often little you can do to control this, the number of teachers you have taking morning attendance vs. the number of K-12 students you have can significantly affect your Mandated Services claim amount on Mandate 1 (PAR – Pupil Attendance Reporting) and Mandate 3 (BEDS Reporting). Because of this, I thought I would create some examples of how this might affect your school. If you think you are in a position to make a change in the number of Teachers you have taking Homeroom attendance, even in creative ways, I can provide you with this list of examples to help you decide on the best number of teachers given your enrollment. Let me know if you are interested in exploring this idea.
NCEA Survey Due 9/30/22 based on 9/16/2022 Enrollment: Please look for an email in the next few weeks regarding the NCEA survey due 9/30/22.
Erie County Schools Only - Air Purifier Distribution 8/30 & 8/31: I just learned that schools in Erie County that requested air purifiers will be able to pick up their air purifiers on Tuesday, August 30th and Wednesday, August 31st at the Erie County Distribution warehouse located at 500 Commerce Dr, Amherst NY 14228. You should have received an email from Lauren Nicholas on 8/19/22 explaining the process and recommending the number of vehicles you might need for your number of devices. Please call Rebecca Walfrand, supply chain associate at 500 Commerce Drive, at 716-395-1768 for any questions or concerns pertaining to your order.
8/31/22 Sign “Written Affirmation” forms for each District after Consultation
8/31/22 PDF/Copy of each Signed “Written Affirmation” form sent to C. Riso
9/2/22 Teachers approved to be alone with students via Safe Environment
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
8/22 New Activities and First Aid/CPR Class for Fall Sports
There will be a First Aid/CPR Training for Coaches - (Fall Sports) St. Paul Parish Community Room, 33 Victoria Blvd., Kenmore, NY 6-9 PM - Tuesday, September 13th. Please contact Nancy DiBerardino to register at NDiberardino@buffalodiocese.org or 716-847-5504.
Please see the athletics/activities blog for the most up to date information.
Save the Date!
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:00 am on Wednesdays. These will begin this week.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 8th graders, Sep 13, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral. RSVP here.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 12th graders, Sep 27, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral. Please RSVP here.
- Diocesan Professional Development Day October 7, 2022 at St. Amelia's.
- Diocesan Education Summit, November 10th. This is for principals, pastors/canonical administrators, board chairs, and one other stakeholder (4 from each school).
- Strategic Planning Expectations & Application
- Academic Initiatives for 2022-23
- The Diocesan Health Scorecard.
- School Pastor's Administrative Guide
- "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 for all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Buffalo.
- New Operations Manual for Diocesan Catholic schools.
- Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form
Catholic School Matters Podcast
The podcast is on pause this month as I begin recording for the 7th season. Highlights from last year:
- David Palmieri joins the conversation. David is a high school theology teacher who has started a grassroots network of Catholic high school educators to explore issues surrounding LGBT+ students in our schools.
- Nicole Garnett of Notre Dame's Law School joins the podcast to discuss school choice and the recent Carson v. Makin case.
- Kari Buchinger and I discuss the Diocesan Health Scorecards. We discuss how they came about, how they evolved, who was involved, and how we collected the information.
- 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.
- 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
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
Articles for Your Reflection
21 tips for new teachers from a Jesuit educator
Nearly a decade ago, I composed this list of "best practices" for The Jesuit Post to help new teachers when they went into the classroom. I wrote with an eye to high school teaching; but as I re-read the advice, I think it applies to grammar school and college students as well.
Western New York Catholic
The Diocese of Buffalo is excited to announce a new set of activities and sports for its elementary schools. Starting this fall, students will be able to participate in bowling, flag football, golf, kickball and math competitions in addition to the regularly scheduled girls volleyball and coed cross country seasons.
Lawsuit claims N.O. area Catholic schools discriminate against students with disabilities
The new lawsuit expands on one Edmunds filed against Mount Carmel Academy in 2020. NEW ORLEANS - A new class-action lawsuit alleged the Archdiocese of New Orleans discriminated against thousands of children with disabilities by not accommodating them at area Catholic schools.
My Last 5 Books
- Strategic Planning for Parishes (2021) by Tad Dickel
- Just Universities: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Corporatized Higher Education (2021) by Gerald Beyer
- What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life (2003) by Thomas H. Groome
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It (2017) by Chris Voss
- His Name is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice (2022) by Robert Samuels & Toluse Olorunnipa
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.