Catholic School Matters
May 3, 2022
One of the most persistent misconceptions surrounding Catholic schools—at least here in New York—is that we don’t receive any help from the state or federal government. Now, we might not receive enough funding (equivalent to the charter school per pupil allocation, for example), but it is counter-productive to suggest that we don’t receive any help. We are very fortunate in the Diocese of Buffalo to have Chris Riso at our disposal. Recently named to the USCCB’s Committee on Education’s Federal Assistance Advisory Committee and to the Reform Leaders’ Summit at Notre Dame, Mr. Riso is an invaluable resource to help our schools take advantage of every government program they can. Look no further than his blog below which includes a description of the STEM grant, Title I consultation, and special ed services.
I thought I would highlight the programs which impact our schools as well as make sure each school is taking advantage of every program it can. Mr. Riso is here to help and spends a great deal of his time serving the schools to accompany them in this process.
The first area is transportation. Over half of our K12 students take advantage of free busing within the rules (cannot bus out of a city and the trip cannot exceed 15 miles). I’m not sure we can put a dollar value on this service! Imagine your school without busing. Even if a school had to provide only one bus and bus driver, I can’t imagine it costing less than $100k per year per school.
The second area is services which includes Title programs, EANS awards, textbooks, computer hardware and software programs, library materials, and the Smart Schools Bond Act. We have an anonymous spreadsheet of all our Diocesan and private Catholic schools here (go to the “Services” tab). This does not include special education, nursing, NYS Learning Technology grant, or UPK. All those would add to the services total. The total is $5,276,629 for 34 Diocesan schools and $4,196,911 for private Catholic schools.
The third area is reimbursements which is particularly inflated because of PPP loans. This area includes mandated services, CAP, STEM grants, NPSE, Intervention Services, and E-rate. We don’t have records for Emergency Connectivity Fund, Employee Retention Credit, or the National School Lunch program, all of which have brought in significant revenue this year. Here is a link to the spreadsheet of totals (Go to the “Reimbursements” tab). The total reimbursements (including PPP loans) was $16.1 million for diocesan schools, $15.3 million for private schools.
For Diocesan schools, the total amount of assistance we could find was $21.4 million but if we back out PPP loans the total falls to $9,198,122 which figures out to $270k per school. Add in transportation, federal lunch program, ERC, special education, nursing, and ECF and you can imagine the total would be over $400k per school. For private Catholic schools, the total of $19.5 million comes down to $7.67 million after PPP loans, averaging $403,722 per school.
We hope you can take this valuable information to strengthen your school programs and together we can use this to advocate for even more support.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
Recycling poster contest info here.
We have extended the deadline until tomorrow (May 4th) for this survey on Diocesan athletics to all principals and athletic directors.
Here is the tentative list of dates for meetings & activities for the 2022-23 school year.
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
This week we pause in a special way to thank all of our teachers and principals in the Diocese of Buffalo. Your dedication, talent, and passion for Catholic education is truly unmatched. Your impact will create ripples that extend well beyond your classroom walls and will undoubtedly have an everlasting impact on all of our communities in Western New York!
It must be my lucky week because I also get to spend some time with teachers as we join together for test scoring.
North Town schools will score atSt. Edmund’s campus 530 Ellicott Creek Rd.Tonawanda,
- Thursday, May 5: Grades 3,5,7
- Friday, May 6: Grades 4,6,8
South Town schools will score at Ss. Peter and Paul School
- 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
- 10:00-12:00 Scoring
- 12:00-12:30 Lunch break
- 12:30-3:00 Scoring
**Don’t forget to bring all needed scoring materials for the questions you have been assigned to
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
NYSED MST/STEM Grant Submission Deadline 8/1/2022: Over the next month you may want to consider working on your NYSED MST Grant application. 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 5 has been released and can be found here. The paper application must be RECEIVED by NYSED by Monday, August 1, 2022 or else submitted online via the NYSED Business Portal with all attachments by that date.
Here are some of the more important items I gleaned from the guidance documents and last year’s process:
1. Note: “Incomplete or incorrect applications will be deemed ineligible and will not be reviewed;” you may want to double and triple check your submission using the information in Appendix A before submitting your claim.
2. You must submit a separate application for each Grade 3-12 teacher but if you are mailing in your applications they want you to mail all teachers from your school together in one packet, if possible. If possible, use the online submission form available through the NYSED Business Portal rather than submitting your claim via the mail (see Appendix B).
a. You will not be notified by NYSED that your submission has been received; you can email email@example.com to request confirmation.
3. Even though the deadline is 8/1/2022, they do not anticipate paying any claims until at least the fall or beyond; payments for 2021 submissions still have not been sent out.
4. When proving that a teacher is certified, you may submit a screen shot from the Office of Teaching Initiative TEACH website or the NYSED Teacher Certification Lookup website – this might help obscure any personally identifying information that might show on a printed certificate.
a. Similarly for those without a certificate who are following the Master’s/PhD route, you can submit a memo from their college instead of their transcript.
5. When submitting the school’s master schedule, include
a. all courses taught by all teachers;
b. names or initials of every teacher teaching each course;
i. If teachers have the same initials, please list names in full.
c. individual classes specifying the grade level and subject/course name; and
d. the final 2021-2022 full year schedule, including all courses/duties across all terms/quarters over the entire school year
e. include all versions that apply, if they differ: in-person, remote, and/or hybrid
i. If the master schedule and/or teacher’s schedule included different teaching models throughout the year, please send all that apply and clearly label when the changes were made. For example – semester 1 was remote and semester 2 was in-person.
ii. If a school closed or went to remote learning temporarily (remote learning provided during this time but did not change the instructional model) due to COVID-19 cases in the school or community, this would not be considered a change as described above, so please send just the original master and teacher schedules.
6. They will need to see your course descriptions (for all courses and supervisory duties) and the corresponding curricula for the MST courses being submitted for reimbursement.
7. Teachers claimed may not teach religion (as a separate class) at any time during the school day.
8. Signed 2021-2022 employment agreements, signed by both the employer and the teacher, must be submitted. This agreement must include:
a. Indication that the agreement is for the 2021-2022 school year
b. The 2021-2022 yearly salary
c. Part-time or full-time status
d. Teacher’s start and end date for the 2021-2022 school year
e. Teacher and school leader initials next to any changes made to this agreement
f. An addendum signed and dated by both the teacher and the school leader for any of the above information not included in the original employment agreement
g. If you do not have these on file, be sure to get an agreement signed by all parties before the end of the school year (before teachers leave).
9. The certification section requires original signatures of the nonpublic school chief administrator and the nonpublic school teacher. (For 2021-2022, schools can submit electronic or copied (scanned) signatures in the certification section, if necessary?)
a. If submitting your claim online, you can download the “MST Teacher Certification Form” found on the left side of the online form under “Documents”. This is what is needed if you do not use submit the paper application form by mail, which includes the teacher’s signature (the Chief Administrator signature is not needed because the applications are being submitted by the Principal via the NYSED Business Portal).
b. Make sure you get these signatures from the teachers before they leave at the end of the school year.
10. Once you finish submitting one form, you should be able to open a new application to submit another one if you have more than one qualified teacher.
11. Read the FAQs (MST_Year5_FAQ rev – Mar 31, 2022.pdf) and the MST Guidance Document.
Title I Consultation – Begin Consultation with All Districts for 2022-23 School Year: I highly recommend that you reach out to each public school district in which you have students entitled to a free or reduced lunch (even if they don’t get a free/reduced lunch) so you can begin discussions regarding Title I funding and services for the 2022-23 school year. I have four attachments that might help you with the process: “Title I Fall District Contact for 2022-23”, “Title I Winter District Contact for 2022-23”, “Public School Title I Attendance Areas from 2020-2021 Consolidated Applications - May 2022” (through row 373 – the rest is from 2019-2020), and a list of Title I Directors. If you sent out the first attachment in the fall, it might be time for a follow up letter (second attachment) if you have not yet heard back from them. The third attachment might help you identify if your free/reduced students reside in a public school Title I attendance area, allowing them to qualify your school for funding. If you are sending a letter for the first time, use the attached Title I directors list to help you address the letters properly. Call me if you have any questions.
Special Education Students (IESP) Must Request Services by June 1: I was reminded recently that the parents of all Special Education students must request in writing by June 1st the continuation of services from the Public School District in which your school is located. NYS law requires this even though not all districts follow through and deny services for those who fail to do so. My thought is, better safe than sorry. Please encourage parents of any IESP student to submit a signed letter requesting Special Education services from the Public School District by June 1st. Please remember that these letters must come from the parents. Once they write their letters, I would recommend that you ask for parents to share a copy with you so you know they sent it before the deadline. I found a sample parent letter here. If you can make up a draft letter that includes the correct District contact information so that parents can just edit the student name I am sure they would appreciate the assistance. FYI - Here is a link with the regulations on this:. All that being said, NYS and Federal law allows the public school districts to deny services when a parent request for Special Ed services is not received by June 1st in almost every scenario you can imagine; if you are considering accepting a student with an IEP after June 1st, that child will not be eligible to receive Special Education services until the 2023-24 school year (if they still qualify) so make your admission determination based on the fact that the student will not be receiving Special Education services from the public school district in 2022-2023.
Advocacy: I have recently been named to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Federal Assistance Advisory Commission (FAAC). This Commission, made up of Catholic education practitioners, serves as an advisory group to the USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education in its efforts to:
• Maximize participation by Catholic school students and teachers in federally-funded educational programs,
• Advocate on behalf of Catholic school students, teachers and administrators during reauthorization and/or revision of existing federal education programs,
• Evaluate and support proposed federal legislation that could result in positive benefits for Catholic school students and staff and to oppose any such proposals that could result in negative outcomes, and
• Monitor the implementation of federal statutes, as well as the development of regulations and guidelines that affect Catholic schools, including their students and staff.
This year’s first FAAC meeting will take place this week in Annapolis; as a result, I will be out of the office from 5/4/22 to 5/6/22. Wish me luck as I continue to advocate for our Catholic Schools.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
Catholic school in Wellsville has new principal
WELLSVILLE - A week into her new job, the principal at Immaculate Conception School is finding things to be done - but she's promised not to shake things up in the last nine weeks of the school year. Caitilin Dewey took over as principal at ICS on April 18, but she is no stranger to the village or the school district.
Catholic high school planned for Key West
KEY WEST | Due to growing enrollment, the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea has announced a historic re-opening of the parish's Catholic high school, set for the 2023-2024 school year. "The key to the demand is that people like what we offer.
The History of Cognitive Overload - Farnam Street
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload , a book by Daniel Levitin, has an interesting section on cognitive overload. Each day we are confronted with hundreds, probably thousands of decisions. Most of which are insignificant or unimportant or both. Do we really need a whole aisle for toothpaste?
When Crisis Management Becomes Conflict Management
The psychological toll of the pandemic has challenged workers and managers in a variety of ways. As we head into the third year of Covid, a new issue has sprung up: "splitting," a mental defense mechanism which allows us to tolerate difficult and even unbearable emotions by seeing someone or something as either heroes or villains, good or bad, "with us" or "against us."
How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Best Summary
A brief, no fluff, summary of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Don't criticize, condemn or complain. Give honest and sincere appreciation. Arouse in the other person an eager want. Become genuinely interested in other people. Smile. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
My Last 5 Books
- 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
Collaborative Professionalism: When Teaching Together Means Learning for All (2018) by Andy Hargreaves & Michael T. O'Connor
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.