Catholic School Matters
January 18, 2022
The mental health impacts of the pandemic have become noticeable as we pass the 2-year mark. As our concern for student mental health has risen, another area of concern has also come to the forefront. Stories of bullying and suicidal thoughts by students struggling with gender and sexual orientation have become common. Research has shown the LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. This is simply unacceptable and it’s unconscionable that we’re not confronting this issue in our Catholic schools.
The first step is to start the conversation. We’re going to do this by sending every school leader a survey to see how prevalent these issues are in each school. We can’t begin to develop solutions until we understand the problem. Look for the survey in your inbox this week and please return it within the week.
The survey has been developed and will be analyzed by the recently-formed Ad Hoc Committee on Pastoral Practices. We’re interested in articulating pastoral best practices surrounding issues of gender and sexual orientation in our schools. We’re not interested in having debates about Church doctrine or school policies. We’re operating out of the assumption that we have LGBTQ students and families and student safety is an issue.
Our first responsibility as Catholics, as educators, and as professionals is to ensure the safety of our students. We belong to each other and teach all members of our school community how to form community and how to show communion with each other. We’re going to work to develop best practices to serve and to save all of your youth.
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
The Four Basic Sentence Types
Developing a clear understanding of the four basic sentence types can help your students expand their writing expertise. All sentences will fall into one of four categories.
- Declarative sentence: a statement; the most common sentence type. Example: George Washington was the first president of the United States.
- Imperative sentence: a request or command Example: Please clean up your toys.
- Interrogative sentence: asks a question and always ends with a question mark. Example: Do we have English homework today?
- Exclamatory sentence: expresses force or strong emotion, ends with an exclamation point. Example: The Bills won!
Having a solid handle on these four sentence types will pay off when students begin writing paragraphs and essays. This will lead to the ability to vary their sentence structure to create variety in their writing.
Sentence types can be taught and practiced in all subject areas. The Writing Revolution by Hochman and Wexler provides some great suggestions for this work. For example, suppose you have been studying immigration in social studies class. In that case, you can ask students to “write a question using the word immigrants, a statement using Ellis Island, an exclamation using freedom, and a command using citizen.”
Take a peek at your lesson plans this week. Where could you fit in a simple sentence activity like this? It certainly is a great way to connect content with the skills students need to acquire to become strong writers.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
Although the Mandated Services online claim is not yet available and the deadline is not until April 1st, I highly recommend that you begin working on your claim if you have not already done so. As of today, 31 elementary schools and 4 high schools have received their personalized Mandated Services Excel spreadsheets from me. If you are one of the remaining 10 elementary and nine high schools and are ready to begin working on your claim please send me an email to request your personalized “Form 1” Excel spreadsheet. Verifying the salary and benefits information and the days in the year on Form 1 is the most time-consuming part of the Mandated Services process. Once your spreadsheet has been updated, I would be happy to look it over before you begin preparing “Form 2” (found here) to get ready for online submission. Additional information will be sent to all schools when the updated forms and online claims are made available by NYSED.
Additionally, we are still waiting for updated NonPublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) grant allocations and forms to be released by NYSED. When this information is released it will be found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/schoolsafety/home.html. I also wanted to remind you that March 31, 2022 is the deadline for purchasing supplies or paying for and completing projects under the NPSE program for reimbursement this school year. If you plan to apply for 2021-2022 reimbursement, please make sure all work has been completed and paid for by March 31st. Failure to pay for and complete projects by the deadline means that you will not be able to submit for reimbursement until next year’s 2022-2023 forms are made available by NYSED closer to December 2022 for reimbursement after 3/31/2023. Please email me if you have any questions about this program.
I also wanted to remind you to check the monthly principal task list found at Principal Task List Buffalo Catholic Schools - Google Sheets to stay on top of things. For January, you may want to consider beginning pre-registration, checking student attendance records, and implementing any Teacher Improvement Plans (TIPs) needed for teachers of concern. Be sure to look ahead to the February tasks since it is right around the corner.
2/7/22 Last Day to Submit Buffalo Public Schools Textbook Requisitions
2/14/22 High School Scholarship for Academic Excellence (SAE) Nomination Due
3/23/22 Save Mandated Services Claim online for C. Riso Review
3/31/22 NYSED Nonpublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Claims Due
3/31/22 NYSED Elementary School AIS Claims Due
4/1/22 Online 2020-21 Mandated Services Claim Due to NYSED
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Save the Date!
- Revised Catholic Schools Week schedule
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:30 am on Wednesdays.
- The National Day of Giving for Catholic Schools is scheduled for Feb 2, 2022. Here's a link for more information.
- X-Stream Games, May 15, 2022.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 8th graders, Sep 20, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral
- 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's podcast is a discussion with author Mark Shea about the divisions and tensions within the Catholic Church. Previous episodes:
- 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, I'm talking with Jodee Blanco about parents bullying the school.
- Here is the link to the Dec 13th convversation 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
My Last 5 Books
- Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring our Perceptions of Discipline (2021) by Lori L. Desautels
Our Little Secret: The True Story of a Teenage Killer and the Silence of a Small New England Town (2021) by Kevin Flynn & Rebecca Lavoie
St. Francis of Assisi (2015) by G.K. Chesterton
The Power Broker: Robert Moses & the Fall of New York (1975) by Robert A. Caro
The Best of Me (2020) by David Sedaris
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.