Catholic School Matters
November 23, 2021
One year ago, I really didn’t feel like being thankful. I had been told last fall that my position was being eliminated and had begun to taste disappointment when I didn’t land a few positions. In the midst of COVID, we were going to uproot our family and move somewhere and do something. The uncertainty and stress were a little much.
But not at all times.
I was touched by friends reaching out to connect, by friends and family saying they were praying for me, even LinkedIn connections reaching out to help. When an old colleague tells you they are praying for you every day, it gives you pause. That support gave me renewed enthusiasm for this vocation of Catholic school leadership. I was more determined than ever to lead and find a position in this space.
Fast forward one year and we’re in a much better place. One day in January I saw on Twitter that a new bishop was installed in Buffalo and his homily was posted. I read it and saw that he thanked Catholic school teachers for being heroes during COVID. I knew I’d like to work for a bishop who prioritized education. I knew Buffalo wasn’t too big, was affordable, and had a reputation as a great place to raise a family. I applied two days later and had secured an interview within a week. My first interview was on Ash Wednesday and by the end of February had been offered the position.
COVID is still here and it continues to frustrate and confuse us all. The headwinds of bankruptcy, declining church participation, and dwindling support for Catholic schools remains. But we have a great system of Catholic schools and great people committed to making them better. We’re trying to build a collaborative culture here based on trust. We’ve made progress.
Our three kids are in a great Catholic school with a great parish, we live in very nice walkable neighborhood, and we are happy with the opportunities for them. The stress and uncertainty of one year ago seem like a distant memory. And I’m grateful.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
If you'd like to nominate a great Catholic school teacher for the "Making a Difference" award, the deadline is December 31st. Here is more information.
Bishop Fisher wrote a letter encouraging vaccinations in September in case you'd like to use it now.
If you'd like your school's open house listed on our website, please send to Cathryn.
CSAANYS has partnered with St. John's University to organize an Emerging Leaders Institute for those teachers interested in becoming principals. Here's a flyer with more information.
Kari Buchinger on Academics
A few years ago, I received a gratitude journal. Each day, it has become a habit to take a moment to write down something that I am grateful for. In preparation for Thanksgiving, I read back through my journal and giggled at the silly things I chose to write down. But this reminded me that, day-to-day, we can lose sight of the gifts God has given us, both big and small. When I look at what is going on in our Catholic Schools, it is clear our blessings are abundant.
We are blessed to have...
Bishop Fisher, priests, sisters, and deacons who advocate for Catholic education.
School leaders who care deeply about their students, teachers, and families.
Teachers who have found a way to impact student learning each day in their classrooms despite the challenges surrounding them.
Students who bring endless curiosity and excitement with them to school each day.
School families that continue to choose a Catholic education for their children.
I pray you have a moment to reflect on the blessings in your own life as we celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare for the season of Advent.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
We are almost through the fall reporting season. Great work everyone! The best way to stay on top of state and federal requirements and deadlines is by viewing the "Principal Task List" regularly. We try to keep all important tasks here to help keep you organized.
As a quick reminder, your Fire Safety Inspection must be completed by December 1st. This year the Fire Safety Reports for all schools not located in the city of Buffalo must be submitted via the NYSED Business Portal by 12/16/21. Information on the process and the required forms can be found on this webpage: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/fire_safety_report.html
12/1/21 Fire Safety Inspection Must be Completed; Report Due 12/16/2021
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Save the Date!
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:30 am on Wednesdays. Nothing scheduled this week!
- The National Day of Giving for Catholic Schools is scheduled for FEb 2, 2022. Here's a link for more information.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 8th graders, Sep 20, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral
Notre Dame High School
Articles for Your Reflection
Pictured above is the old Canisius College & high school next to the still standing St. Michael's church on Washington Street
Did you Know?
The first Catholic school in Buffalo was Our Lady of Mercy which opened in 1847.
My Last 5 Books
- Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community (2009) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church (2014) by Pope Francis
The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso (2003 edition) by Dante Alighieri
The Future of Catholic Higher Education: The Open Circle (2021) by James L. Heft, S.M.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Practice & Principles (2006 ) by Peter F. Drucker
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.