Catholic School Matters

September 15, 2019

New Catholic Schools!

First, the good news. There are a slew of new Catholic schools dotting the landscape and we need to celebrate this good news. I’ll be interviewing most of the new school leaders on the Catholic School Matters podcast. This week, I’ll drop two podcasts including conversations with seven founders of these new Catholic schools.

In West Texas, the long dream of a Catholic high school in the Diocese of San Angelo came true this fall as Holy Cross High School opened its doors to 9th and 10th graders. Founding Principal Carolyn Gonzalez in on the podcast and describes the efforts of the community to open this great new school.

The Cristo Rey Network of schools added two more schools this fall. Cristo Rey St. Viator High School opened in North Las Vegas with a freshman class of almost 100 and a brand new building! It’s the first Cristo Rey HS to open in a brand new building, courtesy of a $35 million capital campaign. Founding president Fr. Tom von Behren, CSV, joins me on the podcast to describe the great work.

Cristo Rey Richmond High School opened in the former Benedictine High School with 96 students. CEO/Founding President Peter McCourt joins me on the podcast to tell the story of this great new school.

In Denver, Our Lady of Victory High School opened under the classical model as part of the Chesterton Schools network. Founding president Dr. R. Jared Staudt joins me on the podcast to describe the efforts of establishing this unique high school.

Another unique school, Kolbe Catholic Academy, opened its doors as the nation’s first Catholic recovery school designed to serve students in the Lehigh Valley battling drug and alcohol addiction. Founding principal John Petruzzelli joins me on the podcast to talk about their successful new model.

After a $30 million plus capital campaign by the Light of Christ Catholic Schools in Bismarck, a new St. Mary’s Central High School opened. President Gerald Vetter returns to the podcast to describe the efforts to build this great new high school.

In Cleveland, St. Ignatius High School founded a new Jesuit middle school, the Welsh Academy, to serve low income youth. Founding president Fr. Raymond Guaio, SJ joins me to describe the dream of this unique effort.

In Traverse City, the diocese was able to demolish an old building and establish a brand new Immaculate Conception School. Central Catholic HS in San Antonio celebrated a $12 million upgrade to its facility. In Rockford, a new Catholic school opened, consolidating four former schools into a new venture. New Hampshire saw its second new Catholic school open in as many years.

Last spring, I shared the news of a new STEM high school in Burbank and a planned new classical high school in Burnsville, Minnesota. There are many stories to celebrate!

At the same time, we need to be vigilant. Over the summer, I came across news of 7 Catholic schools which were suddenly closed:

o Pittsburgh schools suddenly closed

o Brooklyn Catholic school’s sudden closure

o Coleman Catholic HS (NY) closes over the summer

o St Gertrude closes (Corpus Christi)

o Massachusetts school closes suddenly over the summer

o Rhode Island school closes over the summer

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

Big picture

Case Studies Ripped from the Headlines

In this section, I present a Catholic school controversy in the headlines. I don't mean to single out one school or criticize its leaders. I want to present the story and offer you a few questions to consider in case this controversy lands on your desk this year. I encourage you to look at the particulars of the situation to understand the intricacies of the controversy.

A Catholic school teacher in Queens claims she was fired for being single and is suing for wrongful termination. The school claims she was fired for an inappropriate affair. The teacher claims there is a double standard for single teachers. How would you respond to the private activities of your teachers? Or would you?

American Catholic News

The dual-language school in Texas revitalizing Catholic education
Two blog posts were sent to me and deserve a look. Rob Birdsell, the Executive Director for the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship in Education, writes about the need for Catholic schools to change their focus to what parents want based on the NCEA marketing report. Frank Donaldson, the President of IPSD, described how one school increased its enrollment by 50 students. It's a great reminder of the simple steps that every school can take.

Leadership Links

Teaching & Learning


What I'm Up To

This week I'll be traveling to various schools around the state and participating in three board meetings. When the weather is good, I'm trying to get out and see Catholic education in action!

This week, I am interviewing 7 school leaders from around the country who were instrumental in opening new Catholic schools. I decided to divide them into two podcasts. On Wednesday's Catholic School Matters Radio Hour podcast I start with a conversation with Fr. Tom von Behren, CSV, the founding president of Cristo Rey St. Viator in Las Vegas. Then John Petruzzelli, the founding principal of Kolbe Catholic Academy, the nation's first Catholic recovery high school, joins me from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Then Carolyn Gonzalez, the founding principal of Holy Cross High School in West Texas and the Diocese of San Angelo, describes the efforts to establish the diocese's only Catholic high school. Finally, President Gerald Vetter of Light of Christ Catholic Schools in Bismarck, comes back on the podcast to describe the grand opening of the brand new St. Mary's High School.

On Friday, I'll release another podcast featuring three other new Catholic schools. Peter McCourt, the founding CEO of Cristo Rey Richmond High School, is the first guest. Then Dr. Jared Staudt, the founding president of the Chesterton Academy of Our Lady of Victory in Denver, describes their new classical high school. Fr. Raymond Guaio, the founding president of Welsh Jesuit Academy in Cleveland, describes the Jesuit effort to found a middle school near St. Ignatius High School.

Here is the link to the podcast. Here are videos showing you how to download and subscribe to a podcast on iTunes and how to download and subscribe a podcast on Android.

  • Monday: Visit to St. Matt's (Kalispell)
  • Tuesday: Visit to DLSBS (Browning) & Holy Trinity Board meeting in Great Falls
  • Wednesday: Visit to Butte Central Schools & Board meeting
  • Thursday: Office (Helena)
  • Friday: Office (Helena)

Miles this week: 688 driving miles

Miles travelled in 2019-20: 11,015 road miles; 13,448 air miles

Last 5 Books

    1. From Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on Male Spirituality (2005) by Richard Rohr
    2. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (2019) by David Epstein
    3. All is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day (2011) by Jim Forest
    4. Mere Christianity (2015) by C.S. Lewis
    5. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race (2017) by Beverly Daniel Tatum

            Click this link for a full list of my professional reading

            For Montana Administrators & Teachers

            • The slide show from the Sep 3rd Virtual Admin meeting
            • The FACTS Ed registration form should be arriving this week for the October 17-18 Catholic Teacher Days
            • Last week you should have received a link to your online OKR worksheet. If you didn't receive it, please contact the office. Information should be based on your Sep 15th numbers, please input by Sep 22nd.
            • Last week I sent out a form to register your religion teachers for the catechetical workshop on Oct 17th. Please complete this ASAP

            Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

            Sep 8, 2019 "The Mustard Seed Project"