Catholic School Matters
December 14, 2021
The Podcast Returns
Last week I re-ignited the Catholic School Matters podcast. The purpose of these 30-minute podcasts is to provide conversations for Catholic school leaders about what they need right now. The podcast conversations drop every Monday morning. You can find them here or you can subscribe wherever you get podcasts so they’ll automatically land in your queue. As we approach the Christmas holiday, podcasts might provide you with food for thought and an escape.
Top of mind for everyone is the mental health crisis for our leaders. So I led off last week with a conversation with Faustin Weber, a long-time Catholic school principal who has developed some tricks to organizing his work to prevent burnout.
This week, I’m talking with Jodee Blanco. A long-time anti-bullying crusader, she has done valuable work in parent relations. She explores why and how parents bully the school and in our conversation we talk about the power dynamics and solutions to this burgeoning problem.
Next week, I’m talking to Ann Garrido about managing conflict and we’ll talk about ways to approach and deal with conflict. (Here’s a link to a previous blog post about her previous work, Redeeming Conflict) Who couldn’t use a primer on conflict right now? Down the road, I’ll also be talking to a leadership coach about resilient leadership. I know this theme of managing this crisis will continue and you can expect more conversations around this theme.
I’ll also be speaking to Jennifer Daniels from the USCCB about school choice, with Henry Fortier of the Diocese of Orlando about CRT and leading as an African-American superintendent, and writer Mark Shea about the Church’s social teachings and divisions within the Church.
I don’t podcast for the money, rather to give school leaders another outlet to explore and improve their leadership practice in our Catholic schools. I hope you can join the conversation over Christmas. And I do hope you’re going to take some time away over Christmas—away from the office, away from your phone and email, away far enough to recharge. This is our last newsletter of 2021. May you have a blessed Christmas!
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
Reminder that we are asking for all our Diocesan schools to follow a one spectator per athlete for our basketball league. Per NY state order, masks are required in schools.
Registration Form for January 13, 2022 Principals Meeting - https://forms.gle/MvFa9R2Jhrdw6moQ8
Years of Service Recognition Form - https://forms.gle/s2BAznMkaCNFc3G67
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.
Please fill out this retention & enrollment prework by the end of December.
Kari Buchinger on Academics
In 2017, during an Advent reflection, Pope Francis said, “Joy, prayer, and gratitude are three attitudes that prepare us to live Christmas in an authentic way.” For all of the school leaders and teachers out there, I will throw in a fourth need, rest!
The next couple of weeks will be filled with Christmas programs, holiday parties, meetings, family demands, shopping, and finally, a joyful celebration for the birth of our Lord. Then, after all of that excitement, you have a choice to make. Are you going to dive back into work? Or, use this break to rest and recharge? Let me answer that for you. REST and RECHARGE! The task lists aren’t going to disappear. The emails can be answered upon your return. But, you will not have another week to rest for months. Please don’t waste it!
- Add an out-of-office message to your email. It is ok if you don’t check your email every day.
- Turn off email notifications on your phone. It is impossible to unplug if you hear constant dings.
- Stay away from your school buildings. Nothing needs to be accomplished there right now.
- Sleep! Go to bed early, turn alarms off and sleep in when you can.
- Take some time each day just for yourself. Read a book (not about work!), go for a walk, watch your favorite tv show, try out a new recipe, take a nap.
- Be present, set aside the running to-do list that lives in your mind, and enjoy this holiday season with your family and friends.
January is right around the corner, and with it comes reenrollment, recruiting, Catholic Schools Week, classroom observations, lesson plans, assessments, and so much more. To prepare, recharge. So, grab the popcorn and hot cocoa, switch on a Hallmark Christmas movie, wrap up in a comfy blanket and relax. Don’t you dare feel bad… even God rested on the 7th day.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
As 2021 draws to a close, please remember that I am available to assist you as you interact with your public school districts on Title services, nursing, busing, textbooks, and Special Education. The cyclical nature of these programs means that consultation will begin in the next few months in preparation for your 2022-2023 participation. If you are interested, I would be happy to join you for any of your public school consultation meetings if I am available.
12/16/21 Fire Safety Report Must be Submitted Online by 12/16/2021
12/31/21 Complete Eight of the 12 Required Evacuation or Lockdown Drills.
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Save the Date!
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:30 am on Wednesdays.
- Administrators Meeting, 8-3, January 13th, St. Andrew Country Day School.
- Cocktails for Catholic Education, January 27 2022, 6-8 pm.
- Bishop Fisher's schedule for Catholic Schools Week is listed here.
- 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
The podcast has returned. This week, I'm talking with Jodee Blanco about parents bullying the school. Last week, Here is the link to the 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
Pictured above is Bishop McMahon High School. The former all-girls Diocesan high school on Delaware Avenue, it is the alma mater of one of our staff members.
Did you Know?
The last Catholic school opened in Buffalo before the Diocese was created in 1847 was St. Mary's Parish school downtown. It had over 1000 students in 1850 and no longer is open.
My Last 5 Books
- 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
Retention: A Systems Approach to Growing Enrollment (2018) by Mike Ziemski
Creation: A Catholic's Guide to God and the Universe (2021) by Christopher T. Baglow
Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring our Perceptions of Discipline (2021) by Lori L. Desautels
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.