Catholic School Matters

November 9, 2021

Crisis Operations

I often find myself toggling between management tasks and leadership demands. Management tasks are the day-to-day operations that keep us busy every day. As a principal these were the carline duties, the skinned knees, discipline referrals, and supply orders. As a superintendent, those are the meetings and weekly tasks that keep the office humming. Leadership, however, is the strategic thinking that provides vision and direction. We must be able to be both strategic and operational.

You can find lots of articles on leadership, challenging you to think big, get on the balcony, double down, etc. I’m finding these days that the fires that need to be extinguished are beginning to dominate my days. Many of our school leaders are in crisis and the idea of thinking strategically seems laughable. So we need to find ways to handle the operational without getting overwhelmed.

So let me remind you of our Principal Task List we created over the summer. This was not intended to give you more work, instead to help organize your time to make you more efficient. This is broken up by month so you can take a look at November and earlier months to stave off FOMO.

This is a busy stretch before Thanksgiving and we’re sensing that many of our teachers and principals are beginning to feel the pressure. Be gentle, be considerate, assume positive intent, and let’s pray for each other.

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Dr. Tim Uhl

Office Updates

  1. Grade 8 Graduating Class of 2022 Diploma Order Form. Orders are due by Friday, November 12th .

  2. The BPO concert has been canceled.

  3. If you'd like your school's open house listed on our website, please send to Cathryn.

Kari Buchinger on Academics

I hope the last few weeks have sparked your desire to find time in your schedule for independent reading. We know this process can significantly impact student learning and identity as a reader, especially when students have a specific purpose to read. A good teacher plans a lesson in order to support students as they work toward mastering an objective. Independent reading should also be guided by an objective and mini-lesson teaching or reinforcing that skill.

For example, in the video below, you will see a teacher teach a mini-lesson about the importance of going back and rereading a section of your book that doesn’t make sense. After teaching that lesson, the students will be prompted to put that strategy into action while independently reading. While students are independently reading, the teacher is circulating to host a conference to see the students put the technique taught into practice while reading. These interactions allow teachers to collect data about student mastery and, in turn, make decisions about who needs greater support with that given skill.

K-3 E8 Supporting Independent Reading Sample Video - YouTube

This approach creates a purpose for reading and allows students to have authentic practice with essential literacy skills using a text that is of interest to them. As you look at your scope and sequence, you may be able to identify specific literacy skills that would be best taught and practiced during independent reading time. Give it a try! Come back next week as we explore the teacher/student conference in greater detail.

Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari

Chris Riso on Government Services

Good news on the COVID vaccine front. The NYSDOH has released the following statement on their website: “The CDC has recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5 – 11 year-olds. Parents and guardians looking to schedule vaccine appointments for children ages 5 - 11 are encouraged to contact their child's pediatrician, family physician, local county health department, FQHC, or pharmacies that may be administering the vaccine for this age group.” Please be sure to communicate this opportunity to your families. Remember, fully-vaccinated individuals who come in close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals will not have to quarantine and can remain in school unless they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (Quarantines & Contacts | Department of Health (

Please call me if you are having problems submitting your NYS BEDS or NYS Fire Safety Reports to NYSED.

Important Dates:

11/19/21 BEDS Report Due to NYSED via Business Portal IRS-Data Exchange

12/1/21 Fire Safety Inspection Must be Completed; Report Due 12/15/2021

Previous posts from Mr. Riso

Save the Date!

  1. Weekly principal Zooms at 9:30 am on Wednesdays. This week we'll discuss lesson plans--when to collect, best formats, etc.
  2. School Visit Schedule


  1. All-schools Mass at OLV with Bishop Fisher. Here is the link to Dr. Uhl's talk.
  2. "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
  3. Here's a link to the forms on our website.
  4. New Policy Manual
  5. New Operations Manual
  6. Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form

Articles for Your Reflection

Why Reading Aloud Never Gets Old

Catholic School Matters

A weekly newsletter of resources to spur enrollment and excellence in our Catholic schools.

What I'm Reading

    1. Leading Change: An Action Plan from the World's Foremost Expert on Business Leadership (1996) by John P. Kotter
    2. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World (2003) by Chris Lowney

    3. Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community (2009) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    4. The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church (2014) by Pope Francis

    5. The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso (2003 edition) by Dante Alighieri

            Click this link for a full list of my professional reading

            Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

            November 2, 2021 "Chain of Care"

            October 26, 2021 "Our Strategic Priorities"

            October 19, 2021 "Enrollment Numbers"

            October 12, 2021 "Core Beliefs"

            October 5, 2021 "A Culture of Collaboration"

            For previous newsletters, click this link