Catholic School Matters

May 12, 2019

Social Emotional Leadership

At the NCEA Conference I attended a session on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) by Dr. Lauren Casella of LMU and Tracy Mayhue of St. Anastasia’s in Los Angeles. I picked up the book All Learning is Social and Emotional and discovered how this emphasis on SEL can reshape our approach to learning. I recommend the book for delineating the skills of SEL and offering practical suggestions. It occurred to me that the SEL approach is essentially Catholic—it focuses on individual student formation and on the whole person.

When I read this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about how a teacher came back to teaching when she found a school which focused on relationships, I saw the same SEL theoretical framework. If we put our relationships first, we’ll have different schools. And this needs to come from our leaders who need to demonstrate Social Emotional Leadership.

I saw this article from HBR entitled “Pressure Doesn’t Have to Turn into Stress” and thought of the kind of Social Emotional Leadership that our leaders need to adopt, a skill of turning pressure into productivity and away from destructive stress.

But what does Social Emotional Leadership look like? We lost one of the best examples with the passing of Jean Vanier last week. The founder of the L’Arche movement, Vanier believed the able-bodied and disabled could/should live together in community. In fact, the disabled members were called “core members” and put at the center of the community. Relationships weren’t just important to Vanier—they were essential.

How would your leadership practice look different if you elevated the social and emotional? How different would our schools look?

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Dr. Tim Uhl

Big picture

Leadership Scenario

1. You wander onto the practice field after school one day and are greeted with a cacophony of swear words uttered by students and coaches alike. You approach the coach after practice and he takes a “boys will be boys” approach. That is not acceptable and you request a formal meeting with him and the Athletic Director the next day. Before the meeting, however, a few parents call to tell you that you don’t understand the culture of football and if you persist in disciplining the coach, you can say goodbye to the Annual Fund goal.

American Catholic News

Catholic Schools Closing, Opening, Consolidating

  1. PA Catholic school to close
  2. Two Quad Cities school consider consolidation
  3. Detroit-area Catholic school to adopt a classical approach

Leadership Links

CAPE's May Outlook

Teaching & Learning


What I'm Up To

At right is a selfie with Barb from Nebraska and her principal, Maureen Berg, from my alma mater, St. Margaret Mary in Omaha. Barb teaches in my old 3rd grade room and Maureen is excelling in her first year in Spartan land. I'm spending a little time this week in the office as I catch up with the paperwork I love! In my spare time, I'm working on my University of Dayton presentation for the Catholic Education Summit on June 21st and my ICSL workshop on Moral Leadership (July 14-17 in Indianapolis).

Wednesday's Catholic School Matters Radio Hour podcast features four great guests from the NCEA Convention last month. I spoke to Catholic education thought leaders in two different conversations.

The first guest was Sr. Angie Shaughnessy of Loyola Marymount, the legal expert. Fresh from one of her NCEA sessions, Sr. Angie shared many hot topics in Catholic school law. We discussed the abuse crisis but also touched on areas of negligence, serving all students, and a variety of other topics. Sr. Angie is plugged in and provides great insight into the issues surfacing in our schools.

Next up was a panel of Catholic university leaders who support Catholic schools at their different institutions: Tom Kiely, the Director of the Institute for Catholic Leadership at Marquette University; Sr. Rosemarie Nassif, the Executive Director of the Center for Catholic Education at Loyola Marymount; and Kristin Melley, the Director of Professional Development at the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College.

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: Office (Helena)
  • Tuesday: Virtual Admin meetings at 9 am and 1 pm
  • Wednesday: Missoula & Butte meetings
  • Thursday: Office (Helena)
  • Friday: Office (Helena)

Miles next week: 353 driving miles

Miles travelled in 2018-19: 30,228 road miles; 73,636 air miles

Last 5 Books

  1. All Learning is Social and Emotional (2019) by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and Dominique Smith
  2. The Courage to Teach Guide for Reflection & Renewal (2017 ) by Parker Palmer
  3. Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life ( 2011) by Richard Rohr
  4. No Man is an Island (2003) by Thomas Merton
  5. Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Biodiversity (2015) by Steve Silberman

Click this link for a full list of my professional reading

For Montana Administrators & Teachers

  • The next scheduled Virtual Admin meeting is May 14th
  • We are currently looking for a principal for St. Matthew's Catholic School in Kalispell.

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

April 28, 2019 "Book Recommendations"

April 14, 2019 "Brother Placid"

April 7, 2019 "Fighting Clericalism"

March 24, 2019 "Cristo Rey"

March 10, 2019 "Prayer and Leadership"

February 24, 2019 "Culture and Relationships"

February 10, 2019 "Leadership"

February 3, 2019 "NCEA Convention Preview"

January 27, 2019 "Catholic Schools Week"

January 20, 2019 "School Choice"

January 13, 2019 "What's Your Story?"

January 6, 2018 "Happy New Year"

December 2, 2018 "Building Community"

November 18, 2018 "Reframing Enrollment"

November 4, 2018 "Looking at Disaffiliation"

October 21, 2018 "Getting out of the Ditch"

October 7, 2018 "Truth, Mercy, and the Synod"

September 23, 2018 "Native American Experience"

September 16, 2018 "How Are We Forming our Leaders?"

September 9, 2018 "Where is Your Attention?"