Montana Catholic Schools Weekly

February 8, 2016

Our Newest Catholic School

Our state’s newest Catholic school opened in January in Lodge Grass, Montana. The St. Labre Indian School network opened up a preschool in Lodge Grass, a small town on the Crow Reservation. The school serves 12 preschool students (tuition-free) and is teaching a dual language immersion model (Crow & English languages). Here is a short video of one of the teachers, Alfetta Jefferson, teaching in Crow.

Lodge Grass was once a mixed nationality small town with well-kept houses, restaurants, a hardware store, and other small businesses. For a variety of reasons, Lodge Grass slipped into a majority poverty small town. These reasons include the construction of Interstate 90 outside of town (which made driving to Hardin or Billings much easier for retail and entertainment options) and racial tensions which caused most of the white residents to flee (dropping the value of houses, which then led to further poverty). Lodge Grass is not a very appealing place to live by any measure (aesthetic, socio-economic, etc.).

Into this depressed environment stepped St. Labre. Many of the young people make the 25 mile trip to St. Xavier every day to attend Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy, a K-8 Catholic school run by the St. Labre network. And then many of these same students enroll at St. Labre HS after Pretty Eagle and live in the dorms during the week. St. Labre has decided that early learning is a new frontier. The Lodge Grass preschool was opened in the Our Lady of Loretto parish building which boasts four classrooms, a gym, and a kitchen.

I believe it's appropriate that the Lodge Grass preschool is our newest school. Pope Francis has challenged Catholics to minister on the margins of society. This school fits that category. He has called for a poor church to serve the poor.

The St. Labre Indian School network now operates six Indian Catholic schools in their tuition-free model. St. Labre is able to raise enough money to serve their mission of providing a Catholic education on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations. St. Labre is able to meld Catholic and native traditions, as seen in a video taken by yours truly last week at their All-School Mass.

Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

The Week Ahead

Monday: Office (Helena); spring WCEA self-studies due

Tuesday: Office (Helena)

Wednesday: chancery meetings (Great Falls)

Thursday: office (Helena)

Friday: UGF Board of Trustees (Great Falls)

This week: 465 miles

Last week: 1,061 miles

2015-16: 15,629 driving miles; 7,844 air miles

Montana Catholic Schools

Serving 3800+ students in 24 Catholic schools across the Treasure State

For Principals

  1. There is a new SSO (Student Scholarship Organization) which will begin providing scholarships to students in private schools. It is called Big Sky Scholarships and has our complete support. Here is the link to the donations page.
  2. For the March regional meetings--March 15th at Miles City; March 17th at Hays; March 22nd at Butte. All meetings will start at 10 am and lunch will be provided by the hosts.
  3. Here is the link to the Monthly Principal tasks. Intent forms for faculty/staff should be distributed soon.

American Catholic News

Dr. Craig Pearson wins Billings Central Educator of the Year

  1. The Billings Gazette links are often hard to open. Here is the link to the story
  2. Here's another way to get to the article

Lent & Ash Wednesday Resources

  1. Matthew Kelly of "Dynamic Catholic" has a program called "The Best Lent Ever." This link has the description and a short video. I'm signed up!
  2. Busted Halo's two minute video on Lent & Ash Wednesday.
  3. Sadlier's Lenten resources page. For those of you with the "We Believe" series, this should match up pretty well.
  4. Funny video about Lent. If you like religious parody, this is it.
  5. "A Catechist's Journey" blog about Lent.
  6. Fr. Mike from Ascension Press gives a reflection on Lent.
  7. Dr. Carolyn Woo's Lenten reflection from last year.
  8. Lenten resources from Loyola Press.

Leadership Links

CAPE February newsletter

This is the link to the newsletter. There is an excellent discussion about Blaine Amendments and the current challenges, including one at the Supreme Court level.

Teaching & Learning

Resources for Morning Meetings


From the New York Times, Jessica Lahey's article, "When Children Say 'I Can't,' but They Can, and Adults Know It"
From the New York Times, "In Oakland, Building Boys into Men"