Catholic School Matters
September 8, 2019
The Mustard Seed Project
What would you do if an entire class of students suddenly couldn’t see the whiteboard? You’d probably move away from a Powerpoint slideshow and incorporate different teaching methods. What if your entire PE class suddenly couldn’t walk? You’d stop requiring a mile run and work on different skills.
Many of our schools are seeing increasing numbers of student affected by anxiety and other mental health issues. Many of those schools are struggling with how to deal with this new normal. Fortunately, the Greeley Center at Loyola-Chicago is offering a conference next month to address mental wellness of our students.
This year’s Mustard Seed Project October 3-5 in Chicago is designed to surface these issues, present best practices and frameworks for addressing the issues, and to offer work time for school leaders (and school teams) to work toward solutions.
The Mustard Seed Project is based on the Gospel parable of the mustard seed—from the smallest of seeds can come the largest of trees. Designed to serve Catholic schools seeking to serve students with disabilities, this year’s conference has put the focus on mental health.
This week’s podcast includes interviews with Dr. Mike Boyle, the Greeley Center Director, and two of its presenters. Curtis Klesinger, the Executive Director of the Mother Teresa Academy in Regina, Saskatchewan, will lead a skill-building session and discuss how his Nativity School has a tiered intervention system. Keith Crowley, the Principal of St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts, discusses the holistic approach of their all-boys Xaverian high school and their organizational supports for student mental health. It’s a great episode focusing on cutting edge innovation in Catholic schools.
For further reading on mental health and SEL (Socio-Emotional Learning):
· A great blog entitled “Taking Care of Our Kids”
· A NY Times opinion piece entitled “We have ruined childhood”
· A great Mind/Shift article on student transitions
· A blog post on the value of Positive Behavior
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Dr. Tim Uhl
Case Studies Ripped from the Headlines
A Catholic school in Tennessee banned Harry Potter books from its library. It seems like the central issue centers on whether the school pastor has the right to ban certain books due to its spiritual content. If that answer is clear, then perhaps the question should be, "Is this the best system of governance for our schools?" If so, what is the basis for this? If not, what would be a better system? How would you handle this controversy if it came to your school? Is there anything you would have done differently?
American Catholic News
Teaching & Learning
What I'm Up To
After a great summer which found me rediscovering my love for mountain biking and golf and plenty of travel (including the old family farm in Iowa, pictured at right), I'm back at it for the new school year.
This week I am traveling to Seattle for the September WCEA meetings where we'll be learning more about the National Standards & Benchmarks and taking care of annual business. I'll be back in the office the rest of week with short trips to Butte and Great Falls.
Wednesday's Catholic School Matters Radio Hour podcast features three great guests from the upcoming Mustard Seed project in Chicago October 7-9th. This week’s podcast includes interviews with Dr. Mike Boyle, the Greeley Center Director, and two of its presenters. Curtis Klesinger, the Executive Director of the Mother Teresa Academy in Regina, Saskatewan, will lead a skill-building session and discuss how his Nativity School has a tiered intervention system. Keith Crowley, the Principal of St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts, discusses the holistic approach of their all-boys Xaverian high school and their organizational supports for student mental health. It’s a great episode focusing on cutting edge innovation in Catholic schools.
- Sunday: Travel to Seattle
- Monday: WCEA September meeting (Seattle)
- Tuesday: WCEA September meeting (Seattle)
- Wednesday: Return to Helena, afternoon meetings in Great Falls
- Thursday: Office (Helena)
- Friday: Great Falls meetings
Miles this week: 1,594 driving miles
Miles travelled in 2019-20: 9,421 road miles; 13,448 air miles
Last 5 Books
- All Learning is Social and Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom and Beyond (2019) by Nancy Frey
- The Art of Coaching Teams: Building Resilient Communities That Transform Schools (2016) by Elena Aguilar
- Trust & Reciprocity: Interdisciplinary Lesson for Experimental Research (The Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust, Vol. 6) (2005) by Einor Ostrom & James Walker (Editors)
- From Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on Male Spirituality (2005) by Richard Rohr
- Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (2019) by David Epstein
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
- Many principals were interested in the teacher observation tool used by Tina McGill at St. Joe's. It is called ObserverTab and interested principals are encouraged to contact Gary Forlini email@example.com
- 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.