Catholic School Matters

August 14, 2016

The Back to School Issue

This is the "Back to School" issue filled with resources for teachers as well as articles exploring what it takes for a successful start of the year. While planning for this issue, I read something by Shawn Achor, the author of "The Orange Frog" (a little parable about positive psychology) as well as "The Happiness Advantage" which I recall reading on a flight a few years back.


Achor describes a concept called "Zorro Circles" where big goals were broken down into smaller behaviors. At a large hospital chain, they decided they wanted to become friendlier and more welcoming. They changed to social scripts for all employees based on Ritz Carlton expectations. Employees were trained to make eye contact at 10 feet and to say hello if within 5 feet. The results were remarkable as patient satisfaction was markedly higher.


For many students and parents, going back to school--especially a new school--is stressful. Many of us Montanans are trained to mind our own business. But what if we made a point to say hello to everyone we came across? If an unwelcoming and stressful environment like a hospital can become more friendlier, why can't our schools?


It's a busy time and we all have lots to do. Try to keep that anxious student (or new teacher!) in mind as you go about your work.


Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

The Week Ahead

Monday: New Teacher & Administrator Retreat (Great Falls)

Tuesday: retreat (cont)

Wednesday: Billings Central Golf Tournament (Billings)

Thursday: Billings Catholic Schools orientation (Billings)

Friday: office (Helena) & travel to Crow Agency

Saturday: Crow Fair


This week: 1,308 miles

Last week: 394 miles

2016-17: 2,435 miles

What I'm Reading 2016-17

  1. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  2. Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time by Margaret J. Wheatlet (finished)
  3. The Orange Frog by Shawn Achor (finished)

Montana Catholic Schools

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

For Principals

  1. The New Teacher & Administrator Retreat starts tomorrow in Great Falls. Here is the schedule. Principals, please see the email sent August 4th with details. Special thanks to FACTS for sponsoring our banquet. We're looking forward to welcoming Doug Tooke as our retreat director. He's a true retreat master.
  2. The flyer advertising the Development workshop can be found here. Bernard Dumond of Leadership 360, a Catholic school development consulting firm, will be the featured speaker. Please make sure everyone involved with development, recruiting, and marketing is aware of these free workshops.
  3. The link to the flyer advertising the Professional Development days can be found here. There are a number of great sessions serving teachers of all grade levels.
  4. I have been working on a new administrator evaluation instrument. Administrators need to look at it and give me feedback before our October meetings. Here is the link.
  5. On Tuesday, we'll talk about the new goal forms based on this instrument. Please take a look at the form in advance.
  6. Another form I will introduce on Tuesday is the Student Accommodation form. If you already have an effective form, that's fine. But if you'd like to collaborate on this form, take a look here.
  7. I posted the results of our MAP testing district wide (all Montana Catholic Schools who took the test) which will give you another data point to compare your own scores. The link is here.
  8. The "Culture of Life" Conference is coming up in Helena. Sponsored by the Montana Catholic Conference, the speakers will include Cardinal DiNardo of Houston, Camille Pauley, and others. September 9-10. The conference should hold interest of educators as well as students. Here is a link to the flyer.

Back to School for Teachers

Back to School for Principals

Back To School, Back To School