Catholic School Matters

March 19, 2017

SPECIAL ISSUE: Growth Mindset

I first came across the concept of fixed mindset back in 2002 when reading Malcolm Gladwell’s article, “The Talent Myth.” He used the Enron scandal to illustrate how smart people (that is people praised for being smart) perpetuated a scandal. His argument was based in the mindset theories of Carol Dweck. What made sense to me as a teacher was how praising students for being smart often led them to take fewer risks and rest on their laurels as opposed to students praised for working hard or persevering. Those students often kept taking risks, kept working hard, and often showed the biggest improvements. Likewise, athletes praised for natural ability tended to disregard feedback and work less whereas athletes praised for their work ethic listen to feedback and worked harder.


Mindsets have implications beyond our students. What about teachers and coaches who are praised for being smart/accomplished? Or superintendents? Do we engage in learning and hard work despite that praise? Do we seek to grow through learning? Or do we believe we know it all and thus are fixed in our beliefs and practices?

Here is my updated list of growth mindset resources:


· Start here with Carol Dweck’s short 3-minute video on praise.

· This is a lengthier RSA Animate video explaining Carol Dweck’s teachings. Very appropriate and engaging for students

· “What Having a ‘Growth Mindset’ Actually Means” from Carol Dweck’s article published earlier this month in the Harvard Business Review

· “Recognizing and Overcoming False Growth Mindsets” by Carol Dweck explores how growth mindsets are misunderstood and misused

· Dweck published an article “Revisiting the Growth Mindset”

· This is a superb blog post from Shane Parrish (Farnam Street) summarizing Carol Dweck’s teachings which also includes another video from Dweck herself.

· This is another superb blog post from Maria Popova of the Brain Pickings blog which summarizes Dweck’s work

· “Common Misconceptions About Growth Mindsets” is a great article about the misuses of growth mindsets

· Vicki Davis shares 10 Growth Mindset Statements and another video

· An “Effective Effort Rubric” shows how fixed, mixed, and growth mindsets are displayed

· Larry Ferlazzo has a web page devoted to Growth Mindset

· “New Research: Students Benefit from Learning that Intelligence is Not Fixed” by Ingfei Chen spells out the direct implication for education

· “How to Normalize Mistake Making and Struggle in Class” has practical suggestions for teachers

· “How to Weave Growth Mindset Into School Culture” is a great article explore the wide-ranging effects growth mindset can have on a school

· “Never Too Late: Creating a Climate for Adults to Learn New Skills” addresses the issue of how to move our adults (teachers, staff, parents) toward a growth mindset

· “The Logic Behind the ‘Illogical’ Mindset of Students and Families in Poverty” by Angela Watson

· 25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset by InformEd

· 7 Reasons School Leaders Need a Growth Mindset by Corwin Connect

· “The Intersection of Growth Mindsets and Maker Education” explains the growth of maker education

· “How to Help Students Develop the Growth Mindset with #20 Time” is based on the Google strategy of allowing employees to devote some of their time on their own interests

· “Growth Mindset Toolkit for Parents” is a great resource

· Helping Struggling Students Develop a Growth Mindset by Edutopia

· Want to Raise Successful Kids? Praise Them Like this by INC

· Why Growth Mindsets Aren’t Working in Schools…Yet by Edsurge

· “Don’t Call Kids ‘Smart’” by the Atlantic

· Lee Araoz’s collection of Growth Mindset resources

· Doug Lemov’s guide to praise from Carol Dweck

· Larry Ferlazzo’s lesson plan on growth mindset

· Richard Byrne’s technology big ideas on growth mindset


Make sure to read Dweck's book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” which is just one of the three books highlighted in this article.


Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

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"Catholic School Matters" Podcast

This week, I have two great podcasts for your listening pleasure! Both episodes focus on innovation in Catholic education. Tomorrow, Episode #35 is in interview with Jill Kafka, the Executive Director of the Partnership Schools in New York City. Kafka discusses their unique collaborative model to save urban education in NYC.


On Thursday, Episode #35 is an interview with the one and only Joe Womac, the Executive Director of the Specialty Family Foundation in Los Angeles, which supports struggling inner-city schools in Los Angeles. Womac is the previous Executive Director of the Fulcrum Foundation in Seattle and has worked to support Catholic schools for his entire career.


Last week there were two great podcasts for your listening and educational pleasure. Episode #33 is in interview with Kelby Woodard, the President of Dallas Cristo Rey High School. Have you ever wondered how the Cristo Rey model works? This is the podcast for you.


Episode #34 is an interview with the talented veteran volleyball coach, Jim McLaughlin of Notre Dame. Jim is a devout Catholic who moved to Notre Dame a few years ago and talks about the value of working at a Catholic school. Coach McLaughlin, the only volleyball coach to win national championships as a men's and women's coach, describes how he recruits and builds his team's culture. He has valuable lessons for all school leaders.


Here is the link to the podcast on iTunes. Please subscribe to the podcast so new episodes will automatically download. The show is also available on Stitcher and Google Play. If you don't have accounts with any of those content providers, here is the link to my basic page with the podcasts.

Last week, Dr. Uhl blogged about:


  • TUESDAY: Kelby Woodard's podcast
  • WEDNESDAY: Book Blog: Why Don't Kids Like School? by Daniel Willingham
  • FRIDAY: Jim McLaughlin podcast


This week, Dr. Uhl will blog about:


  • TUESDAY: Jill Kafka's podcast
  • WEDNESDAY: Book Blog: Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be by Frank Bruni
  • FRIDAY: Joe Womac podcast


You can find and subscribe to the blog at drtimuhl.com

The Week Ahead

Monday: St. Paul's Mission Grade School WCEA visit (Hays)

Tuesday: Day 2 MGS visit

Wed: fly to Washington, DC

Thurs: USCCB meeting

Fri: return to Helena


Next week: 1,122 driving miles; 4,290 air miles

Last week: 1,036 driving miles

2016-17: 25,987 driving miles; 19,106 air miles

What I'm Reading 2016-17

  1. No One Way to School: Pluralism and American Public Education by Ashley Rogers Berner (underway)
  2. Back Blast by Mark Greaney
  3. Architects of Catholic Culture by Timothy Cook
  4. Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an American Town by Brian Alexander
  5. Beyond Reform: Systemic Shifts Toward Personalized Learning by Lindsay Unified School District
  6. Spillover by David Quammen
  7. Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman
  8. The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
  9. Weathering the Storm: Moving Catholic Schools Forward by DeFiore, Convey, & Schuttloffel
  10. Missoula by Jon Krakauer
  11. Redeeming Administration by Ann Garrido
  12. Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be by Frank Bruni
  13. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
  14. Stall Points by Matthew S. Olson & Derek van Bever
  15. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  16. Why Don't Kids Like School? by Daniel Willingham
  17. Tom Clancy: Commander in Chief by Mark Greaney
  18. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam
  19. The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  20. Reading with the daughter: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (7 books)
  21. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  22. The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey
  23. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
  24. The Purple Goldfish by Stan Phelps
  25. The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen
  26. Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
  27. Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption Cragun & Sweetman
  28. Cultures Built to Last: Systemic PLCs at Work by Fullan and DuFour
  29. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  30. Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time by Margaret J. Wheatley
  31. The Orange Frog by Shawn Achor

For Principals & Teachers

  1. Montana's DEQ has provided a great resource on lead in drinking water in schools.
  2. Are you ready for ESSA? Here is a link to a massive amount of new documents. ESSA has not been repealed and it's time to get ready! Here's more guidance from the USCCB.
  3. Vickie Donisthorpe at GF Central Catholic HS has announced her resignation from the school effective June 30th. Vickie has served for five years and we appreciate all of her fine work. A search committee has been formed and we are actively searching for the next principal.
  4. Principal/President evaluation surveys have gone out to the following schools: Billings Catholic Schools, Butte Catholic Schools, Holy Spirit, Missoula Catholic Schools, Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Heart, St. Mary's, and St. Matt's. If you are a teacher, staff member, or Advisory Council member and have not received the survey, contact your principal/president.
  5. Reminder that March 30th is the deadline for all Safe Environment reports in the Diocese of Great-Falls Billings. Please submit to Laurie Horton at the Chancery.
  6. We have secured funding for all of our teachers to spend the night in Butte so that we can hold the Fall Professional Conference in one place! The Sophia Institute will be offering catechetical professional development on Thursday, Oct 19th and then we'll kick off the conference that night with Jonathan Doyle. We'll have Mass together on Friday morning and then will hear from Jonathan again and then we'll have breakout sessions.
  7. On the Horizon:
  • St. Paul MGS WCEA visit: March 19-21
  • St. Mary's WCEA visit: March 27-29
  • Regional principal meetings: April 10 (GF), 11 (Missoula), 12 (Billings).

Growth Mindset Resources

Carol Dweck: The Effect of Praise on Mindsets
RSA ANIMATE: How To Help Every Child Fulfil Their Potential