Catholic School Matters

October 1, 2017

The Un-Themed Newsletter

It’s now October! Can you feel it? Our focus is being divided into a myriad of different directions. We’re entering the heart of a school year. To that end, I’m going to present a smorgasbord of different articles in this “un-themed” newsletter.

In the American Catholic news section:

·Kathleen Porter-Magee, the Superintendent of NYC's Partnership Schools, offer a great blog post on their 5-year mark which speaks to the future of all American Catholic schools.

The Catholic school system in Billings hopes to sell a now-abandoned school building

· Massive parish consolidation plan announced for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The article touches on issues many of us face: fewer priests, lower attendance, older physical plants, fewer sacraments, etc.

· A blogger in Massachusetts argues that Catholic schools could remain open if school choice were implemented

· Father Stanley Rother was beatified last week. He has been declared the first American-born martyr.

· St. Louis Catholics work to unite city amid racial tensions

· The innovative Bishop Kearney HS in NY is spotlighted

· Pope Francis advocates for migrants

· An Australian university publishes a report on the origins of Church sexual abuse.

· Alt-right Catholics are getting faith leaders disinvited from speaking at colleges. In the K-12 system, we need to pay attention to the breakdown of discourse and rise of authoritarian tactics.

· NCR has a nice summary of the “heresy” allegations against Pope Francis, which seem to be a small fringe group without any widespread support.

· South Carolina bishop blesses the brand new St. Elizabeth Ann Seton HS

· The ACE Teaching Fellows video highlights the great work of the ACE Teachers

In the Leadership section:

· The Farnam Street Blog offers The Difference Between Open-Minded and Closed-Minded People. When is the last time you changed your mind?

· The Dangerously Irrelevant blog offers How School Leaders Can Combat Filter Bubbles and Fake News

· Tanner Higgin in Edutopia offers a primer on Protecting Student Privacy on Social Media

· Education Week presents The School Climate Problem (and What We Can Do About It)

In the Teaching & Instruction section:

· Why Students Forget—and What You Can Do About It by Youki Terada in Edutopia is a great read on brain science.

· Elizabeth Garcia presents a great guide to Project-Based Learning, Meshelle Smith offers a primer on Genius Hour in Elementary School, and Vicki Davis offer 5 Ways to Flip Your Classroom

· Terry Heick argues that cognitive load theory is the most important thing a teacher should know and Lisa Nielsen argues that It’s Class Load, Not Just Size, That Matters

· Katrina Schwartz covers the reasons for shifting to an intentional advisory model in order to assist students

· Larry Ferlazzo offers a web page on national anthem protests which can be combined with 8 Ways Teachers Can Address White Supremacy, How to Create a Simple Timeline-Based Game, Making Social Studies more Social for all Kindergarteners and Can Teaching Civics Save Democracy to provide more social studies resources.

· Lisa Nielsen offers ideas on teaching financial literacy.

· 48 Critical Thinking Questions for any subject is a valuable resource

In the Miscellaneous section:

· The HBR article on the 4-digit price of the new iPhone echoes an oft-argued claim about where to set a tuition level—too low makes it affordable but also risks seeming of low quality, too high makes it unattainable but seemingly of high value.

· HBR’s article on Bruce Springsteen and rock star leadership is quite insightful

· The Hechinger Report gave a great compilation of Voices from DACA students

· A great article on the decline of marriage from the New York Times How Did Marriage Become a Mark of Privilege is insightful

· Because I’m a parent of two young boys, I’m always reading articles like Fragile Boy Friendships and Why They Matter So Much

· StoryCorps released an animated video on the Vietnam War. With the new attention being paid to the Vietnam War, it’s a worthwhile watch.

Want to keep up with the conversations surrounding Catholic education? Set up your own Google Alert, subscribe to this newsletter by clicking "follow," subscribe to the Catholic Schools Daily, or subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast. Keep reading.

Dr. Tim Uhl

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What I'm Up To

After two weeks of Catholic Leadership Summit (CLS) previews, I am now turning my attention to a more focused approach to the CLS. Dr. Tom Burnford has declared that NCEA will be incorporating Joy of the Gospel and market research of Catholic schools into creating a new vision for American Catholic schools. Last week, podcast #76 was a conversation with Superintendent David Faber about Joy of the Gospel. Tomorrow's podcast #77 will be a dive into the market research. Finally, I'll talk to Dr. Tom Burnford on October 9th. He'll preview his ideas about incorporating the two.

Here is the link to the podcast on iTunes. 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.

I'm continuing to develop a "Church Documents" podcast study series. The series will kick off October 30th and will trace Church documents on Catholic education from Vatican II until today. I recommend you order At The Heart of the Church so that you can read along.

Here's what I'm working on this week:

  • Monday: Office (Helena); CLS Preview Podcast Episode #77: Market Research with Jennifer Robbins of Mayhill Strategies.
  • Tuesday: Virtual Admin Meetings at 9 am or 1 pm.
  • Wednesday: Helena chancery meeting & Great Falls meetings. Wed book blog The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis.
  • Thursday: Visit to St. Jude Thaddeus School (Havre).
  • Friday: Office (Helena); continue production of Church Documents podcast series; record podcast #78 with Dr. Tom Burnford.

Miles this week: 439 road miles

Miles travelled in 2017-18: 8,135 road miles; 4,866 air miles

American Catholic News

Leadership Links

Teaching & Instruction



  • Seton Gala Oct 2nd
  • Catholic Leadership Summit October 22-25, 2017
  • Convention, April 3-5, 2018 Cincinnati


  • At the Seton Gala, Archbishop Robert Carlson (St. Louis), Dennis Smith of Manteno IL, Rita and Lamar Hunt, Jr. of Kansas City, and Joseph Weston of Portland will be honored.
  • Sr. Mary Shaughnessy, SCN, will be honored with the President's Award at the Seton Gala
  • Nominations for the spring awards are now open: Lead, Learn, Proclaim Awards; President's Awards; and Youth Virtues, Vision and Valor are now open. Click here for more information.

Professional Development

  • Click here to register for webinars
  • Oct 3rd: Strong Catholic Families
  • Oct 5th: Marketing Your School During Catholic Schools Week & Year Round
  • Oct 10th: Using Video Across the Curriculum
  • Oct 11th: How to Save a Bullied Child or a Bully in Crisis
  • Oct 12th: Twitter 101 for Educators
  • Featured Resource: School Handbooks: Legal Considerations

What I'm Reading

  1. When Breath Becomes Air (2016) by Paul Kanalithi.
  2. Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night (2017) by Jason Zinoman.
  3. Wait, What? And LIfe's Other Essential Questions by James E. Ryan. (finished)
  4. Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow's Schools, Today by Eric Sheninger & Thomas Murray (finished)
  5. The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis (finshed)

Click this link for a full list of my professional reading along with links to Wed Book Blogs

For Montana Administrators & Teachers

  • Here is the flyer advertising the Catholic Teacher Days October 19th & 20th in Butte, America. Since the University of Notre Dame jumped on board with two different presentations--one on Science & Religion and another on reaching high-risk students by the American Indian Catholic School network--here is the new flyer.
  • Here is the flyer for the Sophia professional development for religion teachers on October 19th in Butte, America
  • Here is the slideshow for the Oct 3rd Admin Virtual meeting, including the login info and agenda. Please read pp. 41-54 of Redeeming Administration.

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

September 24, 2017 "Joy of the Gospel"

September 17, 2017 "ESSA"

September 10, 2017 "On Leadership"

August 27, 2017 "American Catholic News"

August 20, 2017 Back to School Issue