Catholic School Matters
March 28, 2023
News & Notes
Because we’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off for Holy Week & Easter, I thought I would include six important things in no particular order.
There have been issues and questions surrounding sacramental preparation in schools especially in light of the reorganization of many parishes. This letter hopes to clarify some of the confusion and serves to invite all catechists and religion teachers to a convocation this summer. We have a sacramental crisis in the Church–sacraments are down across the board. Everything we can do to invite people to receive God’s grace during these special moments is appreciated. Please share this letter widely.
EdCo (the Education Collaborative of WNY) is inviting all parents/guardians of current 8th graders to offer feedback about the high school admission process. EdCo is asking all Catholic elementary school principals in the Diocese of Buffalo to distribute this survey to 8th grade parents. Click here to begin the survey. Here is a flyer, too.
We are preparing a letter that will be sent out later this week directed to all principals. We’d like to schedule Zoom meetings (15 minutes) with each principal to discuss commitments for next year. Here’s a look at the working draft of the letter which will be going out to principals, pastors/canonical administrators, and board chairs. These Zooms will take place between 1-4 pm April 17-19. Feel free to reach out to Mary Tepley to schedule.
As of today (Monday, March 27th), we have received 11 mid-year financial reports. Please make sure that those are sent in by the end of the week. Thanks to Immaculate Conception (Wellsville), St. John’s Alden, Notre Dame Academy, CAWB, Christ the King, St. Chris, Southtowns, NCCS, De Sales, st. Joseph University, and St. Stephen’s!
At last Saturday’s FICE banquet, Bridget O’Brien Wood announced that FICE was going to cease operations and unite its efforts with Opportunities Collaborative. FICE started as a parent-led effort to bring more inclusion into our Catholic schools. We appreciate all of their work! Pictures from the banquet below.
Previous blogs can be found here. Want to keep up with the conversations surrounding Catholic education? Set up your own Google Alert, subscribe to this newsletter by clicking "follow," or subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast.
Dr. Tim Uhl
The Catholic school principals who nominated inclusive educators (L to R): Katie McIntyre, St. Amelia; Jenniffer Maslakowski, Notre Dame; Jonna Johnson, St. John's Alden; Maria Wanger, Christ the King; Nicole Richard, Nativity of Mary; Denise Cronyn, St. Christopher; Dr. Jim Newton, Bishop Timon-St. Jude HS
Bridget O'Brien Wood
The long-time advocate for inclusion, Bridget O'Brien Wood, at last Saturday's FICE banquet
(L to R): Elaine Nuwer, St. John's Alden; Maria Blask, St. Mary's Lancaster; Phyllis Gaub, BPS; Sandy Gabrys, St. Christopher; Justine Podsiadlo, Mt. Mercy Academy; Eileen Maruscak, Notre Dame Academy; Brian Vitello, St. Amelia; Elizabeth Cavacos, Bishop Timon-St. Jude HS; Maria McGrath, Cardinal O'Hara HS; Robin Cameron, Nativity of Mary
Bridget O'Brien Wood
Kari Buchinger on Academics
X-STREAM Games is just over a month away. We are excited to gather once again at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute on Sunday, May 7. Be sure to save the date on your calendar!
This year we will have six competitions including Arcade Academy, Kitchen Chem, Public Speaking, Robotics VEX IQ, Science Scrimmage, and Shark Tank. Teachers and principals can sign up students using the links below. Refer to this booklet for details about the event.
- Arcade Academy - Students showcase arcade games made from cardboard and recyclable materials.
- Kitchen Chem - Theme: Wedding Feast of Cana- In Jesus’ first miracle he turned water into wine. For this year’s competition we ask students to transform raw ingredients into something new that could be served at a celebration, like an appetizer or small dessert.
- Public Speaking Students present on a topic of their choice. Consider something you are passionate about, something you learned in a STREAM academy, dramatic reading, poetry, etc. Check the booklet for more details!
- Robotics VEX IQ - Is your robotics team ready for this year's Slapshot competition?
- Science Scrimmage - Participants are challenged to build a ping pong pick up device with as few materials as possible.
- Shark Tank Challenge: Create an invention that would make the world a better place, and improve the lives of future generations.
Schools are also invited to bring STREAM projects they have completed throughout the school year display during the event. Sign up here!
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
3/31/23 NYSED Nonpublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Claims Due by Mail
4/15/23 NYSED Elementary School AIS Claims Due
Mandated Services Due 4/1: See my March 7, 2023 post for more information about this process. Please email me if you want me to look your claim over once it has been entered online (but NOT submitted!) on the NYSED Business Portal by the end of today (3/28). Also, please forward to me any “Hold” or “Post Review” emails you get from the state that request follow-up on your end to resolve a claim.
NonPublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Reimbursement Update: Remember, the Year 9 Non Public Safety Equipment (NPSE) deadline is 3/31/23 - allocations and reimbursement forms are posted here. The reimbursement form for this program must be submitted to NYSED by 3/31/22 so be sure you leave enough time for the application to arrive on that date by mail. Please contact SORIS if you have any questions at 518-474-6541 or you can email the SORIS office directly at SORIS@nysed.gov.
Free University at Buffalo Summer and Fall 2023 & Spring 2024 courses: As an eligible nonpublic school teacher or leader, you can take select online courses at no cost to you.
• The summer course deadline for registration is May 20th, 2023 - classes begin 5/30/23
• The fall course deadline for registration is August 20, 2023 - classes begin 8/28/2023
Information and flyers on these and SUNY Empire courses can be found here.
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Save the Date!
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:00 am on Wednesdays
- Catholic High School information nights March 28th St. Andrew CDS, 6-7:30 pm each night. Open to all students/parents in grades 6-8.
- 8th grade retreat April 21st.
- Celebration (Awards Ceremony) May 30, St. Stephen's
- New Teacher Inservice (including VIRTUS), August 29th
- School Board workshop September 22nd
- Fall Professional Development day, October 6, 2023 @ St. Mary's HS.
- School Visit Form, spring 2023.
- Devotional Calendar 2022-23.
- The Fall 2022 Diocesan Health Scorecard; The spring 2022 Diocesan Health Scorecard.
- School Pastor's Administrative Guide
- "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
- New Policy Manual for all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Buffalo.
- New Operations Manual for Diocesan Catholic schools.
- Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form
Articles for Your Reflection
Catholic School Matters Podcast
This season's Catholic School Matters podcast season is on a break this month. Previous episodes:
- a conversation with Greg Dhuyvetter, the Executive Director of WCEA (Western Catholic Education Association).
- a conversation iwth Dot Teso, the president of St. Michael Indian School.
- Doug Cooper, the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles, joins to discuss the CEF and this fundraiser.
- Dr. Daryl Hagan, the Interim Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education at Catholic University and the Director of the Lumen Accreditation, which is designed to serve only Catholic schools.
- a conversation with Middle States Executive Director Christian Talbot. We discuss the value of accreditation and the differences with strategic planning
- a conversation with Dylan Corbett, the Executive Director of the Hope Border Institute. He discusses the current situation on the border and their great work
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
My Last 5 Books
- The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corportations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth (2015 ) by Tom Burgis
Towards a Politics of Communion: Catholic Social Teaching in Dark Times (2021) by Anna Rowlands.
Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011) by Abhijit V. Banergee & Esther Duflo
It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower (2010) by Michela Wrong.
The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality (2016) by Angus Deaton.
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading
A few years ago I set out to write a book which would explore the challenges of Catholic school leadership. My premise that there are no easy answers and that we have to learn from our (and other's) mistakes in order to form a mindset appropriate for orchestrating conflict proved prescient as we all faced completely new and unexpected challenges in 2020. The book,Orchestrating Conflict: Case Studies in Catholic Leadership is now available on Amazon or on the Barnes & Noble site in print or e-book formats. The book explores issues in Catholic school leadership and the tensions between building community and following Church policies and introduces deliberate practice as a method for leadership formation.