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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. The Safe Environment audit deadline for schools is May 15th. Here are the instructions and here are the applicable forms. Please ensure that this work is done completely and on time.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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

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

Office Updates

Here's the link to the Office Blog

Chris Riso on Government Services

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

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

Athletics Info

Save the Date!

  1. Weekly principal Zooms at 9:00 am on Wednesdays
  2. 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.
  3. 8th grade retreat April 21st.
  4. Celebration (Awards Ceremony) May 30, St. Stephen's
  5. New Teacher Inservice (including VIRTUS), August 29th
  6. School Board workshop September 22nd
  7. Fall Professional Development day, October 6, 2023 @ St. Mary's HS.


  1. School Visit Form, spring 2023.
  2. Devotional Calendar 2022-23.
  3. The Fall 2022 Diocesan Health Scorecard; The spring 2022 Diocesan Health Scorecard.
  4. School Pastor's Administrative Guide
  5. "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
  6. New Policy Manual for all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Buffalo.
  7. New Operations Manual for Diocesan Catholic schools.
  8. Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form

Articles for Your Reflection

Free to Give: How Philanthropy is Changing Lives at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School

Catholic School Matters Podcast

This season's Catholic School Matters podcast season is on a break this month. Previous episodes:

Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Catholic School Matters

A weekly newsletter of resources to spur enrollment and excellence in our Catholic schools.

Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
Phone: 716-847-5520
Twitter: @WNYCatholicEd

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

March 21, 2023 "Purpose & Mission"

March 14, 2023 "Financial Metrics"

March 7, 2023 "Operating Principles"

Feb 28th "How to Use the Newsletter"

Feb 14th "Activities & Retention"

For previous newsletters, click this link

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.