Catholic School Matters

May 17, 2020

Tell Your Story

When people look back on this spring, what will they say about your school? Will they say you innovated? Kept learning? Persisted? Failed?

It’s not too late to start shaping your story. Take a look at the Partnership Schools blog. They made a conscientious decision to start pushing out their story consistently every day once the pandemic hit. You’ll see thought pieces, features on outstanding students and teachers, and testimonials.

You probably have a slew of testimonials sitting in your inbox—parents thanking you for taking care of their children, teachers thanking you for taking care of them, students grateful that they’ve been able to connect with each other and keep learning. Don’t just file those away. Publish them!

If we don’t the narrative will be something like “We’re all exhausted, we want to go back to the way things were, hope we don’t have to do this again.” That’s the May educator, speaking out of the fatigue and the frustrations that have built up over the course of the year. This is a critical time when families are deciding whether to re-register and even currently re-registered families are beginning to question their commitment. We need to cement their commitments by telling our stories.

How have you innovated? What lessons have you learned? Who has really shone? What are the good things that are happening? How? Ask your parents to send them in, or have them tweet about their experience (a new hashtag? #catholicschoolgoodnews?) or use whatever social media channel. And then you can retweet or share. Testify!

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.

Dr. Tim Uhl

This edition of Catholic School Matters is sponsored by the Institute for School and Parish Development (ISPD), a national development consulting firm founded in 1989; ISPD works exclusively with Catholic schools, parishes, and dioceses. In partnership with the University of Dayton, the Institute for School and Parish Development (ISPD) will be offering three new on-line summer courses beginning the week of June 15, 2020. Titled ISPD Summer Institute, 2020, each course will award Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and a Certificate of Completion from the university. Students not interested in the above are invited to audit any one or more of the courses. The three courses are:

  • Moving Your Catholic School Forward NOW: How to Create a Plan of Action to Face COVID-19 Challenges through People Engagement
  • Moving Your Catholic Parish Forward NOW: How to Create a Plan of Action to Face COVID-19 Challenges through People Engagement
  • 15 More Lessons Learned in 30+ Years in Catholic School Development: Moving Forward with Valuable Operational Vitality Lessons Midst the Challenges of COVID-19
For more information, please contact Frank Donaldson, president:; phone 504-491-2122;

For Your Reflection

Catholic Schools Closing & Opening

For the complete list of Catholic schools closing at the end of this school year, click here.

Educational Links

Resource List

The CDC has published a decision tree for reopening schools and daycare facilities. Johns Hopkins Center for Educational Policy has released a planning guide for next year.

I've created a new curated list of resources for professional learning on technology, on remote learning as well as resources for teacher and parents.


Interesting study about the impact of COVID shutdownson extraverts and introverts

What I'm Reading

    The Last 5 Books:

    1. Beyond Obedience and Abandonment: Toward a Theory of Dissent in Catholic Education (2012) by Graham P. McDonough
    2. How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community (2018) by Judith Valente

    3. Evolving Learner: Shifting from Professional Development to Professional Learning (2020) by Lainie Rowell, Kristy Andre, and Lauren Steinmann

    4. Public & Private High Schools: The Impact of Communities (1987) by James S. Coleman and Thomas Hoffa

    5. The Practical Prophet: Pastoral Writings (2007) by Ken Untener

            Click this link for a full list of my professional reading

            Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

            May 10, 2020 "Remote and Catholic"

            May 3, 2020 "Safety & Normalcy"

            April 26, 2020 "Simultaneous Planning"

            For previous newsletters, click this link

            Orchestrating Conflict

            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. This is my first book and has been an ongoing project for the past couple of years.

            The Nashville (Virtual) Exchange

            The Nashville Exchange will be Virtual this July 16th! Our new normal is figuring out how to develop fellowship and learn through virtual environments. This is as true for school leaders as it is for students. Here is a copy of the flyer, here is a copy of the new schedule, and you can register through The exchange is designed for Presidents/Heads of Schools for Diocesan/Archdiocesan Catholic schools. We are asking for a $25 registration fee to reserve your spot and are grateful for the Greeley Center for their continued presenting sponsorship, as well as our partners Meitler Group and FACTS Education Solutions.