Catholic School Matters

September 18, 2016

Measuring Our Success

It seems to me that our Catholic schools have been a little scarred by the Common Core battles and are therefore less likely to challenge public schools on their terms. Catholic schools have begun emphasizing mission, Catholic identity, and other non-measurables. But I find that strategy ignores the reality that Catholic schools are at their heart good SCHOOLS. And we can measure that!


For example, our Montana Catholic schools (5) serve a diversity of students (over 25% Free/Reduced), which makes the fact that the average ACT score has been over 2 points higher than the state average over the past 5 years even more impressive. We need to pay attention to the looseness of our schools (site-based management and autonomy of our teachers) as well as the tightness of our system (adherence to the same curriculum and accreditation protocols). In fact, I wonder if our Catholic schools even consider ourselves part of a system of schools. The following is a comparison of the ACT composite average of our Montana Catholic school students with all Montana high schools students.


· ACT 2012: Catholic schools 22.3; MT schools 22

· ACT 2013: Catholic schools 22.3; MT schools 21.3

· ACT 2014: Catholic schools 22.5; MT schools 20.5

· ACT 2015: Catholic schools 22.9; MT schools 20.4

· ACT 2016: Catholic schools 22.5; MT schools 20.3


In the same way, our elementary schools are given local control and teachers are given tremendous autonomy but we have best practices, shared policies, and the same WCEA accreditation protocol. This system is working! All of our schools are administering the MAP test three times per year. Our MAP scores show achievement scores in grades K-8 far above the national norm of the 50th percentile (state results are not available).

The following are the percentile achievement scores of our elementary students on the MAP test in the fall and spring last school year. Our students take the MAP three times per year. The 50th percentile is the national average.


· Grade Fall 2015 Spring 2016

· K 78 83

· 1 73 69

· 2 80 72

· 3 73 57

· 4 79 67

· 5 62 52

· 6 73 62

· 7 61 62

· 8 77 71


We need to remind our current and future parents that our Catholic school system in Montana provides excellent schools and we are at the heart an excellent school system.


Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

The Week Ahead

Monday: GF Task Force (Great Falls)

Tuesday: Sacred Heart visit & Adv Council mtg (Miles City)

Wednesday: Butte Central visit & Adv Council (Butte)

Thursday: GF Chancery & UGF meetings (Great Falls)

Friday: DLSBS WCEA visit (Browning)


This week: 1,318 driving miles

Last week: 695 driving miles; 2,160 air miles

2016-17: 8,026 driving miles; 2,160 air miles

What I'm Reading 2016-17

  1. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  2. Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption Cragun & Sweetman (finished)
  3. Cultures Built to Last: Systemic PLCs at Work by Fullan and DuFour (finished)
  4. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (finished)
  5. Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time by Margaret J. Wheatley (finished)
  6. The Orange Frog by Shawn Achor (finished)

Montana Catholic Schools

Serving 3800+ students in 24 Catholic schools across the Treasure State

For Principals

  1. The high school religion standards have been added to the website under "Religion Resources."
  2. You can nominate a student for NCEA's Youth Virtue, Value, and Valor award. The deadline is October 16th. Here are the details.
  3. There have been a few changes for scheduled principal meetings this fall and spring. Make sure to check out the new calendar. The most notable change is the Nov 10th meeting in Havre has been moved to Great Falls on Nov 14th.
  4. On the Horizon:

Catholic School News

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Teaching & Learning

Miscellaneous

Kid President Is Over It!
Sir Ken Robinson - The Need For A New Model In Education