Catholic School Matters

August 27, 2017

Catching up

This newsletter issue is designed to catch up on American Catholic news from the summer as well as offer you some resources for teaching tolerance. These articles are going to educate and challenge you. I’m including pieces from across the ideological spectrum in order to start the conversation.


But first, let’s focus on the good news. Throughout the year, I try to track the opening and closing of Catholic schools. This month, we have some great examples of brand new Catholic schools such as St. Michael the Archangel HS outside Kansas City; St. Ignatius Elementary outside Boise; St. Timothy School in Union, Kentucky; Frassati Catholic outside Denver; and new independent Catholic high schools in Richmond and North Carolina. What is most exciting for me is the new St. Francis Catholic School in Billings where they moved out of their three campuses and into a new $17 million building.


Continue the good feeling by reading about the profiles of the award-winning Catholic elementary principal Phyllis Cavallone-Jurek of Chicago and the new African-American superintendent of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Dr. RaeNell Billiot Houston—both of whom will be on the podcast this year. For an uplifting profile, read about Cardinal Tobin. Enjoy reading how a Sinsinawa Dominican challenged Rep. Paul Ryan at his Town Hall.


Now, prepare to be challenged. This article about sexual abuse by priests on Montana Indian reservations is heartbreaking but should be read regardless in order to understand how the Church is being perceived. This NYTimes article about how the Vatican is challenging hard-line conservatives and America article about Pope Francis’ teaching about liturgical reforms will be unwelcome reads for some. Others will dispute the Cardinal Newman Society’s article about how the classical approach to education is gaining momentum. No matter what you find unwelcome or uncomfortable, it’s important for all of us to read all sides.


Stay updated with Catholic school law by reading John Kaempf’s blog, reading this article about the Supreme Court’s ruling, and Archbishop Lori’s opinion. There’s a new wing for special education at a St. Augustine high school, sparking another Twitter debate on inclusion (!). British bishops tackle LQBT bullying in Catholic schools.


Read how the National Catholic Register recommends partnering with parents, the solutions to what’s ailing Catholic schools according to the Cardinal Newman Society, the four models in a faith-based school according to the Managing for Mission blog, suggestions for increasing enrollment and the many factors impacting Catholic school enrollment.


Want to keep up with the conversations surrounding Catholic education? Set up your own Google Alert, subscribe to the Catholic Schools Daily, or subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast. Keep reading. I’ll be taking next weekend off as I make the transition to a club soccer parent.


Dr. Tim Uhl

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What I'm Up To

Tomorrow marks the kickoff of Season 2 of the podcast. Fr. Tim Scully, the co-founder of the ACE Teaching program at Notre Dame, will be the first guest. I'm beginning this Season with a smorgasbord of guests in and around Catholic education and will drop a podcast every day for two weeks. I can't profile each of the guests here so I recommend subscribing so the podcasts automatically download and then you can listen to the pods which interest you. 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); record future podcasts with Sara Alkayali of Frassati HS & Dr. Kurt Nelson of the Arch of St. Louis. Podcast Episode #56: Fr. Tim Scully of ACE.
  • Tuesday: Office (Helena); record future podcasts with Dr. Mary Kearnery of the Arch of Chicago & Fr. Rocha of St. Michael HS in KC; Stressor Committee for the Dio of Helena. Podcast Episode #57: Ken Willers of the School of the Madeleine.
  • Wednesday: Missoula Catholic School Board meeting; From the blog: Wed book blog Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan et al. Podcast Episode #58: Stan Phelps of "Purple Goldfish" fame.
  • Thursday: Visit Missoula Catholic Schools and record future podcasts with Paul Gagliarducci & Dr. Paul Harrington of Pope Francis HS in Springfield, Nicholas Morgan of Epiphany Catholic School of Katy, TX & & Jack Peterson on "Consecrated Persons and Their Missions in Schools." Podcast Episode #59: Dr. Toni Moore of the University of Dayton.
  • Friday: Office (Helena); record future podcasts with David Faber on Joy of the Gospel Podcast Episode #60: Dr. Tad Dickel of Mater Dei HS in Evansville.


Miles this week: 263 road miles

Miles travelled in 2017-18: 4,768 road miles; 4,866 air miles

American Catholic News

Catholic Schools Opening, Closing, & Consolidating

  1. First Diocesan Catholic high school in KCMO area in 52 years to open this fall. Article about the opening day. This school represents a $30+ million dollar investment!
  2. Idaho's first Catholic school built in 50 years opens. This is a brand new school built for $12 million by a parish.
  3. New Catholic school opens in Union.
  4. Billings, Montana will see a brand new St. Francis School this fall. Article on the opening day. The school represents a $17+ million investment by the community.
  5. Frassati Catholic Academy will open this fall in Denver.
  6. Richmond, VA sees a new independent Catholic high school open, as does North Carolina.
  7. Ground broken for new Catholic school in Katy, Texas.
  8. St. John Paul II High School moves toward August 2018 opening
  9. Erie Catholics struggle with school closure. Boston sees a school closure over the summer. Diocese closes St. Michael School in Newark. Archdiocese of San Antonio closes St. Margaret Mary School. Pacific Crest Academy in the Archdiocese of Seattle closes.
  10. Burlington (VT) schools consider consolidation.

Teaching Tolerance

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

August 20, 2017 Back to School Issue

August 2016 Back to School Issue

What I'm Reading

  1. The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis (underway)
  2. What Happened at Vatican II by John W. O'Malley (finished)
  3. Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild (finished)
  4. Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King & Halee Fischer-Wright (finished)
  5. Originals by Adam Grant (finished)


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

For Montana Administrators & Teachers

  • I highly recommend the Greeley Center's conference on inclusion and special education in Catholic schools held this October in Chicago. Here's a flyer on the Mustard Seed Conference
  • 11 people have signed up to offer breakout sessions in Butte for the Catholic Teacher Days. We could use a few more high school teachers! Here is the flyer advertising the Catholic Teacher Days October 19th & 20th in Butte, America
  • Here is the flyer for the Sophia professional development for religion teachers on October 19th in Butte, America
  • The next scheduled Virtual Principal meetings are Sep 5th at 9 am and 1 pm. Here is the link. We'll be reading Chapter 2 of Redeeming Administration.