Catholic School Matters
January 17, 2023
The following blog was created by ChatGPT. Please don't tell me it's better than my usual efforts! There are articles linked to below explaining ChatGPT and its implications to education.
Catholic Schools Week is just around the corner! Starting on January 29th, Catholic schools across the country will come together to celebrate the value and importance of a Catholic education. This week is a time to reflect on the contributions Catholic schools make to our communities and to recognize the hard work and dedication of the teachers, staff, and students who make these schools such special places.
Throughout the week, Catholic schools will be hosting a variety of events and activities to celebrate their students and their community. These may include open houses, Masses, and service projects, as well as other fun and educational activities.
One of the highlights of Catholic Schools Week is the National Catholic Schools Week Mass, which will be celebrated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on January 31st. This Mass is an opportunity for Catholic schools to come together in prayer and to give thanks for the blessings of Catholic education.
In addition to these events, Catholic schools will also be taking time to reflect on the important role that Catholic education plays in the lives of students and in the wider community. Catholic schools provide students with a strong academic education and a deep understanding of the Catholic faith. They also help students to develop the values and skills they need to become responsible and compassionate citizens.
So, as we approach Catholic Schools Week, let's take a moment to reflect on the many blessings of Catholic education and to give thanks for the hard work and dedication of the teachers, staff, and students who make Catholic schools such special places. Let's also remember to support and encourage Catholic education in our communities.
If you are looking for more information about Catholic Schools Week and the events happening at Catholic schools in your area, please visit the National Catholic Education Association website.
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," subscribe to the Catholic Schools Daily, or subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast.
Dr. Tim Uhl
Kari Buchinger on Academics
Textbook Review and Selection
Now that the spring semester is in full swing it is textbook review time. Please take a moment to complete this form to share your preferences for the textbook review.
Our Diocesan Spelling Bee is right around the corner. Don’t forget to register your top 3 student spellers as soon as possible. https://forms.gle/P2hcFJdjJHUErEKK6
We will send out further resources (study list and parent letter) for the final as soon as your students are registered.
December Character Award Winners
It is time to celebrate our December Character Award winners! Please take a moment to complete this google form to recognize one student from your school who best demonstrates appreciation. Entries are due by Friday, January 20.
7th and 8th Grade Dance at Nardin Academy
Join us on Saturday, February 11 in the Nardin Academy gym from 7-9 pm for a special dance for all 7th and 8th graders enrolled in our Diocese of Buffalo Catholic Schools. Tickets are $5 and the dress code is semi-formal.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Here is the link to order your 2023 8th Grade Diplomas. Please have your order placed by January 31, 2023.
Here is the link to order your 2023-2024 Office Supplies. Please have your order placed by January 31, 2023.
The St. Thomas Guild is offering a scholarship for students in grades 6-11 next year. Information here.
FICE has called for nominations for your school's Inclusive Teacher of the Year and also a professional development opportunity. Information here.
Here is the link to enter your scheduled open house(s).
Here is the announcement that you can share with your community about the new Special Ed program at Cardinal O’Hara.
The BISON Fund pre-application for new and current families not on BISON for the 2023-24 school year will open up on January 15th. To start the process, families can complete a pre-application form online here. The deadline is March 15th.
The Foundation is selling raffle tickets for a chance to win some pretty incredible prizes! The raffle winners will be announced at the Luncheon Event on January 26, 2023. Winners do not need to be present to win! Please see the attached flier or go here for more information!
Here is the link for the Office Blog with the latest forms and information. This can be found on the website under "Blogs.
Chris Riso on Government Services
2/6/23 Last Day to Submit Buffalo Public Schools Textbook Requisitions
2/20/23 HS Scholarships for Academic Excellence (SAE) Nominations Due
3/17/23 Last Day to Submit Erie 1 BOCES Textbook Requisitions
3/24/23 Save Mandated Services Claim online for C. Riso Review
3/31/23 NYSED Nonpublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Claims Due
3/31/23 NYSED Elementary School AIS Claims Due
4/1/23 Online 2021-22 Mandated Services Claim Due to NYSED
Mandated Services – Online System Still Not Open: Although the online system is still not open for 2021-22 Mandated Services claims and the deadline is not until April 1st, I highly recommend that you begin working on your claim if you have not already done so. As of today, 24 elementary schools and 5 high schools have received their personalized Mandated Services Excel spreadsheets from me. If you are one of the remaining 15 elementary and eight high schools and are ready to begin working on your claim please send me an email to request your personalized “Form 1” Excel spreadsheet. Verifying the salary and benefits information and the days in the year on Form 1 is the most time-consuming part of the Mandated Services process. Once your spreadsheet has been updated, I would be happy to look it over before you begin preparing “Form 2” (found here) to get ready for online submission. Additional information will be sent to all schools when the online claims are made available by NYSED.
Mandated Services, Thoughts on Payroll and Benefits Records: As I mentioned before, due to recent NYSED audits I highly recommend that you print out official payroll and benefits reports from your payroll and associated companies to support what you are claiming for Mandated Services. I thought some additional recommendations might be in order. For salary, I recommend you print out an official 2021-2022 payroll report from your payroll company, essentially a payroll report from 9/1/2021 to 8/31/2022. Ideally, the report would have a “regular” gross pay line for each person’s main educational duties (along with any “Bonus” pay for Christmas and Easter somehow indicated or included) with any stipends or pay for coaching or work in a before or after school program separated out since we can’t claim this pay on Mandated Services. If possible, the payroll report might show at least the employee share of their taxes and maybe even their Healthcare and retirement deductions. Here is what NYSED indicates in their User Guide on Page 11 with regard Payroll Records, along with an example:
“Payroll records for those employees providing the mandated service, showing gross & net salary, and all payroll deductions including a breakdown of fringe benefits including sources of data (company names), must be maintained and made accessible upon request.
Payroll company documents are preferred; if payroll is completed in-house, please provide payroll (w/ benefit breakdowns) on school letterhead, accompanied by staff hiring agreements or contracts.
Please redact identifying information from documents.”
As for Benefits, you can claim the employer’s share of the following benefits, to the extent such share is actually paid for the benefit of employees engaged in providing required services: Retirement, Social Security and Medicare Taxes (F.I.C.A.), Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Life Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, Health Insurance, and Union Welfare benefits. Hopefully your Business Manager can access official benefits reports from each of the companies to “prove” these were the actual benefits paid to each person. I am not sure if your payroll company report would show the Medicare, Social Security, and NYS Taxes paid by the school (not the employee) for each employee. Hopefully you can get official documents for Healthcare, retirement, and legacy pension costs by employee. I’m not sure how to prove what you paid for Disability and Workers’ Comp but you can find my advice here.
Safety Equipment and AIS Funds: Additionally, we are still waiting for updated NonPublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) grant allocations and Year 9 forms to be released by NYSED. When this information is released it will be found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/schoolsafety/home.html. I also wanted to remind you that March 31, 2022 is the deadline for purchasing supplies or paying for and completing projects under the NPSE program for reimbursement this school year. If you plan to apply for 2022-2023 reimbursement, please make sure all work has been completed and paid for by March 31st. Failure to pay for and complete projects by the deadline means that you will not be able to submit for reimbursement until next year’s 2023-2024 forms are made available by NYSED closer to December 2023 for reimbursement after 3/31/2024. I hope to send out an email this week with more information and rough estimates of your available NPSE funds (along with available AIS funds for the elementary schools) but please email me if you have any questions.
Principal Task List: I also wanted to remind you to check the monthly principal task list found at Principal Task List Buffalo Catholic Schools - Google Sheets to stay on top of things. For January, you may want to consider beginning pre-registration, checking student attendance records, and implementing any Teacher Improvement Plans (TIPs) needed for teachers of concern. Be sure to look ahead to the February tasks since it is right around the corner.
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
- Brian Ferris is our new Diocesan athletics director. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- It's not too early to begin thinking about the Diocesan Chess Championship. Chess tournament signup
- Bowling will be back for the Spring! Here is a link for Athletic Directors/PE Teachers to use to sign up your students with the Diocese. Dates are March 7-April 25 with no bowling April 4 & 11 due to Easter breaks. League championships will be Sat. April 29th at 10am at Classic Lanes.
- CLICK HERE for the Basketball Master Schedule 2022-2023 This schedule is located on spreadsheet.com and you will need to request access to view it. It has all of the Diocesan Elementary League games on it. It will show you the date and time of the game, where it is being held, which school is the home team and which school is the away team.
Please see the athletics/activities blog for the most up to date information.
- 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
Alarmed by A.I. Chatbots, Universities Start Revamping How They Teach
With the rise of the popular new chatbot ChatGPT, colleges are restructuring some courses and taking preventive measures. Send any friend a story As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
Opinion | How ChatGPT Hijacks Democracy
Send any friend a story As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share. Give this article Give this article Give this article Nathan E. Sanders and Mr. Sanders is a data scientist. Mr. Schneier is a security technologist.
How ChatGPT can actually be a force for good rather than a boon for cheaters
Educators are seeing ChatGPT's bright side as some in K-12 fret over AI's ability to help students cheat on essays and other schoolwork. Panicky headlines have threatened in recent weeks that ChatGPT will end teaching and learning as we know while some district leaders, such as those in New York City schools, have already banned the technology from school networks and devices.
A college student created an app that can tell whether AI wrote an essay - MindShift
Tian said many teachers have reached out to him after he released his bot online on Jan. 2, telling him about the positive results they've seen from testing it. More than 30,000 people had tried out GPTZero within a week of its launch. It was so popular that the app crashed.
Western New York Catholic
Immaculate Conception School in East Aurora showed the power of prayer and their love of the Buffalo Bills as they recorded a video for Damar Hamlin, the Bills safety who suffered cardiac arrest on the field during a Monday Night Football game on Jan. 2. Students of Immaculate Conception School in East Aurora show their...
Catholic School Matters Podcast
- a conversation with Fr. James Martin, SJ. We discuss leadership amid criticism and staying on mission.
- A great conversation with Dr. Hosffman Ospino and Dr. Melodie Wyttenbach. These two Boston College professors discuss their "Cultivating Talent" report and summit
- A conversation with Deacon Kevin McCormack, the new superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn. McCormack shares his vision for Catholic education and the reasons he gave up a successful principalship to become a superintendent
- After a short break, the podcast is back with two recent conversations with Dr. Thomas Groome of Boston College. The first conversation centers on religious education and evangelization. The second conversation is centered on Catholic schools and his recent publication, What Makes Education Catholic: Spiritual Foundations. Other recent episodes:
- Dr. Kevin Baxter, the co-editor of Conscience & Catholic Education and the keynote for thisf all's Diocesan Education Summit. We discuss the book and how it pertains to current issues in Catholic education. Here is the direct link to the podcast episode.
- I spoke to Shaka Rawls, the principal of Leo Catholic HS on Chicago's Southside. He is a dynamic leader of this predominantly African-American Catholic high school who describes the mission of the school as one which serves the community. Here is a direct link to the podcast.
- I talk with Greg Richmond, the Superintendent of the Archdiocese of Chicago. In his second year, Greg comes from the charter world and shares his unique perspective on this new position which he loves.
- This week's podcast gives us a chance to hear the perspective of a person fired from her position at a Catholic high school due to same-sex marriage.
- Season 7 kicked off with a great conversation with Rich Clark of Cleveland. He helped found a Cristo Rey High School and played a pivotal role in Partnership School's Expansion to Cleveland. Our interview was recorded on September 2nd and Rich passed away on September 20th.
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
My Last 5 Books
- The Prepared Leader: Emerge from any Crisis More Resilient than Before (2022) by Erika James & Lynn Perry Wooten
Faith For the Heart: A Catholic Spirituality (2019) by Thomas Groome.
Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (2012) by Laurent Dubois.
The Politics of Irish Primary Education: Reform in an Era of Secularisation (2022) by Sean McGraw & Jonathan Tiernan
Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell (2019) by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg & Alan Eagle
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.