Catholic School Matters

March 18, 2018

March Madness

Research projects such as Catholic Schools and the Common Good and Lost Classroom, Lost Community reveal that the strength of Catholic schools is the community. Church documents as far back as Declaration on Christian Education, point to schools as faith communities, not simply institutions. But how do we intentionally build community?

At St. Matthew’s Catholic school in Kalispell, students participate in “Holy Hoops” every March. This is the 8th annual basketball tournament and envelops the week. Every students in grades 5-8 is placed on a team. Every student plays and St. Matt’s alums serve as the coaches. The 8th grade captains of each team pick the saint name for their teams. The teams are selected by the teachers to make for fair competition. There are four nights of games (round robin then a championship bracket). On the final night, Fr. Rod Ermatinger, the pastor who brought Holy Hoops to Kalispell, challenges local priests to a free throw contest. The event kicks off on Sunday night with a parade of teams and a spaghetti feed.

As I write this, I’m immersed in the latest Vatican document, Educating to Fraternal Humanism (2017). The central quote from this document applies here. “One needs…to humanize education, that is, to make it a process in which each person can develop his or her own deep-rooted attitudes and vocation, and thus contribute to his or her vocation within the community.” (paragraph 8). At St. Matt’s in the midst of March Madness, they are giving each student a role in the community and coming together to have fun and to humanize education.

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Dr. Tim Uhl

Big picture

What I'm Up To

Tomorrow, my podcast conversation is with the incomparable Fr. Joe Corpora from Notre Dame. Fr. Joe discusses how he developed the Catholic School Advantage plan and shares stories and his wisdom. 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.

This week, I'm hosting MaryBeth Mueller from Arizona as she is leading the WCEA accreditation team at Butte Central Catholic HS. On Tuesday, I'll be heading to Billings to interview Sr. Helen Prejean for the podcast and listen to her presentation. I'll also be in Missoula for a Board meeting on Wednesday

  • Monday: Office (Helena); Podcast #121: Fr. Joe Corpora
  • Tuesday: Interview with Sr. Helen Prejean (Billings)
  • Wednesday: Butte & MIssoula meetings; Wed book blog: Leadership Without Easy Answers (1994) by Ronald A. Heifetz
  • Thursday: Office (Helena)
  • Friday: Office (Helena)

Miles this week: 868 driving miles

Miles travelled in 2017-18: 18,856 road miles; 35,850 air miles

American Catholic News

Catholic School News

  1. Catholic school in Archdiocese of St. Louis may close; Two more Catholic schools in Queens to close; Fall River Catholic schools see changes; Connecticut Catholic school to close; Changes (including closures) are coming to Long Island Catholic schools; Allentown (PA) Catholic school to close; Diocese of Pittsburgh announces closure of one Catholic school and additional mergers
  2. Seton Catholic Schools in Milwaukee expands
  3. Rochester Catholic Schools are studying changes
  4. Lansing Catholic schools will study race issues
  5. Articles about Catholic schools' response to the walkout here and here. Article about Butte Central Catholic HS response.
  6. Article about the origins of La Crosse (WI) Catholic schools

Leadership Links

Teaching & Instruction



  • NCEA Convention, April 3-5 Cincinnati
  • NCEA has offered a great series of resources on school violence and student protests

  • March Parent Engagement Flyer
  • Webinars:
  • Mar 20: Joy of Adolescent Catechesis
  • Mar 20: Practical Ideas on Personalized Learning
  • Mar 21: Spotlight on Contemporary Anti-Semitism
  • Mar 22: Missionary Discipleship

What I'm Reading

  1. Principles (2017) by Ray Dalio
  2. Breaking Bad Habits: Defy Industry Norms and Reinvigorate Your Business (2017) by Freek Vermeulen
  3. Lost Classroom, Lost Community (2014) by Margaret F. Brinig & Nicole Stelle Garnett
  4. Teamwork: What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong (1989) BY Carl E. Larson & Frank M. J. LaFasto
  5. Leadership Without Easy Answers (1994) by Ronald A. Heifetz

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

For Montana Administrators & Teachers

  • Here is the slideshow from the March 13th Virtual Meeting.
  • We now have 2 open administrative positions: President of Missoula Catholic Schools and principal of Butte Central High School
  • Article about bankrupcty wranglings in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

March 11, 2018 "Special Issue on School Violence"

March 4, 2018 "Bishop McNamara Leads the Way"

February 25, 2018 "New Catholic Schools, Week 3"

February 18, 2018 "New Catholic Schools, Week 2"

February 11, 2018 "New Catholic Schools"

February 4, 2018 "Turnaround Schools, Part 2"

January 28, 2018 "Turnaround Schools"

January 21, 2018 "Synthesizing Church Documents"

January 14, 2018 "What's Brewing in Milwaukee"

January 7, 2018 The 411 on 529's

December 17, 2017 Best of the Fall Issue

December 10, 2017 Serving Hispanic Catholics

December 3, 2017 Building Culture the ND Way

November 12, 2017 "How Are We Building Relationships?"

November 5, 2017 "Journal of Catholic Education"

October 29, 2017 Church Documents

October 22, 2017 Momentum Special Issue

October 15, 2017 "Anthem Protests"

October 8, 2017 Classroom Managment Special Issue

October 1, 2017 "The Un-Themed Issue"

September 24, 2017 "Joy of the Gospel"

September 17, 2017 "ESSA"

September 10, 2017 "On Leadership"

August 27, 2017 "American Catholic News"

August 20, 2017 Back to School Issue