Catholic School Matters

September 20, 2022

The Learning Platform

Any successful organization has clarity around its purpose and mission. But that clarity is elusive unless you have a process and system for continued education and formation. Our attempt to instill common purpose among our stakeholders has led us to develop the Learning Platform through a partnership with Catholic Faith Technologies.

This is not your parent’s catechetical program. This is a system built around presenting quality content and an easy tracking system. To that end, we’ve developed three initial courses that we’re asking all our Catholic schools staff members to take: the history of modern Catholicism, the mission of Catholic schools, and the current Catholic school environment. Kari Buchinger tackled the latter course while I taught the first two. My purpose was to present a basic overview of Catholicism and Catholic schools suitable for all levels–the non-Catholic new teacher as well as the veteran Catholic teacher. These are interactive classes that can be taken as a group or individually.

The Learning Platform allows you to keep track of all of your staff member’s PD and catechetical courses. The first step will be for you to contact Laurie in our office ( and tell her whether you’d like to enter into all of your staff members or if you’d prefer to send her a CSV file and she could get all of your staff members signed up.

We’re not going to require any more classes this year. However, we are going to place explanatory videos on the new religion standards and create classes for our October 7th PD day as well. So if you’d like to keep track of those courses, you’ll need to get your staff members signed up. As we move toward next year, we’ll be developing more catechetical options for religion teachers and make those available.

Our hope is that you see this new program as a worthwhile investment of your time to clarify the mission of Catholic schools, build excellence in your classrooms, and perhaps even lead to stronger retention.

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

We are so excited to join together on October 7th for continued learning and fellowship with one another. Our day will begin with our keynote speaker, Carissa Maddox from the University of Notre Dame who will share insights on core instructional practices and how they can ensure all students in the Diocese of Buffalo have the best path to master important content every lesson, every day. In the afternoon, you will have the ability to attend two PD Sessions of your choosing. Please take a moment to complete this google form and make your selections. Principals- if your teachers do not receive Catholic School Matters please for the link below.

October 7 Sign Up

Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari

Office Updates

  1. Save the Date for the November 10th Diocesan Education Summit! You should have received an invite. Everyone needs to use the QR code and register individually. Or you could Click here to RSVP.

  2. The 175th Anniversary Committee has developed a number of great resources for students & teachers to celebrate the diocese's demisemiseptcentennial anniversary, including sample lesson plans, tour guides, and a "Flat Timon" PDF for a social media contest. This will be found under "teacher resources" on our website but can also be accessed here.

  3. Here is the link for the Office Blog with the latest forms and information. This can be found on the website under "Blogs."

  4. For all your STREAM-related content, check out the STREAM page

Chris Riso on Government Services

  • 9/30/22 NCEA Excel Form Due via Online Google Sheet
  • 10/5/22 BEDS Enrollment Anchor Date – Count All Staff & Students

NCEA Survey Due 9/30/22 based on 9/16/22 Enrollment: Again, thank you for completing your online NCEA report in Google Sheets by the 9/30/2022 deadline. Once we review your submission over the next few weeks we may email you asking for clarification on some of the information in your report. Once your NCEA report is completed, you can turn your attention to the upcoming NYS BEDS report. We will send you information by 10/3/2022 to help you prepare for this report based on student attendance from Wednesday, 10/5/2022. The actual online BEDS report is not due to NYSED until November 18th.

RISE and CSAANYS Conferences: Registration has begun for the annual Religious and Independent Schools Educators (RISE) conference taking place in-person at the Albany Marriott Hotel (189 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205) from 1:00pm on November 14th to Noon on November 15th. There is a $140 cost to attend this conference but two free nights at the hotel is included for each participant. This is an excellent professional development opportunity for you and your teachers. Here are the Links for more information: RISE Conference | nyscirs. To register, go to RISE 2022 Conference Registration Form (

Also, the annual CSAANYS Gathering for Catholic School Administrators will take place at the Century House in Latham just before the RISE Conference, from 3:00pm on November 13th to Noon on November 14th. This is a 50th Anniversary celebration, with WNY’s own Sr. Carol Cimino (former Superintendent of Catholic Schools), Jim Cultrara from the NYS Catholic Conference (Batavia native), and Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett being honored at the “Lighting the Fire for Catholic Education” dinner on Sunday evening. Although attendees are welcome to book a room at the Century House on Sunday evening, this location is only a 10 minute drive from the RISE conference so you may want to stay at the Albany Marriott and drive back and forth to the CSAANYS Gathering.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness – Limited Waiver Deadline is 10/31/22: The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) limited waiver period ends on October 31st. Teachers and other education personnel who have a federal student loan may be able to benefit from temporary changes made to the PSLF program. If educators have not already applied for PSLF, they must submit a PSLF form and/or consolidate their non-Direct federal student loans by October 31 to get the benefit. To find out if your school/parish is a qualified employer, enter the Employer Identification Number (EIN) at Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employer Search Tool | Federal Student Aid.

Q: “What determines whether I am considered to be an employee of a qualifying employer?

A: “If a qualifying employer has sent or will send you a Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) at the end of each tax year, you are employed by the qualifying employer…The specific job that you perform doesn’t matter, as long as you’re employed by a qualifying employer. For example, if you’re a full-time employee of a public school system, your employment qualifies regardless of your position (teacher, administrator, support staff, etc.).

Voter Registration Ends 10/14/2022; Encourage Staff and Families to Register and Vote: As Election Day (11/8/2022) approaches, I just wanted to remind you to encourage the adults in your school community to register to vote by the 10/14/2022 deadline and then vote in the coming election. Elected officials can tell if a person has voted in an election so by doing so you add additional weight to any emails you might send to them about your opinions on Catholic School concerns. Information on voter registration can be found here,, and at your county Board of Elections (

NYSED Pesticide Notification: Please be sure to follow the NYS “School pesticide neighbor notification” law found here. A portion of the law is:

(b) Notification procedures. Schools shall establish written pesticide notification procedures to provide information on pesticide applications at relevant facilities according to the following provisions.

- (1) The school shall provide written notification to all staff and persons in parental relation at the beginning of each school year or summer school session. If a child enrolls after the beginning of the school year or summer school session, written notification shall be provided to the person in parental relation within one week of such enrollment. Such written notification shall include at a minimum the following information:

o (i) a statement that pesticide products may be used periodically throughout the school year or summer school session;

o (ii) a statement that schools are required to maintain a list of staff and persons in parental relation who wish to receive 48-hour prior written notification of pesticide applications at relevant facilities, and instructions on how to register with the school to be on such list for prior notification; and

o (iii) the name and phone number of a school pesticide representative who may be contacted to obtain further information.”

Previous posts from Mr. Riso

Athletics Info

  • Please sign up here by Sep. 27th to let us know how many golfers you are sending for Diocesan Golf.

  • Please sign up here by Sep. 30th to let us know how many teams you are sending for Diocesan Kickball.

  • ALL COACHES & VOLUNTEERS Must be background checked prior to coaching a team.

  • Please see the kickball and golf flyers to sign your schools up for these new activities.

Please see the athletics/activities blog for the most up to date information.

Save the Date!

  1. Weekly principal Zooms at 9:00 am on Wednesdays.
  2. 175th Anniversary Mass for 12th graders, Sep 27, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral. Please RSVP here.

  3. Diocesan Professional Development Day October 7, 2022 at St. Amelia's. You should have received a separate form for teachers to RSVP for certain sessions.
  4. Diocesan Education Summit, November 10th. This is for principals, pastors/canonical administrators, board chairs, and one other stakeholder (4 from each school). Click here to RSVP.


  1. Academic Initiatives for 2022-23
  2. The Diocesan Health Scorecard.
  3. School Pastor's Administrative Guide
  4. "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
  5. Here's a link to the forms on our website.
  6. New Policy Manual for all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Buffalo.
  7. New Operations Manual for Diocesan Catholic schools.
  8. Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form

Catholic School Matters Podcast

In order to become a more synodal church, we need to listen to people on the margins. No one has been more marginalized than Shelly Fitzgerald, who was fired from her guidance counselor position at a Catholic high school in 2018 and made national news. This week's podcast gives us a chance to hear her perspective and learn from this experience.

The podcast kicked off last week 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

Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Catholic Education Stories

I'll be collecting stories on Catholic education at this site. This week's entries:

· Elementary school in Denver disinvites certain Catholic high schools

· "New Catholic policies across US create 'culture of fear' for LGBTQ students, advocates say" in NCR

Articles for Your Reflection

Catholic School Matters

A weekly newsletter of resources to spur enrollment and excellence in our Catholic schools.

Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
Phone: 716-847-5520
Twitter: @drtimuhl

My Last 5 Books

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

Sep 13, 2022 "Diocesan Education Summit"

Sep 6, 2022 "Welcoming the Virtues"

Aug 30, 2022 "Bowling Together"

August 23, 2022 "Strategic Planning"

For previous newsletters, click this link

A couple of 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.