Catholic School Matters

April 2, 2017

Accreditation is Not a Dirty Word

Last week marked the final initial WCEA Accreditation for our Montana Catholic schools. Over the past six years, our schools have navigated the process, learning the jargon and process in order to drive school improvement. This spring we even had our first secondary school undergo re-accreditation as Loyola Sacred Heart completed the new E3 protocol. I am proud of all the hard work and grateful for all the staff members who put so much time into these efforts. Yeah, I know, general and generic praise isn't effective. But that's only if you don't take it personally! So take it personally! Immediately.

As our elementary schools turn toward re-accreditation, we need to consider scheduling our curriculum reviews in order to complete in-depth studies more efficiently. If everyone is reviewing math, for example, it will make collaboration easier for the schools writing their self-studies. We could schedule a subject a year (reading, science, math, religion, writing, social studies) and all be working on the process of reviewing curriculum. We’ll take up this topic in the April administrative meetings.

My year of accreditation isn’t over yet. After chairing two ISL (elementary) visits and one E3 (high school) visit, I am working on an AdvancEd Diocesan accreditation visit this week. This will give me first-hand exposure to a new process where all schools in a diocese are collaborating on common goals and host one large team for one visit. I’ll report back in April and we’ll discuss the best route for our schools.

Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

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"Catholic School Matters" Podcast

This week, I have two great podcasts for your listening pleasure! Tomorrow, Episode #39 is an interview with Superintendent Kathy Mears of the Archdiocese of Boston. Mears is a dynamic leader who shares the bright spots in her schools, demonstrating leadership and vision.

On Thursday, Episode #40 is a special episode on inclusion in Catholic schools. Three guests will share their unique. This hourlong episode will feature the president of a Catholic school designed for special needs students, the principal of an elementary school which has embraced an inclusion model, and a parent/advocate for inclusion in all Catholic schools.

Last week there were two great podcasts for your listening and educational pleasure. Episode #37 is in interview with Dr. Luis Fraga of Notre Dame. Luis and I discuss the impact and influence of Hispanics on American life. On Thursday, Episode #38 is an interview with the scholar of American Hispanic Catholic life, Dr. Hosffman Ospino of Boston College. Hosffman and I discuss Catholic schools, the growing influence of Hispanics, and the future.

Here is the link to the podcast on iTunes. Please subscribe to the podcast so new episodes will automatically download. The show is also available on Stitcher and Google Play. If you don't have accounts with any of those content providers, here is the link to my basic page with the podcasts.

Last week, Dr. Uhl blogged about:

  • TUESDAY: Dr. Fraga's podcast
  • WEDNESDAY: Book Blog: 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • FRIDAY: Dr. Ospino's podcast

This week, Dr. Uhl will blog about:

  • TUESDAY: Kathy Mears podcast
  • WEDNESDAY: Book Blog: Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
  • FRIDAY: Inclusion in Catholic Schools

You can find and subscribe to the blog at

The Week Ahead

Sunday: Diocese of Charleson (SC) AdvancEd visit

Monday: Day 2 visit

Tuesday: Day 3 visit

Wed: Day 4 visit

Thurs: return to Helena

Fri: office (Helena)

Next week: 175 driving miles; 5,944 air miles

Last week: 841 driving miles

2016-17: 27,970 driving miles; 23,396 air miles

What I'm Reading 2016-17

  1. How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg (underway)
  2. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg
  3. No One Way to School: Pluralism and American Public Education by Ashley Rogers Berner
  4. Back Blast by Mark Greaney
  5. Architects of Catholic Culture by Timothy Cook
  6. Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an American Town by Brian Alexander
  7. Beyond Reform: Systemic Shifts Toward Personalized Learning by Lindsay Unified School District
  8. Spillover by David Quammen
  9. Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman
  10. The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
  11. Weathering the Storm: Moving Catholic Schools Forward by DeFiore, Convey, & Schuttloffel
  12. Missoula by Jon Krakauer
  13. Redeeming Administration by Ann Garrido
  14. Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be by Frank Bruni
  15. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
  16. Stall Points by Matthew S. Olson & Derek van Bever
  17. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  18. Why Don't Kids Like School? by Daniel Willingham
  19. Tom Clancy: Commander in Chief by Mark Greaney
  20. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam
  21. The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  22. Reading with the daughter: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (7 books)
  23. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  24. The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey
  25. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
  26. The Purple Goldfish by Stan Phelps
  27. The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen
  28. Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
  29. Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption Cragun & Sweetman
  30. Cultures Built to Last: Systemic PLCs at Work by Fullan and DuFour
  31. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  32. Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time by Margaret J. Wheatley
  33. The Orange Frog by Shawn Achor

For Principals & Teachers

  1. The Archdiocese of Seattle has a great MAP testing resource for planning how to interpret scores, which reports to look at, etc.
  2. The Justice for Immigration project of the USCCB offers resources for undocumented immigrants.
  3. Montana's DEQ has provided a great resource on lead in drinking water in schools.
  4. Are you ready for ESSA? Here is a link to a massive amount of new documents. ESSA has not been repealed and it's time to get ready! Here's more guidance from the USCCB.
  5. We have secured funding for all of our teachers to spend the night in Butte so that we can hold the Fall Professional Conference in one place! The Sophia Institute will be offering catechetical professional development on Thursday, Oct 19th and then we'll kick off the conference that night with Jonathan Doyle. We'll have Mass together on Friday morning and then will hear from Jonathan again and then we'll have breakout sessions.
  6. On the Horizon:
  • Regional administrator meetings: April 10 (GFCCHS), 11 (Missoula Loyola Sacred Heart), 12 (Billings Central Admin offices). All meetings 10-2. Please RSVP for hospitality purposes to the host principal. Here is the slide show that I will build
  • June 14: administrator meeting (Helena) 10-3


Catholic Schools Opening, Closing, & Consolidating

  1. Two Hartford schools to consolidate; one school to close
  2. An examination of a decision to close a NYC Catholic school
  3. Fresno Catholic school to close
  4. Examination of NJ Catholic school environment and announcement that Marist High School in NJ will close
  5. The only black Catholic school in Birmingham in danger of closing
  6. Buffalo Catholic school to close after 70 years
  7. Consolidated Bridgeport school set to open this fall
  8. Slideshow of 10 once-thriving Catholic churches, schools, now closed or merged
  9. Bismarck Catholic schools expand
  10. The Faith in the Future folks from Philly apprise their success saving Catholic schools.
  11. Bishop Donahue HS (Wheeling) to close and merge with Wheeling Central Catholic HS.




What is McCarthyism? And how did it happen? - Ellen Schrecker