Catholic School Matters
April 25, 2023
For the past month, I keep hearing stories about doubt and uncertainty in the Gospels. First there was Peter who denied that he even knew Jesus. Then most of the Apostles split and weren’t even present for the crucifixion. When Mary Magdalene found an empty tomb, no one was quite sure was happened. Mind you, most of them knew that Jesus had brought someone back from the dead! Not to mention that they had personally witnessed inexplicable miracles. The next week, we heard that Thomas doubted that Jesus had appeared. This past week, Cleopas and his friend were recounting their confusion on the road to Emmaus.
I’m taking comfort in the doubts and confusion of the disciples. They knew Jesus; they saw the miracles or heard firsthand accounts. And yet they weren’t 100% certain. I have found myself talking to quite a few people in the past month (some here in Buffalo, some in Irving at the NCEA Convention) who expressed their doubts about the future of their school or Catholic schools in general. The questions might begin with financial sustainability or enrollment concerns but they become existential. What is the value of our schools? Is this work worth it? Their faith is wavering.
Last Saturday I had the privilege to join the St. Benedict’s School community at the funeral Mass for teacher Kara Stein. The Church was packed with students, parents, and staff members supporting Kara’s family and friends. It was a powerful statement about her impact and value. This same community who celebrated when she “rang the bell” last fall with the conclusion of her treatment were crushed when cancer returned to take her. But they came together and I can’t help but think it’s moments like these that illustrate that we have to put aside those doubts and put our faith in these school communities which mean so much to our students, parents, and staff members.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
8th grade retreat
Denise York of Immaculate Conception parish & Brady Webb of St. John Vianney parish led the morning activities for the 210+ 8th graders
Pizza with the Bishop
Bishop Mike was comfortable eating with a tableful of 8th graders
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart church hosted Mass with Bishop Fisher during the retreat
8th grade retreat
Kari Buchinger on Academics
8th Grade Retreat
Thank you to all of the students, parents, teachers, and principals that joined us for our very first 8th grade retreat last Friday. We hope that this time together helped students build relationships with future classmates and prepare their hearts and minds for the transition to high school. A survey to share feedback will be on its way to chaperones and students in the coming days.
8th grade science scoring will take place on Tuesday, June 6 at St. Andrew Country Day School. We will begin at 8:30 am with training and end as soon as all tests have been scored. If your school would like to participate in group scoring please complete the google form here.
STAR 23-24 Update
Our dear friend Jenn at Renaissance is working on processing invoices for the 23-24 school year. Those invoices along with payment terms agreements will be delivered via email to you directly from me soon.
Lunch and Learn
Would you like to learn more about Freckle, Lalilo, and other Renaissance instructional support programs that link directly to STAR? If so, complete the form here.
X-STREAM Games - The last day to register for X-STREAM games is this Friday, April 28.
- Arcade Academy
- Kitchen Chem - 2 spaces available
- Public Speaking - Full
- Robotics VEX IQ - 4 spaces left
- Science Scrimmage
- Shark Tank
Schools are also invited to bring STREAM projects they have completed throughout the school year display during the event. Sign up here!
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
4/26/23 Annual NYS Textbook Loan Meeting at Erie 1 BOCES – 1:00pm
5/8/23 BOCES Title IIa Consortium Administrators Meeting
6/1/23 Last day for Parents to Request Special Education Services from Districts
Title I - Begin Consultation with All Districts for 2023-24 School Year: I highly recommend that you reach out to each public school district in which you have students qualified, based on their family income, to receive a free or reduced lunch (even if you don’t have a free/reduced lunch program) so you can begin discussions regarding Title I funding and services for the 2023-24 school year. I have four documents that might help you with the process: “Title I Fall District Contact for 2023-24”, “Title I Winter District Contact for 2023-24”, “Public School Title I Attendance Areas from 2021-2022 Consolidated Applications - April 2023”, and a list of Title I Directors. If you sent out a letter in the fall, it might be time for a follow up letter if you have not yet heard back from them. This form might help you identify if your free/reduced students reside in a public school Title I attendance area, allowing them to qualify your school for funding. If you are sending a letter for the first time, you may want to use this list of Title I directors to help you address the letters properly. Call me if you have any questions.
Spring Consultation Regarding Health Services Available to your Students: This is just a reminder of the updated 2018 NYSED School Health Services requirements in place now as described on NYSED:SSS:School Health Services. They are as follows:
Physical (Health) examinations are required for new entrants and in grades Pre-K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Dental Certificates must be requested at the same time. Health Examination Guidelines for Schools, Updated Nov 2022 - (Updated form, Mar 2023)
Vision screening for color perception, distance, and near vision acuity is required for new entrants within 6 months of admission to school. Vision screening for distance and near vision acuity is required in grades Pre-K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11. Vision Screening Guidelines (nysed.gov)
Hearing screening utilizing pure tone testing is required for new entrants within 6 months of admission to school and in grades Pre-K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11. Hearing Screening Guidelines (nysed.gov)
Scoliosis screening is required in grades 5 and 7 for girls and grade 9 for boys. NYSED Scoliosis Screening Guidelines
Referring to the list of medical services required above, please remember that your students are entitled to a number of Health Services from your Public School District of location. The health services available to your students upon request are described here Services available include those mandated above such as vision, hearing, and scoliosis screening tests, physical examinations, and in-school immunization. Additionally, nursing services (see #16), dental screening, dental prophylaxis, the maintenance of cumulative health records, emergency care of ill or injured students, compliance with and enforcement of mandatory immunization requirements, guidance for parents, children and teachers in procedures for preventing and correcting defects and diseases, and instruction for school personnel in procedures to take in case of accident or illness may also be requested if these services are provided in their own schools.
I highly recommend that you reach out to your school district of location and discuss the services they provide to their own students regarding these mandates and then request any of these services described if you wish to have them provided by the district for your students. The important thing to remember is that they will not provide these services if you do not request them in writing in a timely manner – please reach out to the district and arrange for a meeting regarding this so that by the end of April you can make a formal request in writing for health services, while also describing any students at your school with exceptional medical (nursing) needs. This will give the district plenty of time to consider the cost of providing your school these services prior to their establishing the school budget to be voted on in May.
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Save the Date!
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:00 am on Wednesdays
- Nate Turner presentation May 4th, 7 pm, Canisius HS
- Celebration (Awards Ceremony) May 30, St. Stephen's
- New Teacher Inservice (including VIRTUS), August 29th
- School Board workshop September 22nd
- Fall Professional Development day, October 6, 2023 @ St. Mary's HS.
- This spring's proposed new Operating Principles for parish schools.
- 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
Catholic School Matters Podcast
This season's Catholic School Matters podcast season is back on the air. This week's episode is a conversation with Marc Martinez of Houston, the founding principal of St. Peter's Catholic Career & Technical High School in Houston, scheduled to open in the fall. This is only the second Catholic Tech High School! Previous episodes:
- conversation with Dr. Antonio Felix of Los Angeles. Antonio directs the PLACE Corps, an LMU-sponsored teaching program for teacher volunteers.
- a conversation with Greg Dhuyvetter, the Executive Director of WCEA (Western Catholic Education Association).
- a conversation iwth Dot Teso, the president of St. Michael Indian School.
- Doug Cooper, the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles, joins to discuss the CEF and this fundraiser.
- Dr. Daryl Hagan, the Interim Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education at Catholic University and the Director of the Lumen Accreditation, which is designed to serve only Catholic schools.
- a conversation with Middle States Executive Director Christian Talbot. We discuss the value of accreditation and the differences with strategic planning
- a conversation with Dylan Corbett, the Executive Director of the Hope Border Institute. He discusses the current situation on the border and their great work
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
My Last 5 Books
- Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011) by Abhijit V. Banergee & Esther Duflo
It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower (2010) by Michela Wrong.
The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality (2016) by Angus Deaton.
Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War (2022) by Howard W. French
Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It (2022) by Richard Reeves
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.