Catholic School Matters
September 6, 2022
Welcoming the Virtues
As we welcome students back to school this week, it's time to introduce our Character Virtues effort. We'd like to focus on one character virtue each month. This month, we'll focus on welcoming. To that end, we've produced a short video explaining and showing the different ways that welcoming can become part of our school cultures. At the end of the month, we'll ask each school to nominate one student for the Character Award. If you want to honor more students on the classroom or school level, you certainly can.
Perhaps you're wondering--what's the point? After all, what difference can one award make? It's difficult to focus on many things school-wide so we're giving you one thing and the fact that we're attempting this diocesan-wide should provide us all opportunities to learn from each other.
Our parents are looking for that value proposition to try to ascertain what makes our schools different. I believe that an emphasis on character formation is one way which sets us apart. Also, the more welcoming our schools become, the more joyful the will be. With joy comes enrollment because we're all looking for connection and joy.
The Executive Principals will be coordinating the videos and educational materials going forward. If you or your students would like to produce the video for a future month's virtue, reach out to any member. For now, enjoy the video and figure out a way to celebrate hospitality!
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
This week our Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Buffalo open their doors for another school year. The summer has flown by but the promise and excitement of growth, community, and joy is just beginning.
To all of the teachers in our schools, don’t rush. Take time this week to get to know your students, build community, and teach those procedures! The work you put in this week will set the tone for the year to come. Time spent on building community doesn’t detract from assessments and teaching standards. Instead, it creates a solid foundation in your classroom that will allow these important elements of instruction to take the forefront for the school year.
School leaders, in the midst of your busy schedules, lunch duties, and classroom visits don’t forget to take a step back and take in the beauty of your school communities. Bask in the joy and use that joy to fuel your work for the year.
I will leave you today with the same message I shared one year ago as we prepared for the first day of school. Once again, we have been blessed with 180 school days to grow, to educate, to worship. We have 180 school days to change the lives of the students entrusted to our care. We have 180 school days to take pride in our Catholic faith and traditions and exemplify that our Catholic schools are where students come alive! Let's get to work!
Sign Up Reminders:
Do you have teachers you would like to sign up for Classroom Learning Labs? Details can be found in the handout; please use this registration form for each teacher you would like to participate. Please complete the registration form by September 14th.
Principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders are invited to participate in this year's Academics PLN. This will take place monthly via zoom from 3:15-4:15 pm. Sign up here! Please complete the registration form by September 2nd.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
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 wnycatholicschools.org website but can also be accessed here.
School boards interested in the Strategic Planning process are being asked to complete a commitment today. Please reach out ASAP if you're planning to join this collaborative effort.
Here is the link for the Office Blog with the latest forms and information. This can be found on the website under "Blogs."
Save the Date for the November 10th Diocesan Education Summit!
For all your STREAM-related content, check out the STREAM page
Chris Riso on Government Services
9/9/22 Last Day to Register for Asbestos Awareness Training
Mandated Services Audits, Official Payroll Records Required: Several of our schools are going through Mandated Services Post Review audits right now. Each reviewed school is required to produce their official payroll records to prove that the salary and benefits amounts they claimed were the amounts actually paid to and on behalf of each claimed staff member. I know I have “recommended” that you print out your payroll records at the end of the year, after August 31st for most schools, but I now think this “recommendation” is now something that is required and must happen at the end of each school year.
Beginning today, please make sure you get an official copy of all payroll and benefits records that will support the salaries and benefits you enter on your Mandated Services Excel spreadsheet and save those copies in your “2021-2022 Mandated Services Documents” folder. For those of you who have not yet requested your Excel spreadsheet, please email me and I will send it to you so you can verify the salary and benefits amounts you plan to claim with your Business Manager based on official copies of your payroll and benefits records. Since you are requesting the 2021-2022 payroll records, you may as well request the 2020-2021 payroll records at the same time.
Training Resource for School Leaders to Provide Mandated Training for Staff as Required by The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (Project SAVE): Project SAVE requires that all staff receive annual training on the emergency response plan and that the school safety training include components on violence prevention and mental health. To assist with meeting this requirement, the Office of Student Support Services has developed a training resource to supplement existing district training on school violence prevention. This recorded slide deck provides an overview of student mental health, violence prevention, and prompts to guide your school through an overview of your District-Wide School Safety Plan and Building-Level Emergency Response Plan. The training includes several opportunities for administrators and/or safety team members to lead participants through discussions and review of district and school protocols and safety plans. Additional information and a link to the recorded training module are available on the Student Support Services SAVE webpage, under News. Questions should be directed to 518-486-6090 or SafetyPlans@nysed.gov.
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
- 9/12: Girls volleyball coaches meeting (including scheduling) 7 pm @OLV cafeteria
- 9/12: Cross country coaches meeting 7 pm @ OLV cafeteria
- 9/13: First Aid/CPR training for fall coaches in need of new or re-certification, 7 pm @ St. Paul's Kenmore
- 9/15: AD handbook & new sports meeting 7 pm @ St. Amelia
- Please see the bowling, 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!
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:00 am on Wednesdays. Due to the opening of school, we won't be holding a meeting this week.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 8th graders, Sep 13, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 12th graders, Sep 27, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral. Please RSVP here.
- Diocesan Professional Development Day October 7, 2022 at St. Amelia's.
- Diocesan Education Summit, November 10th. This is for principals, pastors/canonical administrators, board chairs, and one other stakeholder (4 from each school).
- Academic Initiatives for 2022-23
- The Diocesan Health Scorecard.
- School Pastor's Administrative Guide
- "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
- Here's a link to the forms on our website.
- 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
Catholic School Matters Podcast
The podcast will resume next week with a great conversation with Rich Clark of Partnership Schools. Highlights from last year:
- David Palmieri joins the conversation. David is a high school theology teacher who has started a grassroots network of Catholic high school educators to explore issues surrounding LGBT+ students in our schools.
- Nicole Garnett of Notre Dame's Law School joins the podcast to discuss school choice and the recent Carson v. Makin case.
- Kari Buchinger and I discuss the Diocesan Health Scorecards. We discuss how they came about, how they evolved, who was involved, and how we collected the information.
- I take a look at controversies that have impacted Catholic schools. There is not a guest! It's just me exploring the issues. There is a resource page, too.
- Dan Horn, the President/Principal of St. Genevieve Parish Schools, joins the podcast to discuss his successful turnarounds at two separate Catholic school sin the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Dan is a transformational leader whose story is inspiring
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 will get you caught up on a few issues which bubbled to the surface over the past few weeks:
- Catholic school's identity status in question after flying pride and BLM flags·
- Archdiocese of Omaha releases new ‘human sexuality’ policies for Catholic schools
- · Villanova University criticized for new ‘gender inclusive’ guide
- · Bishop Daly explains that schools must defend Catholic identity
- David Palmieri explores the implications of these policies
- · African-American Sioux Falls Catholic student told to cut hair or be expelled
- · USDA exempts religious schools from LGBT rule change
- · St. Louis Archdiocese tells Catholic schools to drop free lunch program
- · Archdiocese of Boston launches new teacher training program
· Court sides with Indianapolis Catholic school over firing
Articles for Your Reflection
St. Charles Borromeo Nearly Doubles Its Enrollment - Partnership Schools
This week, St. Charles Borromeo School enrolled their 369th student. Just three years ago-as St. Charles joined the Partnership in 2019-they had 186 students. Principal Natalia Rodrigo and her team have nearly doubled the size of the school, and the student body has increased over forty percent since just last year.
Op-Ed: Pandemic learning loss is real. Schools must follow the science to make up for it
When the stakes are high for policy decisions, as they of course are during a public health crisis, we hear the mantra "follow the science." As millions of students are back in class for the third school year affected by COVID-19, this tenet applies to schools as well.
The Editors: Catholic schools can't serve only the rich. School vouchers make fulfilling that mission possible.
In 1808, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and her religious sisters established a Catholic school for girls in Baltimore. St. Katharine Drexel established mission schools in the South and West to serve African Americans and Native Americans. In the late 19th century, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini established Catholic schools in Chicago to serve the Italian immigrant community.
Perspective | Rise of the 'jackhammer parent'
Last year, a website called VeryWellFamily.com published an article on "lawn-mower parents" - successors to the "helicopter parent" who were long known for "hovering" over their children and being overly involved in their lives. Lawn-mower parents were even more overly involved, according to the article, making "helicopter parents look mild in comparison," not just hovering.
Tips from neuroscience to keep you focused on hard tasks
Some of scientists' most rewarding moments come when we confront a hard problem or a difficult task. Solving a major methodological hurdle, designing an elegant experiment, making sense of a puzzling result, working on a new model or writing a paper or grant proposal are the intellectual challenges that make a career in science so exciting.
My Last 5 Books
- What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life (2003) by Thomas H. Groome
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It (2017) by Chris Voss
- His Name is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice (2022) by Robert Samuels & Toluse Olorunnipa
What Makes Education Catholic: Spiritual Foundations (2021) by Thomas H. Groome
Conscience & Catholic Education: Theology, Administration, and Teaching (2022) ed. Kevin C. Baxter & David E. DeCosse
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading
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.