Catholic School Matters
March 15, 2020
Let's Talk About Truth
I had the privilege to read Ann Garrido’s latest book Let’s Talk About Truth last month and her message of examining, articulating, and challenging truth in our world has been swimming in my mind ever since. She challenges Christians to speak out in defense of truth and recognize that there is such a thing as objective truth. She posits that we should all be trying to align ourselves with the truth. In other words, our reality should try to align with objective reality.
Then I heard President Trump address Coronavirus concerns in February. “Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover. … So, healthy people, if you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine,” he said. The implication is that if you’re not healthy, you’re not important. And I’ve heard this repeated over and over—that our students aren’t in danger and we shouldn’t be so concerned.
Yet we are concerned about our students serving as vectors (meaning that our students are going to spread), not as much as victims. Here is a great article about whether closing schools helps contain pandemics. We need to be concerned about all members of our community and closing our schools can help to flatten the curve and protect all our citizens.
My concern is that we are allowing people to become dehumanized. We can now include the elderly and sick with immigrants, non-Americans, and the disabled. We cannot allow this to continue. Every person has dignity and worth. This is our truth and we need to work to align our current political reality with this truth.
Why are we not speaking out? I think the reason can be found not in Garrido’s book but in a NCR interview with Bishop John Michael Botean of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George’s. Bishop Botean alludes to the fact that to have any “leverage with the administration,” they need to support the president. Too many Catholics, including our bishops, have become enamored with the results of the current administration and fail to question the false statements and outrageous and un-Christian comments. The ends don’t justify the means.
Garrido’s book provides a framework for understanding truth and calling one to action. Jesus spoke out for the marginalized, he didn’t further marginalize the neglected. And then I ran into a LinkedIn post by Lizanne Pando, the current President of St. Hubert School for Girls. Lizanne was celebrating her daughter’s acceptance to college. Jenna, who has Down Syndrome, was accepted to a college program. The joy on her face (pictured with her father) is a testament to the gifts and beauty of every person, not just the healthy normative types celebrated by so many in our current political climate.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
Case Studies Ripped from the Headlines
A Connecticut family was sued by a Catholic school for unpaid tuition after they decided over the summer to not enroll. What are your policies and procedures for collecting unpaid tuition? Do you understand how those might be perceived?
American Catholic School News
Catholic Schools Opening & Closing
- Parents are rallying to save a Pennsylvania Catholic school
- Las Vegas Catholic school in danger of closing
- From earlier this school year:
- New Catholic Schools Opening Soon: A new Catholic school opening this fall in Henderson, NV; a new independent Catholic high school opening this fall in northern Colorado; Catholic high school for Pensacola special needs teens opening this fall; Plans are underway for new Stillwater (MN) Catholic high school; New Chesterton Academy HS will open this fall in Detroit
- California: Dio of Sac spelled out requirements to keep a Catholic high school open
- Connecticut: 3 Connecticut Catholic schools to consolidate; Meriden (CT) Catholic school to close
- Delaware: Lower Delaware Catholic high school to close
- Illinois: The Archdiocese of Chicago announced 5 more Catholic schools will close; Elgin (IL) Catholic School Consolidation plan announced; Rolling Meadows (IL) Catholic school evaluated for closing; Archdiocese of Chicago announces consolidation of 3 Catholic schools on northwest side
- Kentucky: Louisville (KY) Catholic school to close
- Louisiana: Christ the King in Terrytown (LA) will close at end of year; Houma (LA) Catholic school to close; Youngsville (LA) new school on hold
- Maine: Small Maine Catholic school to close at end of year
- Massachusetts: Two Massachusetts Catholic schools to close; Massachusetts Catholic high school to privatize; Diocese of Worchester to merge two Catholic high schools; One Boston Catholic school closes; another moves in next year
- Michigan: Flint's St. Pius X Catholic school to close
- New Jersey: Two Diocese of Trenton schools scheduled to close
- New York: Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School on Long Island will close at the end of the year; Marist HS (Bayonne, NY) to close at end of year; Canton (NY) Catholic school to close; Rochester (NY) Catholic school to close at end of year; 4 Staten Island Catholic schools to merge into two academies; 2 NYC Catholic schools to merge into 1 academy; Brooklyn Catholic school to close after this year
- Ohio: Diocese of Cleveland to close a Catholic school in Akron
- Pennsylvania: 2 Pittsburgh Catholic schools will close and another 4 Catholic schools will merge into one school; Small Erie Catholic school open since 1885 to close & two more to merge in regionalization plan
- Virginia: Diocese of Richmond HS scheduled to close at the end of the year
Teaching & Learning
What I'm Up To
Everything is cancelled! By the time this newsletter is published I wouldn't be surprised if all our schools are closed. The speed at which closures and interruptions is happening is dizzying. I have a couple of meetings scheduled but I imagine we'll have to take a look at whether Advisory Councils/School Boards will be meeting face to face.
On this week’s Catholic School Matters podcast, Dr. Ann Garrido, professor of homiletics and author of the recent book “Let’s Talk About Truth: A Guide for Preachers, Teachers, and Other Catholic Leaders in a World of Doubt and Discord, joins the podcast (again!) to discuss her book on truth and what she was hoping to accomplish.
The Director of the Onward Leaders program in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Meg Samaniego, describes the leadership formation program in the Archdiocese. Seventeen emerging leaders have been trained with sixteen still in the Archdiocese and six are being trained this year. Samaniego describes what they are looking for and the three levers they use to train new leaders: stewardship, navigating the Archdiocesan school system, and a sense of mission of the school as part of the parish, the Archdiocese, and the church at large.
On last week's Catholic School Matters Radio Hour, I brought on three guests to discuss different chapters of my new book, Orchestrating Conflict: Case Studies in Catholic School Leadership. Dr. Ann Garrido, Dr. Mimi Schuttloffel, and Joe Womac join me to discuss the chapter they've read and the thoughts and ideas it spurred.
- Monday: Butte Central Catholic School Board meeting (Butte)
- Tuesday: St. Mary's School Advisory Council Meeting (Livingston)
- Wednesday: Office (Helena) & Carroll College presentation
- Thursday: Office (Helena)
- Friday: Office (Helena)
Miles this week: 411 road miles
Miles travelled in 2019-20: 23,438 road miles; 34,561 air miles
What I'm Reading
The Last 5 Books:
- Awareness: Conversations with the Masters by Anthony de Mello
The Vindication of Tradition (1984) Jaroslav Pelikan
Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership, 4th edition (2008) by Lee G. Bolman & Terrence E. Deal
Fragmented Catholicity and Social Cohesion: Faith Schools in a Plural Society (2012) by Ann Casson
Let's Talk About Truth: A Guide for Preachers, Teachers, and Other Catholic Leaders in a World of Doubt and Discord (2020) by Ann M. Garrido
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading
For Montana Administrators & Teachers
- Here is a link from the March 3rd meeting. For the April 7th meeting, school leaders are challenged to tell a story about a family which was transformed by your school
Past Issues of Catholic School Matters
Mar 8, 2020 "Orchestrating Conflict"
Mar 1, 2020 "Building a Stronger School Community"
Feb 16, 2020 "Catholic but not Christian"
Feb 9, 2020 R.I.P. Archbishop Brunett
Feb 2, 2020 "The Nashville Exchange"
Jan 26, 2020 "Learning from our Elders"
Jan 12, 2020 "Shaping School Culture"
Jan 5, 2020 "Timelessness"
Nov 24, 2019 "Best of the Fall"
Nov 17, 2019 "Synodality"
Nov 3, 2019 "Finance Best Practices"
Oct 27, 2019 "Blaine Amendments"
Oct 20, 2019 "Community & Belongingness"
Oct 13, 2019 Sr. Angie's Lawlapalooza
Oct 6, 2019 "River of Fire"
Sep 29, 2019 "Male and Female He Created Them"
Sep 22, 2019 "Surveying Catholic Culture"
Sep 15, 2019 "New Catholic Schools"
Sep 8, 2019 "The Mustard Seed Project"