Catholic School Matters
February 1, 2022
Catholic Schools Week #CSW2022Buffalo
For many, Catholic Schools Week is the kickoff to next year’s registration and a time to market your school. For principals, it’s a busy week dealing with schedule changes and activities. My hope is that we can make it something more. Providing celebrations and rewards builds community. And building community strengthens our bonds to each other. With stronger bonds comes better retention.
Coupled with our sense of community, I would hope we would examine our schools in light of Pope Francis’s call to accompaniment. We can all become discouraged by the lack of participation by school families in our schools and parishes. The old paradigm was that people would attend Mass every Sunday because it was required (and a sin not to!). Or that every parent would participate in the HSA because they’re supposed to. This paradigm is no longer effective.
We need to invite people. Personally. Don’t just announce it in the newsletter or post it on Facebook. We need to pick up the phone and call people! It needs to be personal to be meaningful. This is one way that schools who use parent ambassadors are using best practices. If one were to look for opportunities for evangelization, there would be no greater opportunity that Catholic elementary schools. We need each other and are saved in community, not in isolation. We should focus more on how often our families come (5x or more per week) than how often they don’t (e.g. Sundays).
I hope you use this week to thank all of your stakeholders and show them your gratitude for their participation in our schools. A written thank you note goes a long way! We need to find ways to keep connecting our communities. Enjoy the week! A few other resources for you:
- Video thanking parents from the superintendent
- Video thanking teachers from the Mr. Chris Riso
- Bishop Mike’s video thanking teachers
- Mary Doyle-Szlosek's (principal at OLV) guest editorial on the value of Catholic schools
- Immaculate Conception's (East Aurora) great little song and video celebrating Catholic Schools Week
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Dr. Tim Uhl
Visit to St. Mary's
Bishop Fisher spoke about mercy, grief, and becoming a saint. But what they'll remember is he gave them a day off!
Fatheads at St. John's
Students at St. John's greeted Bishop Fisher with Fatheads as they cheered him on
Please fill out your office/school needs from the Department of Catholic Schools by Friday, February 4th. Here is the 2022-2023 School Supplies order form
The January 25th COVID mitigation memo suggests ways for schools to navigate the post-mask world.
It is our pleasure to share with you a scholarship opportunity for an eighth grade student who embodies the charism of the late Tim Russert – a student who has strong writing skills, is considered a leader in the classroom, is attune to the political landscape and who exercises critical thinking skills. The scholarship includes a one year, $2,500 Catholic high school tuition voucher. Here is the nomination form and additional details about the award.
Here is the nomination form for The Natalie Mattimore Lewis “Kindness Counts Character Award” presented to a seventh grade student. The deadline for submission is Friday, February 18th, 2022.
Kari Buchinger on Academics
Yay, this is one of my favorite techniques to help students strengthen their writing. "An appositive is a second noun, or a phrase or clause that is equivalent to a noun, that is placed beside another noun to explain in more fully" (Hockman).
For example, New York City, the largest city in the United States, is a major tourist attraction. The underlined phrase is the appositive. This clause provides more information for the reader and allows the writer to add necessary details.
When creating appositives, it is important to teach students to avoid verbs. In the example above, the appositive is "the largest city in the United States," not "which is the largest city in the United States." The addition of "which" turns this into a relative clause.
When you are ready to introduce this topic, you can start with clear examples of appositives in sentences. Students can begin by identifying the appositive in a sentence as we did above. Remind them if you take away the appositive, you still have a complete sentence. If we omit the appositive above, "New York City is a major tourist attraction" is still a complete sentence.
This writing activity can once again be taught, practiced, and reinforced using the content students are currently studying. For example, if you are studying alternate energy sources, you may write, "wind energy, a renewable resource, can produce electricity to power a city."
The addition of appositives will expand the complexity of sentences as students write paragraphs and essays. This also opens the door for more in-depth writing in the content areas. What are you waiting for? Find the time to teach this technique to your students and embed it in all content areas. Their writing skills will blossom before your eyes.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
NonPublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Reimbursement Update: NYSED has finally posted the Year 8 Non Public Safety Equipment (NPSE) allocations and reimbursement forms on their website. As of today NYSED has not yet provided notice of whether you had any remaining funds from Years 1-7, nor whether you have any “approved, unreimbursed expenditures” based on the Year 7 claims; due to this delay you should try your best to estimate if you have any remaining funds from Years 1-7 or any “approved, unreimbursed expenditures” while you decide how much you actually have available for possible reimbursement on any new expenditures incurred by this March 31st. The reimbursement form for this program must be submitted to NYSED by 3/31/22 so be sure you leave enough time for the application to arrive on that date by mail. Please contact SORIS if you have any questions at 518-474-6541 or you can email the SORIS office directly at SORIS@nysed.gov.
Mandated Services Update: The online system is finally open for 2020-2021 Mandated Services claims! To open a new 2020-2021 claim, go to the Mandated Services application on the NYSED Business Portal and, next to “Create:”, click on the button marked “2021-New”. When you hover over “2021” once the screen reloads, the new claim should be on the screen and marked as “OPEN”. Before you begin entering your claim online, I highly recommend you use the personalized Excel spreadsheet I have created for your school; once you clean up this information you can use the resulting information on the second tab (“20-21 MSA Claim”) to fill out your “Form 2” Word document. Once “Form 2” is complete, you have everything you need to enter your claim online.
To begin working on your new, “Open” claim just click “Edit”. Although the first thing to show on your screen is the CAP certification and the instructions direct you to work on this first, you should ignore this section for now because you have no salary and benefits information entered in Mandate 1 yet; you can work on this section later before you submit your claim (after my review). In order to work on the other parts of your claim, click on the “Summary of Expenditures” button on the bottom of the right side of this page. This will bring up a list of the Mandates that you may enter information for. Start by clicking on “Enrollment” – you must check one of the choices given; if the pre-populated BEDS counts are correct and are also the highest enrollment you had for the 2020-2021 year, check “BEDS on file” and then “Save Form” at the top of the page. The page will refresh and you can move on to another Mandate; I recommend that you work on Mandate 1 before moving on to any other sections. At this point you should be able to continue completing the form as you did in previous years, taking into account the new COVID-related changes described by NYSED. One important note: You must click on the “Save Form” button after completing an entry for each mandate or you could lose that information.
Once you have entered your information from Form 2 online and saved each Mandate for your claim, send me an email so I can look it over before you submit it. With the “Days in the Year” requirements and with some sections possibly being “pre-filled” due to COVID Hold-Harmless potentially causing problems and confusion, I am particularly interested in making sure your claims are filled out as NYSED asked so the claim can proceed without delay (i.e. without a HOLD); please allow me to look your claim over before you submit it. Thank you for doing all the work needed so that the submission process will run smoothly for you. Please let me know if you have any questions.
COVID Update: Last week was very confusing with regard to the NYS Mask Mandate in schools. Until we have anything formal from either NYSED or NYSDOH indicating a formal change to this mask mandate, you should continue to require masks in school throughout the school day.
CIDEL “Call to Leadership” Event on 3/5 for Administrators & Aspiring Administrators: The development of educational leaders in your building is very important for the future of both your school and Catholic Education. Today’s teachers will be tomorrow’s principals, but only if you encourage them to consider becoming a school administrator in the future. The Committee for the Identification and Development of Educational Leadership (CIDEL), of which I am a member, exists to help you with this task (Click for website). I would like to invite you and your teachers to the CIDEL “Call to Leadership” taking place on Saturday, March 5th from 8:30am to Noon at Erie 1 BOCES (355 Harlem Road, West Seneca). The “Call” is a great event for teachers looking for more information on becoming a school leader. Tanika Shedrick, Associate Superintendent of School Leadership of the Buffalo Public Schools will give the Keynote at this event titled “Impactful Leadership: Healing, Inspiring, and Growing your School Community”. The cost for this event is $30 and CTLE credit is available for those who need it. See the attached flyer for more information. Click here to register online: Call To Leadership 2022 Registration (google.com)
2/7/22: Last Day to Submit Buffalo Public Schools Textbook Requisitions
2/14/22: HSScholarship for Academic Excellence (SAE) Nomination Due
3/18/22: Last Day to Submit Erie 1 BOCES Textbook Orders
3/23/22: Deadline to Save Mandated Services Claim online for C. Riso Review
3/31/22: NYSED Nonpublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Application Due
3/31/22: NYSED Elem School AIS Purchases/Projects/Payments Completed
4/1/22: Online 2020-21 Mandated Services Claim Due to NYSED
4/1/22: Parent Requests for 2022-23 Transportation Due to Public School Districts
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Save the Date!
- Revised Catholic Schools Week schedule
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:30 am on Wednesdays.
- The National Day of Giving for Catholic Schools is scheduled for Feb 2, 2022. Here's a link for more information.
- Primetime televised segment to support Catholic Education on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022 from 8:00-9:00 PM on WBBZ-TV
- X-Stream Games, May 15, 2022.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 8th graders, Sep 20, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral
- The Executive Summary. of this year's school data.
- Video recording of All-schools Mass at OLV with Bishop Fisher. Here is the link to Dr. Uhl's talk.
- "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
- New Operations Manual
- Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form
Catholic School Matters Podcast
This week, Roy Petitfils joins the podcast to discuss the impact the pandemic has had on us all. As a counselor, speaker, and former Catholic School administrator, he has a unique perspective. Previous episodes:
- Dr. Lauren Casella of LMU joins the podcast to discuss her work with our Principal PLN to strengthen Catholic identity.
- Last week's podcast is a discussion with author Mark Shea about the divisions and tensions within the Catholic Church.
- Last week's podcast is a great conversation with Diocese of Orlando Superintendent Henry Fortier. One of the few African-American Catholic school superintendents, Henry discusses the challenges of the past few year
- I was joined on the podcast by Dr. Ann Garrido, the author/speaker/ professor of homiletics.
- The December 27th episode was a conversation with Jennifer Daniels of the USCCB about government programs and school choice.
- In the December 20th episode, Bridgette Theurer discusses Resilient Leadership
- In the December 13th episode, I'm talking with Jodee Blanco about parents bullying the school.
- Here is the link to the Dec 7th conversation with Faustin Weber, the author of the great blog post "Top Ten Suggestions to Avoid Principal Burnout."
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
Articles for Your Reflection
My Last 5 Books
- St. Francis of Assisi (2015) by G.K. Chesterton
The Power Broker: Robert Moses & the Fall of New York (1975) by Robert A. Caro
The Best of Me (2020) by David Sedaris
A Disarming Spirit: The Life of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen (2018) by Frank Fromherz
Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence & the Problem of Control (2019) by Stuart Russell
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.