Catholic School Matters
November 14, 2023
The first quarter has wrapped and it’s time for a progress report. Here is our progress on our four strategic priorities:
Our Middle States self-study process is underway.
Our District Team has met once and will meet again at the end of the month.
Each school has been challenged to form a School Improvement Team to work on its school history, mission, vision, values, and Profile of a Graduate.
We’re beginning to work on surveys which will be distributed in January.
Our STAR formative assessment is underway with one testing period finished. Also, 17 schools sent personnel for the three-day STAR Champions Academy.
Our Board training workshop, courtesy of our partnership with Boston College’s Roche Center, was held in September and now we’ll begin working with individual School Boards.
We have launched our partnership with Notre Dame’s ACE program to build stronger leadership programs.
That’s not to say that’s all we’ve been doing. However, it’s important to highlight our strategic priorities since these are all new directions and are all directed toward our goal of building a new culture in our Catholic schools–more collaborative, transparent, and data-driven.
Highlights of our normal operations:
Chris Riso continues to build capacity in our schools to understand issues surrounding government funding, school choice, and government services. His new quarterly Zooms are innovative and his weekly blog proves to be go-to reading for most school leaders.
Laurie & Nancy continue to work on planning and promoting Diocesan events such as bowling, the math competition (scheduled for this Friday), as well as upcoming events.
The monthly Character awards are proving to be infectious
The Advisory Council is adding value through its school health metrics and financial analyses
We had a successful PD Day and our focus on the joyful classroom (courtesy of our partnership with Loyola-Chicago's Greeley Center) continues
I’m going to be visiting every parish school before the calendar year ends which will give us a chance to connect and share. If you have any suggestions for topics, let me know!
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," or subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast.
Dr. Tim Uhl
Principal Jonna Johnson joined me in honoring Fr. Dan Serbicki of St. John's in Alden as this year's Distinguished Pastor
Studio 3:16 has a special offer to bring its video-based supplemental religion curriculum to 3 lucky religion classrooms? Interested? Email Dr. Uhl. The deadline is 11/21 so you need to move fast!
We've created a google doc for agendas and notes from the 8:30 am Wed Teams Meetings. Here is the link.
The Diocesan Spelling Bee will be held on January 29th at 6pm at Mount St. Mary’s High School. Please register your top 3 spellers HERE after you have held your own school-wide spelling bee. You can find resources and practice spelling words HERE along with some tips for your in-school spelling bees.
All Catholic schools are asked to consider sponsoring the Catholic Education luncheon, purchase tickets and ads, and tables. Here is the link.
Important eSchool data entry reminders: (Please share with whoever makes corrections to your eSchool records)
ALL students who transfer out of your school to another school MUST use code 170. All other codes create errors and would need to be corrected. Please never use code 153.
When new students are added during the year, remember to add their home district and the “from” date on the registration page.
When adding PK students, please mark them to NOT report on state reports. This can be done as a large group or on an individual basis – but it extremely important to have them marked this way. When those students move up to Kindergarten they will then have to be marked TO report on state reports. Again – this is a very important distinction.
Here's the link to the Office Blog
Chris Riso on Government Services
- 11/17/23 BEDS Report Due to NYSED via Business Portal IRS-Data Exchange
- 12/1/23 Fire Safety Inspection Must be Completed; Report Due 12/16/2023
- 12/15/23 NYSDOH Annual School Immunization Survey Due
Substantial Equivalency Update: After an informal meeting with representatives from NYSED on Friday, I learned that there will be an update sent out early this week regarding Substantial Equivalency. This update should include:
A delayed deadline (1/15/24) for your District to indicate which pathway you have selected.
Updates to the list of approved assessments for Pathway 6. There was discussion that the following assessment should be approved: Renaissance STAR, Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
I did not hear about iReady or MAP being approved, but they indicated iReady would be approved if someone requested its inclusion using their form. If your school wishes for MAP (or another assessment) be sure to use that link to submit a request for inclusion.
A list of approved accrediting institutions. Middle States should be on this list.
NonPublic Safety Equipment Forms Released - 3/31/24 Submission Deadline: NYSED has posted the Year 10 NonPublic Safety Equipment Grant (NPSE) allocation amounts on the NYSED website here: Nonpublic Schools Grant Opportunities web page. If you want to look at your current allocation amount and are having trouble finding your school on their form, email me. Unfortunately, they did not include the carryover amounts on this document but hope to update this soon. They also did not include the updated application and guidance documents so I will let you know when they are posted; for now refer to the Year 9 application and guidance and remember that my July 18th CSM note explained that the scope of projects eligible for reimbursement has been expanded to include the “remediation of hazardous conditions, and the repair and maintenance of buildings, facilities, appurtenances, equipment and systems to maintain the health and safety of school building occupants.”.
BEDS Online Report Due to NYSED by 11/17: Thank you for finalizing your NYSED BEDS Report and submitting it online via the “IRS Data Exchange” application on the NYSED Business Portal (http://portal.nysed.gov/). After you successfully submit your BEDS Report to NYSED, please email me or Laurie (email@example.com) so we know it has been submitted. Thank you for also saving your responses in the Google Sheet shared with you by our office; this allows us to see your submitted BEDS data.
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
Articles for Your Reflection
4 Attributes of a Great Assistant Principal
4 Attributes of a Great Principal in 2013, and it was shared with me just this past week, over ten years after it was written. To think that I am re-reading something I forgot I had written in the first place is one of the reasons I love the blogging process.
Catholic School Matters Podcast
This season's Catholic School Matters podcast season is underway. This week, Lauren May and Ron Matus from Step Up For Students, a Florida school choice advocacy group, join the podcast to describe the Florida school choice landscape and what the research is showing. Previous episodes:
- I bring Kelby Woodard back on the podcast. Kelby is now the President/CEO of the Cristo Rey Network after previously serving as a Head of School. He updates the status of Cristo Rey schools in development as well as new challenges to Cristo Rey.
- In October, I kicked off a series of podcasts on leadership in Catholic schools. These five podcasts include a conversation with a Catholic school leader about five controversies which have impacted Catholic schools in the past year. Then I invite on another Catholic school thought leader to reflect on what they've heard.
- In the fifth and final installment, Chris Mominey of Avanti Advisers comes on to discuss a number of different controversies and then Dr. Daniel McMahon returns to the podcast to reflect on what he heard. Here's a blog about the episode
- The fourth podcast includes a conversation with Dr. Melanie Palmisano about five controversies and then a reflection by Dr. Antonio Felix of LMU. Here's a blog post about the episode
- The third podcast includes a conversation with Dr. Kevin Baxter of ACE about five controversies, and then a shorter conversation Dr. Bill Hughes. Here's a blog post about the episode
- The second in the series includes a conversation with Greg Richmond of the Archdiocese of Chicago and commentary from Faustin Weber. Here's a blog post about the podcast.
- The first podcast includes a conversation with Dr. Daniel McMahon from DeMatha Catholic High School and a reflection by Beth Purvis of Wake Forest. I've also penned a blog post which gives a little more context to the project
- I invite John Kennedy of St. Joseph High School in South Bend onto the show to discuss the school's decision to drop their Native American nickname and the process by which this decision occurred
- I spoke with Fr. Jack Podsiadlo, SJ, the author of the recent book "The Nativity Phenomenon." In the book, he tells the story of how the Nativity schools began and their incredible growth. Now semi-retired back home at McQuaid, this was a face-to-face conversation.
- I brought David Palmieri back on the podcast to discuss diocesan policies about human sexuality. Palmieri has done the homework to discover origins of different policies and find out how they are related to each other. We discuss the different types of policies, their origins, and their implications
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
My Last 5 Books
The Art of Learning ( 2007) by Josh Waitkin
The Great Dechurching: Who's Leaving, Why Are They Going, and What Will It Take to Bring Them Back? (2023) by Jim Davis, Michael Graham, and Ryan Burge.
The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century (2010) by Joan Chittister
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (2017) by David Grann.
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. Most recently, I have completed a new book proposal so book #2 is underway!