Catholic School Matters
May 10, 2022
School Health Scorecards
One of our most important initiatives we've developed this year is the School Health Scorecards. This process began with our Ad Hoc Committee responding to the Road to Renewal. The question was posed, "How do we know if our Catholic schools are good? And if they have a sustainable future?" As families of parishes have to make decisions about the use of their resources, the question was whether we could develop a tool to help with this process.
As we began the work with our Advisory Committee on Operational Vitality, the conversation shifted into how we can help schools determine where they need to focus their resources. Where do they need to improve?
We identified 21 metrics of school health and our department compiled scores for each school. The first step is this Elementary School Health Scorecard. This shows the average and range of scores on each metric and will be widely published. Later this week, we'll give each school leader an individual school scorecard with their school's score compared to the diocesan averages. Our hope is that each school leader will share with his/her stakeholders as a means to promote school improvement.
What we're looking into sponsoring is a collaborative strategic planning process where a school's stakeholders (pastors, boards, administration) will come together in one room and listen to a strategic planning presentation and then use this data to help form their plans. More info on this to come.
For now, what we have created is a valuable tool to measure school health. Important to note that we created this. We identified the metrics we could measure and gave us insight into the realities of our schools. Some of the results are disappointing; some are hopeful. Either way, we have an illuminating tool. We have measurements in the following areas:
- Demographics: We have measurements of the number of learning accommodations, Hispanic students, non-white students, BISON scholarship recipients, Catholic students & staff, and percentage of 8th graders going on to Catholic high schools. This gives a picture of the students and context of each school
- Finances: We measure the Cost of Education, subsidy, fundraising, average teacher salary, and student-teacher ratio. This section was the most work to put together. Subsidy, for example, we defined as all parish support for the school. Often schools would say "the parish doesn't give us a subsidy." They mean that the parish doesn't budget for a subsidy. But the school is projection a $150k deficit and the parish will then cover that. We call that a $150k subsidy! For average teacher salary, we researched the average salary in the public school district of each school and compared it to the average for the school.
- Academics: We have only two measures--the average across all subjects and all grades who took the NYS tests and the number of STREAM academies taught. We hope that next year's implementation of the STAR test will provide a valuable measure of student growth.
- Boards & HSA: We settled on number of times the board has reviewed the school's financial position and the number of times the HSA has met. There is not perfect measure; this is the best we could come up with to see how those constituent groups are operating.
- Enrollment & Retention: We measured the 5-year total enrollment trend, this year's Kinder enrollment compared to the past 10 years (at each individual school), the 5-year retention average for four grades, and the percent of teacher retention from June to September 2021. We didn't measure retention of students during the year but we have surveyed schools and found that they have lost an average of 2.7 teachers during this school year.
We'll be spending time with our principals on Thursday during our meeting talking through observations and questions about this scorecard. This will help direct our efforts toward school improvement next year.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
Here is the latest version of the directory of schools. If you're not happy with your picture, bring your smile on Thursday!
Recycling poster contest info here.
Here is the tentative list of dates for meetings & activities for the 2022-23 school year.
Safe Environment audit instructions have been sent to your Safe Environment coordinators. This is due back May 15th. Please check to make sure everything is on track.
Kari Buchinger on Academics
We have an exciting week filled with special events for students in the Diocese of Buffalo. This week kicked off with the opening of the Diocesan Art Show at Saints Peter and Paul School in Williamsville. There you will find incredible displays of 3D sculptures, drawings, paintings, and glass work, as you listen to former and current SSPP students play the piano. If you would like to see the incredible talent of our students you can visit the art show later this week.
- Tuesday, May 10 from 2:30-4:00 pm
- Wednesday, May 11 from 2:30-4:00 pm
- Thursday, May 12 4:00-7:00 pm
We start the week with an art show and wrap up the week with our X-STREAM Games event on Sunday, May 15 from 12:00-4:00 pm at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. Schools have been invited to display their STREAM projects and join in some exciting competitions. Join us to see our engineers, artists, and scientists partake in a robotics competition, forensics challenges, our own version of Shark Tank, and so much more!
Come cheer on your students as they show off the incredible talents that they have developed while thriving in our Catholic Schools!
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
Title IIa Funds – Complete a Written 2022-2023 PD Plan by 6/10/2022: I just wanted to remind you that you will need to make a decision in the next few months as to how you would like the public school district to spend Title IIa funds for your Professional Development needs. In order to make this decision, you really should take the time now to work with your staff and complete a written Professional Development Plan. Now is the time you should be finalizing your written Professional Development plan for the 2022-2023 school year. Make sure you decide on your school’s PD focus and ensure your budget of both Title IIa funds and school-based funds allows you to successfully implement your plan. For those interested, I have prepared an updated PD Plan template recommended by our Department, one that asks you to identify the biggest concerns in your school, decide on the PD you would like to attempt as a way to remediate that concern, and establish a way to measure whether your PD has led to any improvements in the classroom related to that concern. Please continue your consultation with the public school district in which you are located regarding your Title IIa dollars and make a decision as to where those funds will “reside” for the 2022-2023 school year so you can complete and sign the “2022-2023 Written Affirmation of LEA Consultation with Private School Officials” form by the end of August. Call me if you wish to discuss your Title IIa options once you have established your PD plan.
Required Daily NYSDOH COVID Survey Changes: On 5/2/22, NYDOH notified you that the format of the required Daily COVID Survey changed on 5/9/22. You now only need to enter two pieces of information: the number of COVID tests conducted or coordinated by your school (separated by students, teachers, and staff) and the number of new COVID positive cases at your school. The survey will no longer ask you to enter your teaching model, enrollment numbers, holiday closings, and temporary closings nor the specific questions regarding screening testing, diagnostic testing, antigen testing and PCR testing. From their email, “please note that the requirement to report COVID-19 testing and positive results remains in effect. All COVID-19 testing, positive test results reported in any manner to schools, and related information among students, teaching staff, and any other employees or volunteers must be reported on a daily basis to the Department via the daily survey. Additional information can be found here
5/20/22 Last Day to Register for Free UB Summer Graduate Classes
6/1/22 Last day for Parents to Request Special Education Services from Districts
6/10/22 Complete 2022-23 Professional Development Plan (Recommended)
6/30/22 AIS Reimbursement Form Due to NYSED – Elementary Schools Only
8/1/22 NYSED 2021-2022 MST/STEM Grant Submission Deadline
Previous posts from Mr. Riso
- The Diocesan Health Scorecard.
- The "Shoot for the Stars" one-hour TV special.
- School Pastor's Administrative Guide
- 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
- 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.
- Earlier this month, the podcast features a great panel to provide a primer on the latest Congregation for Catholic Education's document, "The Identity of a Catholic School for a Culture of Dialogue": Dr. Melodie Wyttenbach, the Executive Director of the Roche Center; Dr. John Piderit, SJ of the Roche Center; and Dr. Lauren Casella of Loyola Marymount.
- 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
- John Reyes of the Roche Center joins the podcast to discuss his contribution to the "Cultivating Talent" report and his journey of leadership
- Dr. Elena Sada of the Roche Center joins me to discuss their ground-breaking report, Cultivating Talent, which investigates how to recruit and retain Hispanic educators in our Catholic schools. She also discusses bilingual Catholic education and the role of the TWIN-CS.
- Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, the President of the Association of Catholic Colleges & Universities (ACCU) joins me to discuss the disruptions of the pandemic, the challenges to Catholic higher education, and leading with mission.
- Gloria Purvis joined me on the podcast to discuss Black Catholicism and racism in the Church
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
Articles for Your Reflection
Dual language immersion program brings beloved Alhambra Catholic school back to life
ALHAMBRA, Calif. (KABC) -- An Alhambra elementary school that was closed for two years for a lack of students has come roaring back to life by offering a unique way of teaching. All Souls World Language Catholic School is the only Catholic elementary school in the country to offer a dual-language immersion program featuring Spanish and Mandarin Chinese for all of its students.
Academic Spotlight: How One Cleveland Teacher Upped Expectations-and Students' Acceptance of Mistakes - Partnership Schools
This winter and spring, our Cleveland teachers have focused a lot of attention on the questioning strategies they use, with one primary goal in mind: maximizing student learning. As This week, Tali Collins reminds us that there is so much more at stake here than just getting more students to answer, and to answer correctly.
The Laws of Simplicity - Farnam Street
John Maeda is a graphic designer and computer scientist. His book, The Laws of Simplicity, proposes ten laws for simplifying complex systems in business and life. Think of it as simplicity 101. Technology has made our lives more full, yet at the same time we've become uncomfortably "full."
My Last 5 Books
- Anointed Moments: Everyday Miracles While Transforming Two Schools, Thousands of People, and a Dog Named Blue (2014) by Dan Horn
Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience (2022) by Brené Brown
The Great Upheaval: Higher Education's Past, Present, and Uncertain Future (2021) by Arthur Levin & Scott Van Pelt
Collaborative Professionalism: When Teaching Together Means Learning for All (2018) by Andy Hargreaves & Michael T. O'Connor
40 Days with God: Time Out to Journey with the Bible (2021) by Kent Hickey
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.