Catholic School Matters

April 28, 2019

Book Recommendations

Last week’s NCEA convention in Chicago left me energized, enthused, and a bit exhausted. It occurred to me that I had read a number of great books in the past couple of weeks and I thought it might be great to highlight these inspiring works. Are you building your summer reading list? Read on.

I just finished reading Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity and found it engaging and thought-provoking. Do you want to learn about autism? This book provides a framework for understanding how the diagnosis came about and is filled with stories of families struggling (and succeeding) with accommodations and making meaning of their realities. Autism is a spectrum, yes, but we should be far less interested in finding the causes (and trying to link it to vaccines) and rather spending our energy assisting the autistic with integration. It is written by a journalist so it reads more like a detective story than an academic piece. It will change your paradigm of disability.

I also just finished re-reading Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey to an Undivided Life. In it, he talked about the importance of establishing “circles of trust” in our lives—people who will listen and respect your story. At my presentation last week, several principals reached out and talked about wanting to establish such a circle of like-minded principals who want to improve their practice. Are you interested? Send me an email and I’ll connect you.

I also read Dr. Scott McCleod and Julie Graber’s short little book Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning. This little book combines theory about how technology should function in learning with practical suggestions for better instructional practices. It’s a great reflection on instructional leadership and should serve to whet the appetite of any educational leader trying to make those devices generate better instruction and learning.

Finally, Dr. Mike St. Pierre’s recent work, The 5 Habits of Prayerful People: A No-Excuses Guide to Strengthening Your Relationship With God, is worth your time. It’s filled with personal narratives of Mike’s struggle to pray as well as his best practices for building a fulfilling prayer life. We need more books like this!

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Dr. Tim Uhl

Big picture

Leadership Scenarios

Two junior girls want to attend prom as a couple. You have no rules about couples, singles, or any other arrangements. You know that any appearance of accommodation of a gay couple might raise the ire of community members. However, they are both good students and are very involved in the school. How do you proceed?

American Catholic News

Catholic Schools Closing, Opening, Consolidating

  1. Boston Catholic high school will likely close in June
  2. St. Paul (MN) Catholic school slated to close

Leadership Links

Teaching & Learning


What I'm Up To

After the great NCEA conference last week, I'm driving all over the state this week as I begin face-to-face principal evaluation meetings. In my spare time, I'm working on my University of Dayton presentation for the Catholic Education Summit on June 21st and my ICSL workshop on Moral Leadership (July 14-17 in Indianapolis).

On Wednesday's Catholic School Matters Radio Hour podcast, I put together a great podcast with five great conversations with school leaders. It’s a long episode but chock full of great content. The first guest (1:55) is Jason Curtis, the current principal of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh who has taken a new job as President of Saint Francis High School in the Bay Area. The next guest (21:05) is Superintendent Stephen Perla of the Diocese of Fall River. Steve is both a superintendent and a seminarian studying to be a priest. Dr. Beate Nguyen, the principal of St. Augustine School in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles joins the podcast (at the 41:05 mark) to discuss the efforts of a group of LA Catholic school principals to learn from Finland. This study tour of 12 principals was a cohort which worked together to observe and learn from the Finnish system. Dr. Paul Barker, the president of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland joins the podcast (1:02) to discuss the unique character of his school. Mary Ann Murphy, the outstanding principal of Immaculate Conception Catholic School in downtown Los Angeles for 31 years, joins the podcast at the 1:28 mark. She is retiring this year after a remarkable tenure and shares her story and joys of leading the school in a high poverty Catholic school, including a visit from St. John Paul II in her first year as principal.

Here is the link to the podcast. Here are videos showing you how to download and subscribe to a podcast on iTunes and how to download and subscribe a podcast on Android.

  • Monday: Missoula meetings
  • Tuesday: Kalispell meetings
  • Wednesday: Billings meetings
  • Thursday: Miles City meetings
  • Friday: Livingston meetings

Miles next week: 1,258 driving miles

Miles travelled in 2018-19: 28,825 road miles; 71,654 air miles

Last 5 Books

  1. Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Biodiversity (2015) by Steve Silberman
  2. Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning (2019) by Scott McCleod & Julie Graber
  3. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey to an Undivided Life (2009) by Parker Palmer
  4. The 5 Habits of Prayerful People: A No-Excuses Guide to Strengthening Your Relationship with God (2019) by Michael St. Pierre
  5. Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home (2015) by Pope Francis

Click this link for a full list of my professional reading

For Montana Administrators & Teachers

  • The next scheduled Virtual Admin meeting is May 14th
  • We are currently looking for a principal for St. Matthew's Catholic School in Kalispell.

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

April 14, 2019 "Brother Placid"

April 7, 2019 "Fighting Clericalism"

March 24, 2019 "Cristo Rey"

March 10, 2019 "Prayer and Leadership"

February 24, 2019 "Culture and Relationships"

February 10, 2019 "Leadership"

February 3, 2019 "NCEA Convention Preview"

January 27, 2019 "Catholic Schools Week"

January 20, 2019 "School Choice"

January 13, 2019 "What's Your Story?"

January 6, 2018 "Happy New Year"

December 2, 2018 "Building Community"

November 18, 2018 "Reframing Enrollment"

November 4, 2018 "Looking at Disaffiliation"

October 21, 2018 "Getting out of the Ditch"

October 7, 2018 "Truth, Mercy, and the Synod"

September 23, 2018 "Native American Experience"

September 16, 2018 "How Are We Forming our Leaders?"

September 9, 2018 "Where is Your Attention?"