Montana Catholic Schools Weekly

May 9, 2016

How Are You Getting Better?

Snapshots and questions from my life:

· I coach my son Henry’s (8 yo son) rec soccer team. Most of the boys have played before. We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve been WAY ahead. How do I set up the environment where the boys can get a little better and still have fun?

· I also coach my daughter Lucy’s (6 yo daughter) rec soccer teams. Most of the girls have never played and are not very aggressive. We’ve had a couple of games that we’ve lost by significant amounts. (in one game we only scored when a lucky kickoff dribbled in!). How do I coach the girls to improve but not get discouraged by the results? How can they have fun?

· Last week I gathered with many WCEA commissioners, many of them superintendents, and a few of us had our first Superintendent PLC. We met one night to discuss Getting it Done: How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge. We discussed its application to our work and our lives and then chose the next book for our September meeting. How did we find the time?

· At the NCEA Convention in San Diego, two women sat together during my presentation and then approached me afterward. Arica Prado, the principal at All Saints School in the Ft. Worth Diocese, introduced herself and her mother, Mary Longoria, the principal at St. George in the same diocese. Mary told me that one day, Arica told her that she had found a mentor online. She told her that she had been reading his newsletter and that she (Mary) must start reading it, too. So they did and decided to introduce themselves at the convention. Seriously?

· I’m working with some principals on a new teacher evaluation instrument. Last week Jeff Ohnoutka, the new president of Columbus (NE) Scotus HS, contacted me and said he’s a loyal reader and wonders if he could see our teacher evaluation instrument. Really?

· Summer is right around the corner, a time for rest and renewal. How are we going to get better?

Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

The Week Ahead

Monday: Butte Central meetings

Tuesday: office (Helena)

Wednesday: St. Matthew's visit (Kalispell)

Thursday: DLSBS visit (Browning); Great Falls Task Force

Friday: Great Falls meetings

This week: 662 miles

Last week: 415 driving miles; 2,344 air miles

2015-16: 25,766 driving miles; 14,969 air miles

What I'm Reading in 2016

  1. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.
  2. What College Trustees Need to Know (on deck)
  3. Getting it Done: How to Lead When You're Not in Charge by Roger Fisher & Alan Sharp (finished)
  4. Motion Leadership in Action: More Skinny on Becoming Change Savvy by Michael Fullan (finished)
  5. HBR's 10 Must Reads "On Emotional Intelligence" (finished)
  6. A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne (finished)
  7. The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations by John P. Kotter (finished)
  8. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (finished)
  9. Motion Leadership by Michael Fullan (finished)
  10. The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda (finished)
  11. It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff (finished)
  12. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Greg Heath (finished)
  13. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeon (finished)
  14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (finished)
  15. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (finished)
  16. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (finished)
  17. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (finished)
  18. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (finished)

Song of the week: Jonathan Richman's "Abominable Snowman in the Market"

Montana Catholic Schools

Serving 3800+ students in 24 Catholic schools across the Treasure State

For Principals

  1. Open Enrollment is the time when benefit-eligible employees can make changes to their benefit plans. The dates: Diocese of Helena (May 10-24) and Diocese of Great Falls-Billings (May 18-June 2).
  2. We currently have two principal openings: Our Lady of Lourdes parish school in Great Falls and Butte Central Elementary. Please direct interested parties to me.
  3. The Great Falls Task Force now has a web page with links to all meetings notes, etc.
  4. The Principal/President Evaluation process is now underway. Principals & presidents filled out goal statements last fall and will be asked to evaluate themselves as part of the process. Here is the form that I will fill out, too. I have scheduled dates for these interviews when I will come and visit the school and observe the learning climate, share the perception data, and talk about the principal's performance this year. The dates: Don Peoples, Butte Central (May 9th); Lauren Smith, St. Matt's (May 11th); Br. Dale Mooney, DLSBS (May 12th); Julanne Gauger, St. Jude (TBD).
  5. The Annual Report template is now posted and ready for each principal. This Annual Report is due June 9th at the June Principal Meeting in Livingston.

American Catholic News

Leadership Links

Teaching & Learning


Learning a Little Bit at a Time by Annie Murphy Paul
Kathleen Eisenhardt: Effective People Think Simply