Catholic School Matters
March 22, 2022
The Teacher Shortage is Here
It looks like the teacher shortage isn’t ending soon. For example, a public school superintendent from another state mentioned that their high schools might have to go to split shifts with half the students in the morning (who will have to take online classes in the afternoon) and then half will take online in the morning and face-to-face in the afternoon because they don’t think they’re going to have enough teachers to fully staff their building. We saw only 74% of our elementary teachers return in September, and we’ve seen our schools lose an average of 2 teachers during this school year.
We can’t simply assume that continuing to do what we’ve always done (job fairs, job announcements, word of mouth) will get the job done. In this challenging environment, we need to try to innovate. We are going to start in two ways.
First, inspired by the Cultivating Talent report which outlined a unique partnership in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we’re looking to identify pathways for our paraprofessionals or non-certified parents to obtain their BA and/or initial certification. Our hope is to identify one Catholic university which would give us reduced tuition and evening/ weekend/ summer scheduling along with cohorting which would provide a new pipeline for Catholic school teachers. Stay tuned as we build this out.
Second, we’re partnering with Catholic Virtual for Middle School math classes. If you can’t find a middle school teacher, you’d currently have to contract with Catholic Virtual for a class and pay for the setup, the live instruction, and the per pupil costs. We’re instead going to pay for setting up the classes at four levels (6th, 7th, 8th, and Algebra) and open up 20 seats per class. You’ll pay $100 per seat per semester. We’ll have students from all over the Diocese enrolled in a class. And these classes will include 3 days of live instruction per week as well as the robust online curriculum. Why math? It’s skill based so it’s probably the easiest to learn online and math teachers are hard to find.
Our hope is that the online middle school math will alleviate some of the staffing pressure on your schools and the new pipeline will begin producing new teachers. This won’t solve the teacher shortage overnight but our hope is that new programs like this will bring hope and innovation to our schools.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
Principals of all Diocesan parish and regional schools are asked to please fill out this quick survey to help us build our School Health Scorecards and respond to this request for a mid-year financial report by the end of March.
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.
If you'd like to send a thank you to Mr. Salvatore for your TV, his address is 6675 Transit Rd, Williamsville NY 14221
The banquet to benefit the St. Gianna Center on April 28th. More information here.
This is the link for NYS test scoring sign up.
Are you interested in having Bishop Fisher or a member of the DCS staff join your for graduation activites? Please fill out this survey for planning purposes.
Kari Buchinger on Academics
Prepare yourself. This isn’t the most riveting blog, but I want to draw your attention to some important information as we approach the NYS 3-8 ELA assessment window.
3-8 ELA Paper Based Tuesday, March 29- Thursday, March 31
3-8 ELA Computer Based March 29- Tuesday, April 5
Resources for Computer Based Testing
The link below will take you to the 2022 manual for all schools taking computer based tests.
This link will lead you to the computer based testing help center. Bookmark this link in case you run into any issues.
Resources for Paper Based Testing
This manual details the responsibilities of the school administrator and teachers during the testing window.
ELA session 1 and 2 booklets should arrive to your school from Questar early this week. If you have not received your testing materials by Wednesday, March 23 at noon call Questar at 866-997-0695. As soon as your materials arrive take them to your school’s secure location and inventory the materials. The ELA scoring CD will arrive on Tuesday, March 29. If you are scoring as an individual school be sure to prepare all needed materials for scoring days. If you are scoring with the Diocese, I will have all documents prepared for all scoring days. All used and unused printed ELA Test session 1 booklets must be returned to Questar. All used scratch paper, student login credentials, access codes, and proctor pins must be securely destroyed after the completion of the test administration. All printed ELA test session 2 books, and all used printed answer sheets must be stored securely in your school for one year.
If you have not signed up for test scoring please do so using this link as soon as possible.
Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari
Chris Riso on Government Services
Mandated Services Update: I wanted to remind you that there are only 7 school days until the 4/1/22 Mandated Services claim submission deadline, so if you have not started working on your claim I would encourage you to start this week. If you ask, I will look your claim over once it has been entered online (but NOT submitted!) on the NYSED Business Portal. So far I have reviewed 21 claims and 13 have been submitted and approved; that leaves 30 schools left to assist so I really need you to enter your claim online on your own or at a Data Entry session (but do not submit) by 3/23/22 (tomorrow!) and then send me an email to request a review. Any reviews left until after that date may result in insufficient time to correct any areas of concern prior to the submission deadline.
Important: Mandated Services – Forward any NYSED “Post Review” or “Hold” emails: As your Mandated Services claims are submitted, some schools labelled as “HOLD” or “Post Review Pending” will get an email from NYSED at some point. Please forward to me any emails you get from the state that request follow-up on your end to resolve a claim. I highly recommend you allow me to assist you during this review process. Be especially careful with anything you say to NYSED representatives on the phone – I recommend you get their requests in writing and make your responses in writing.
Print a Copy of your Submitted 2020-2021 Mandated Services Claim: Once you complete and submit your 2020-2021 Mandated Services Claim, I recommend that you print a copy of your claim and put it in your Mandated Services folder. Since it now seems that NYSED only retains claims from the past three years, it would make sense for you to have a hard copy of your claim for your records. To print your claim, first click on “Summary of Expenditures” and then expand all Mandates that you are receiving reimbursement for. Then right click and select “print”. Once you are on the print/preview screen, you will probably need to change the layout to “Landscape” in order to ensure that all of the information prints (check the preview).
Buffalo Public School Title Consultation: Just a quick reminder that the Buffalo Public School District (BPS) is holding two Zoom Title consultation meetings next week. All schools with free/reduced lunch students living in Buffalo should consider attending the 3/23 meeting that starts at 8:45am; only schools located in the city of Buffalo should attend the Title IIa and IVa meeting on 3/24 at 8:45am. Contact Molly Halady at MLHalady@buffaloschools.org for registration information.
Forms: Let me know if you need assistance with the Non Public Safety Equipment (NPSE) application or the EANS “Supplemental Reimbursement Form” (for schools with remaining EANS I funds). Alternately, you can contact SORIS if you have any questions at SORIS@nysed.gov.
3/23/22 Deadline to Save Mandated Services Claim online for C. Riso Review
3/25/22 Last Day for Additional EANS I Reimbursement Requests
3/31/22 NYSED Nonpublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Application Due
3/31/22 NYSED Elementary 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!
- ELA Scoring Dates
- Schools North of Buffalo April 4 (3,5,7) &April 6 (4,6,8)
- Schools South of Buffalo April 7 (3,5,7) & April 8 (4,6,8)
- Math Scoring Dates
- Schools North of Buffalo May 5 (3,5,7) & May 6 (4,6,8)
- Schools South of Buffalo May 9 (3,5,7) & May 10 (4,6,8)
- Science Scoring for all Schools: June 10 (4,8)
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:30 am on Wednesdays.
- Primetime televised segment to support Catholic Education on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022 from 7:00-8:00 PM on WBBZ-TV
- 175th Anniversary date for the Diocese of Buffalo is April 23, 2022.
- X-Stream Games, May 15, 2022.
- 175th Anniversary Mass for 8th graders, Sep 20, 2022, 10 am at the Cathedral
- Diocesan Professional Development Day October 7, 2022 at St. Amelia's.
- 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
This week, John Reyes of the Roche Center joins the podcast to discuss his contribution to the "Cultivating Talent" report and his journey of leadership. Previous episodes:
- 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
- My old friend Neal Wilkinson, SJ joins me to discuss his vocation and work as well as his struggles with living with Parkinson's
- Roy Petitfils joins the podcast to discuss the impact the pandemic has had on us all.
- 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
Students' race discussion prompts change in a Catholic school's culture
LAWRENCEVILLE, New Jersey - Just over five years ago, Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville came to a crossroads. The racial tension felt in communities across the country during the 2016 U.S. presidential election also showed its face in the 65-year-old high school, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, on a tree-lined street in central New Jersey.
Cultivating Talent Report
Profiles of Hispanic Catholic school teachers and leaders, including their motivations, experiences serving within Catholic schools, and the development of their professional identity Descriptive analysis of the pathways leading Hispanics into Catholic schools An overview of the current landscape of support, formation, and ongoing discernment available to Hispanic Catholic educators Bright spots and areas of growth for cultivating Hispanic talent in Catholic schools
Let's Take a Holistic Approach to Judging Schools (Opinion)
(This is the final post in a four-part series. You can see Part One here, Part Two here, and Part Three here.) The new question-of-the-week is: What are other ways than standardized-test scores to evaluate the effectiveness of schools? In Part One, Holly Spinelli, Tameka Porter, Ph.D., Mary K.
Better air in classrooms matters beyond COVID. Here's why schools aren't there yet
Not many people can say the pandemic has made their jobs easier. But in some ways, Tracy Enger can. "You know, it is such a hallelujah moment, absolutely," says Enger, who works at the Environmental Protection Agency's Indoor Environments Division. For more than 25 years, she's been fighting to improve the air quality inside of America's schools.
Lenten Resources for Kids & Families
Years ago, Catholic religious education abandoned memorizing questions and answers from the Baltimore Catechism in favor of construction paper, glue, markers, and "God is love" posters. Those of us who were children in the 60s and early 70s were not inculcated with a vocabulary from which to easily pluck answers to faith questions, but we were still steeped in the rich Catholic tradition of grace rather than rules.
My Last 5 Books
- Big Russ & Me: Father & Son Lessons of Life (2014) by Tim Russert
Writing Straight with Crooked Lines: A Memoir (2020) by Jim Forest
Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World (2020) by Vivek Murthy
Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood (2022) by Danny Trejo
The Mystical Way in Everyday Life (2010) by Karl Rahner, SJ
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.