Monthly Archives: January 2018

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Turnaround Catholic Schools

Here is the link to the January 28th newsletter.  This week’s top 5:

  1. I’ve included links to the turnaround schools and a few articles about this schools. They are amazing stories.  Clearly, there is no silver bullet to turn around every Catholic school’s fortunes.  But you’ll be inspired by the efforts!
  2. However, school closing announcements have been pouring in. It’s important to read these stories because there are still people out who aren’t woke to our reality.  We have to help people understand that innovative approaches are necessary.  This section can be found after the American Catholic News section.
  3. Speaking of which, look no further than the first article in the American Catholic News section by Partnership School’s Kathleen Porter-Magee’s essay “To Spark a Catholic School Renaissance, We Need to Put Our Faith in Autonomous School Networks” is a must read.
  4. I recommend the article by HBR on Customer Service in the Leadership section. Sure, it’s common sense to pick up the phone and call parents to hear their concerns.  But it’s not common!  I’ve heard of principals who call a set of families every Friday to check in.  Not email.  Not letters and memos.  Phone calls.
  5. It’s Oscar season so enjoy this article on Lady Bird’s creator and her affinity for Catholic schools.

Have a great week celebrating Catholic schools!


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PODCAST #13
Educating Together in Catholic Schools: January 22, 2018

Category : Podcasts

Congregation for Catholic Education, 2007

Link to the document “Educating Together in Catholic Schools:  A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons & the Lay Faithful”

Kristin Melley, the Director of Professional Development for the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College, joins the podcast to discuss the Vatican’s message found in its last document pertaining to Catholic schools.

 

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful (Vatican, 2007)

  • Reading Questions:
    • 1: The Bishops identify “widespread phenomena” impacting education.  What are they?
    • 8: What are the two types of communion?
    • 21: What is the relationship between teacher and student formation?
    • 25: What kind of formation is essential for Catholic educators?
    • 27: What is the role of charism in formation?
    • 41: Whose “joyful witness” is essential?
    • 46: What is the school called to be?
  • Discussion Questions:
    • 2: What is different about their vision of formation?
    • 5: What is the difference between an educational community and a faith community?
    • 11: What is the relationship between communion and mission?
    • 39: Does your school educate for communion?
    • 43: What is the ultimate outcome of education for communion?
  • Reflection Questions:
    • 7: How would communion of mission change your school(s)?
    • 15: Is there a hierarchy of vocations?
    • 53: Are your students part of a communion?
    • List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES


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PODCAST #12
Renewing our Commitment: January 15, 2018

Category : Podcasts

USCCB, 2005

Link to the document Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary & Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium

Most Rev. Robert Lynch, retired Bishop of St. Petersburg and former USSCB general secretary

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary & Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium (US Bishops, 2005)

  • Reading Questions:
    • Whose responsibility is the support of Catholic schools?
    • What is the fourfold purpose of Catholic education?
    • In 1999, Pope John Paul II pointed out the mission of Catholic schools.  What was it?
    • Since 1990, where has the loss of Catholic school enrollment occurred?
    • What does the research say about the success of Catholic schools?
    • What percent of our educators are lay people?
    • The Bishops point to two areas essential for the ministry of education to grow.  What are they?
  • Discussion Questions:
    • In 1990, the Bishops committed to four goals.  How have they done?
    • In the section entitled “The Face of the Church,” the Bishops point to two different realities–affluent and immigrants.  Do you see those realities in your school?
    • The Bishops call on the entire Catholic community to support Catholic schools.  Is that part of your reality?
    • Why is it important for government to ensure school choice?
    • What are Blaine amendments?  Is there one in your state?
    • Has there been a strategic plan enacted?
    • What do the bishops say about serving the poor?
  • Reflection Questions:
    • In the section entitled “the Good News,” the Bishops express gratitude for the work of Catholic school educators.  Do you feel it?
    • How effective are the 4 goals?  Have they been started/accomplished?
    • List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES


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PODCAST #11
Consecrated Persons & Their Mission in Schools: January 8, 2018

Category : Podcasts

Sacred Congregation for Education, 2002

Link to the document “Consecrated Persons & Their Mission in Schools”

Jack Peterson, the founder of Managing for Mission and a former president of Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, joins the podcast to discuss the impact of consecrated persons in our schools and the Vatican’s teachings on vocation.

 

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Consecrated Persons and Their Mission in Schools (Vatican, 2002)

  • Reading Questions:
    • 6: Why have many religious communities abandoned their work in schools?
    • 6: What is meant by rediscovering charism?
    • 10: Explain the value of community life and how consecrated persons demonstrate?
    • 17: Do the Bishops favor one type of vocation over another?
    • 19: How does a school form students?
    • 20: What is the value of the witness provided by consecrated persons?
    • 26: How does the presence of consecrated religious counteract materialism?
    • 30: What is the link between Catholic schools and evangelization?
    • 35: Explain the two parts of human development relevant to education and formation.
    • 51: How do the Bishops describe Catholic identity?
    • 55: How do they describe a vocation?
    • 56: What is a culture of vocations?
    • 59: What is the role of consecrated persons promoting teacher formation?
    • 62: How should consecrated persons “accompany” the laity?
    • 78: What is the “main road to peace”?
  • Discussion Questions:
    • 6: What is the charism of your founding religious community?
    • 19: How does formation and “deformation” impact our students’ development?
    • 43: Our Catholic schools are not designed to be fortresses apart from society, rather “oases” or “microcosms” of community.  Does this paradigm fit your school community?
    • Do we have a “preferential option for the poor” in our schools?  In how we choose our students?  In how we assign our teachers?
  • Reflection Questions:
    • Many times religious communities are credited with simply providing free labor.  How do the Bishops describe their value to our schools?
    • Does your school serve the poor?  Is there an impulse for evangelization?
    • Does your school promote a culture of vocations?  How?
    • List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES


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PODCAST #10
The Catholic School on the Threshold of the 3rd Millennium: January 1, 2018

Category : Podcasts

Sacred Congregation for Education, 1997

Link to the document The Catholic School on the Threshold of the 3rd Millennium

Rev. John Belmonte, SJ, the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Joliet, joins the podcast to explore the meaning of the Vatican document in 1997.

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium (Vatican, 1997)

  • Reading Questions:
    • 1: Define subjectivism, moral relativism, nihilism, and extreme pluralism.
    • 3: What is the missionary thrust of Catholic schools?
    • 6: What are the barriers to student success?
    • 7: Due to financial challenges, what is the temptation for Catholic school admissions?
    • 11: What is the ecclesial nature of the school?
    • 12: What is the vocation of a Catholic school?
    • 13: Why is the presence of consecrated religious valuable to a school?
    • 15: What is at the heart of a Catholic school?
    • 15: How do the Bishops describe poverty?
  • Discussion Questions:
    • If Christ is the foundation of Catholic schools, how does that impact your approach and practices?
    • Is your Catholic school at the heart of your diocese?  Why or why not?
    • 15: Does your school share the understanding of spiritual poverty?  Does it show concern?
  • Reflection Questions:
    • Whether or not your non-Catholic population has increased, can you sense any conflicts with Catholic values?  In other words, do you see any effects of “extreme pluralism” in your school(s)?
    • Does your school put “those who are weakest” or poor at the heart of its mission?
    • List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES


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PODCAST #9
Principles for Education Reform in the United States: December 25, 2017

Category : Podcasts

United States Catholic Conference, 1994

Link to the document Principles for Ed Reform in the US

Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, the Provost for Education, Evangelization and Catechesisin the Archdiocese of Hartford, helps explore the meaning and impact for the US Bishops efforts to insert themselves into the national debate on education in 1994.

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Principles for Education Reform in the US (US Bishops, 1994)

  • Reading Questions:
    • 2nd paragraph: what is “filling” the educational experience” of our youth?
    • 4th paragraph: how do the bishops describe the success of Catholic schools?
    • What are the four beliefs pertaining to Section 1?
    • What are the 8 beliefs pertaining to Section 2?
    • What are the 7 beliefs pertaining to Section 3?
    • What are the 8 beliefs pertaining to Section 4?
    • What are the 4 beliefs in Section 5?

 

  • Discussion Questions:
    • In the first and fifth paragraphs, the Bishops point out that the document is not private v. public schools.  Why do you think the Bishops want to get involved?
    • In Section 4, the Bishops point out the importance of professional development.  How important is professional development in your school system?  (Show me your budget, I’ll show you your priorities!)
    • In their argument for school choice, they call for the government to be neutral toward religion.  What does this mean?
    • What is meant by the “common good” argument for Catholic schools?

 

  • Reflection Questions:
    • If serving the “true needs of children” was the highest priority for your school(s), how would that change priorities?
    • List 1-2  quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES


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PODCAST #8
In Support of Catholic Elementary & Secondary Schools: December 18, 2017

Category : Podcasts

United States Catholic Conference, 1990

Link to the document In Support of Catholic Elementary & Secondary Schools

Dr. Kevin Baxter, the Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, adds remarkable insight to the US Bishops document from 1990.

 

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

In Support of Catholic Elementary & Secondary Schools (US Bishops, 1990)

  • Reading Questions:
    • 181: What is meant by “entire ecclesial community”?
    • 182: What has been one of the chief vehicles of evangelization within the Black community?
    • 182: What are the 7 successes of the Catholic school system?
    • 183: What are the 4 goals set by the Bishops in 1990?
  • Discussion Questions:
    • 183: The document cites a “lack of consistency” in the relationship between the laity and the Church.  Has that been your experience?  Can you think of any examples?
    • How  well do our salaries and benefits reflect economic justice?
  • Reflection Questions:
    • The Bishops point out that many of the reforms proposed for public education have long been associated with Catholic schools.  What are the best practices of your school(s) that have been replicated?
    • List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES


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PODCAST #7
Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School: December 11, 2017

Category : Podcasts

Sacred Congregation for Education, 1988

Link to the document Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School

John Galvan, the dynamic and thoughtful Director of Schools in the Diocese of San Diego, joins the podcast to discuss this important Vatican document and explore the ways Church teachings are evolving.

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School: Sacred Congregation for Education (Vatican, 1988)

  • Reading Questions:
    • 1: What are the four distinguishing characteristics of Catholic education?
    • 6: The number of non-Catholics in Catholic schools is rising.  Does that mean we should change our education?
    • 9: The authors say that students struggle with truth.  How?  Why?
    • 24: what is a Christian school climate?
    • 26: what is the foundation of the Christian school climate?
    • 28-29: What do the authors argue about the physical space and the facility?
    • 31: The authors identify the change in paradigm of Catholic schools?  What is it?
    • 42-43: Whose responsibility is it to remind parents that they are the primary educators?
    • 63: What is the ultimate goal of student formation?
    • 89: What are the basic elements of a Christian social ethic?
    • 93: What is the value of the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
    • 96: What is tied to the effectiveness of a religion teacher?

 

  • Discussion Questions:
    • 5: The authors say that different regions have different needs.  What is your unique about your school?
    • 10-13: The authors list “radical instability” and “an environment devoid of truly human relationships.”  What is the challenge facing teachers?
    • 25: The authors discuss the “Gospel spirit of love and freedom.”  What does that mean?
    • 31: How does your school function as a community?
    • 34: How does your school bring together faith, culture, and life?
    • 47: Competition is not the favored paradigm for schools.  What is the favorite?  How would that change your approach?
    • 69: What’s the difference between religious instruction and catechesis?
    • 74+: How would this “outline” change religious instruction at your school?
    • 112: What makes a Catholic school truly authentic?

 

  • Reflection Questions:
    • Is your school built on strong relationships?  Can you identify any in need of healing?
    • Looking at the Educational Goals in 100, how would that change your school’s outlook?
    • 51: What are the contact points between culture and religion in your life?
    • List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES


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PODCAST #6
Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith: December 4, 2017

Category : Podcasts

Sacred Congregation for Education, 1982

Link to the document Lay Catholics in Schools

Tom McDonald, who has taught religion in Catholic schools for over 15 years, joins the podcast to discuss the impact of lay Catholics.

Tom Schutte, now entering his 25th year teaching theology at O’Dea High School in Seattle, joins his friend Tom McDonald to add his insight.

 

 

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith (Vatican, 1982)

  • Reading Questions:
    • 3: Can anyone be a teacher?  What is required?
    • 3: The decrease of Religious men and women has coincided with criticisms of schools.  What are the reasons?
    • 6-7: What is the twofold call to every lay person in the Church?
    • 7-9: What makes the laity exceptionally well-equipped to engage the culture?
    • 12: What are the purposes of the school?
    • 15: Does the document limit the definition of “educator” to teachers?
    • 16: What is the definition of an educator?
    • 19: What are the “tremendous problems” of the world?
    • 22: What is the essential component to any community?
    • 27: What is important if an educator is going to remain successful?
    • 32: Witness comes from words and actions.  What is the result of effective examples?
    • 37: Teaching is not just a profession, but a vocation.  How must teachers live that out?
    • 39: Are all Catholic schools alike?  If not, what sets them apart?
    • 42: Are Catholic teachers expected to simply teach doctrine?
    • 64: What should effective teacher formation look like?
    • 68: Is formation “one and one”?  In other words, should a certification be issued and a teacher be fully formed?
    • 78: What are the two practical suggestions offered to support lay teachers?

 

  • Reflection Questions:
    • Is the lay teacher a ‘vocation’ within the Church?  How would you define/describe it?  How does your school community support this?
    • In paragraphs 20-21, the authors explore the intersection of culture and the Church.  The meaning of culture (popular/secular vs. your school’s culture) is presented.  What are the values in your school which you hope to pass down?
    • In paragraph 65 the authors point out formation in the “social teachings of the church” which follows on the ills of society outlined in paragraph 19.  What are the 7 principles of Catholic social teaching?  Are these fully integrated into your school?  How would they change your school culture?
    • 76: How is the Diocese supporting the vocation of lay teachers?
    • 78: What does the quote “the school is always in the process of being created” mean to you?
    • List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES


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PODCAST #5
The Catholic School: November 27, 2017

Category : Podcasts

The Sacred Congregation for Education (Vatican), 1977

Link to the document The Catholic School

Sr. Elizabeth Anne Allen, OP, Director of the Center for Catholic Education at Aquinas College in Nashville, uses the Church documents as the heart of professional development sessions for Catholic educators  and for formation of teacher candidates

STUDY GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

The Catholic School (Vatican, 1977)

  1. Reading Questions:
    1. What is meant by “salvific mission”? (Paragraph 5)
    2. What is the role/purpose of evangelization? (7 & 8)
    3. How does the church interact with culture? (10)
    4. What is meant by “strong character formation”? (12)
    5. What are the main objections about Catholic schools? (17-23)
    6. What is the general purpose of a school? (26)
    7. How should a school espouse a common vision? (29)
    8. How are the values of a community expressed? (32)
    9. What are the norms of life in a Catholic school? (34)  Which ones are the most important, in your opinion?
    10. Is there value in secular subjects? (40)
    11. What is the most critical factor in a Catholic school? In other words, what sets it apart? (43)
    12. What has made the Christian formation of students so vital in this day and age? (45)
    13. What is the desired outcome of religious instruction? (49)
    14. Where do you find the purpose of Catholic schools? (55)
    15. What is wrong with admitting a majority of full-paying/wealthier students? (58)
    16. What do Catholic schools need to develop among its constituents? (66)
    17. Explain what the authors mean by collaboration, subsidiarity, and solidarity? (70-71)
    18. What is the role of the laity? (79) 
  2. Reflection Questions
    1. Have you seen any of the cited objections to Catholic schools at work in your school environment?
    2. How do you balance the need for full-paying students with your school’s purpose?
    3. List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

 play on iTunes

RESOURCES