Monthly Archives: January 2019

Catholic Schools Week Newsletter

Here is a link to the newsletter.

Top 5 Links:

  1. The first article by Betsy Shirley in America magazine examines the parish school: “The Era of the Parochial School is Over.” The article examines new governance and leadership models.  Only 60% of Catholic elementary schools are still parish schools so it’s important to recognize this growing trend and best practices.
  2. The second article is a reflection by Bishop Barron entitled “The Internet and Satan’s Game.” He discusses the Covington Catholic HS controversy and the reaction, fallout, etc.  He encourages us all to post out of love, not out of vindictiveness.
  3. The third article is an announcement of a new Institute for Catholic School Leadership at St. Paul Seminary led by one of the giants in our field, Dr. Mimi Schuttloffel. Congrats, Mimi!
  4. The next article is a great reflection in America magazine on inclusion by the Catholic comedian Jeremy McLellan. He discusses the discomfort of those with diverse needs and their call to all of us to inclusion.
  5. The fifth article is a story about Dr. Massimo Faggioli’s reflections on the current crisis in the Church: “Church Historian Says Sex Abuse Poses the Biggest Threat to the Church in 500 Years.” Faggioli is trying to give us perspective of the challenges facing the Church today.

School Choice Issue

In this week’s Catholic School Matters newsletter I’m presenting a collection of articles and links on School Choice.  It’s an opportunity to connect your work and interests to this growing movement for students.  The Top 5:

  1. Catholic Education Partners (you really should get to know this group if you haven’t already) published a great article in NCEA’s Momentum “The Impact of Education Choice on Catholic Education
  2. EdChoice published a great compilation “The ABCs of School Choice 2018 Edition” for the all the latest news and information.
  3. The Atlantic’s “Support for School Choice and Vouchers is on the Rise” is a great summary of the education landscape
  4. Forbes produced a great summary “Charter Schools, Vouchers, and ESAs: The Three Flavors of School Choice” although they leave out tax credit scholarships in the title.
  5. It’s always a great idea to read what your opponents are saying. NPR’s “Why It’s So Hard to Know Whether School Choice is Working” does just that.

Jan 13th Newsletter

As we build toward Catholic Schools Week, this week’s issue is focused on building your school’s story.  As I say in the blog, I’m not an accomplished story-teller so I challenge us all to identify stories about our schools that testify to our school’s culture.  I offer 12 story prompts to get you thinking.

Top 5:

  1. In the Leadership section, the HBR article “How Retail Changes When Algorithms Curate Everything We Buy” challenges us to rethink how education is going to change as we incorporate personalized learning through technology.
  2. In the Teaching & Learning section, John Spencer had a great blog post for teachers entitled “The Power of a Mid-Year Reboot” full of great suggestions for teachers.
  3. There are three great articles on classroom management. It seems like classroom management problems really start to manifest during this time so these are great resources for teachers: Larry Ferlazzo’s “Classroom Management—Redirecting Without Escalating,” Vicki Davis’s “Never Yell and Other Classroom Management Secrets from a Pro Teacher,” and “To Help Students Learn, Engage the Emotions” from Jessica Lahey.  (an aside—did you know that when Jess Lahey is travelling she will go into bookstores and surreptitiously sign copies of her books with inspirational messages?  How cool is that?)
  4. In the Miscellany section, “Inside One of America’s First Catholic-to-Charter Conversions” is the story of one Washington, DC charter school (which used to be Catholic). Though you might disagree with the decision, it never hurts to read the story.
  5. Deconstructing the Wall” from the New York Times is full of great lesson suggestions for teachers to talk about the wall. Students are talking about it and I think we’re all looking for constructive ways to capitalize on the conversation.

January 6th newsletter

Here is the link to the January 6th newsletter

The Top 5:

  1. In the American Catholic News section, I have a special section on legal concerns. There’s quite a few articles which raise issues such as church-state relations, employment contracts, pregnancy, embezzlement, past abuse, etc.  We need to read these articles and imagine how we would respond if faced with the same dilemmas.
  2. In the Leadership section, “Schools as Places of Joy” is a reminder of what makes every school excellent—joy. We can’t leave out the joy in pursuit of excellence.
  3. In the same section, the article from the Wharton School on “Does Fear Motivate Workers—or Make Things Worse?” is thought-provoking. We often try to move students away from extrinsic rewards toward the intrinsic motivators but are we doing the same for our staffs?
  4. In the Miscellaneous section, the “Relentlessness of Modern Parenting” from the New York Times points out the reasons behind the anxiety epidemic. Parents are often the ones afraid of missing out!
  5. Small classes and personal attention have become aspirational for all schools. But they weren’t always such high priorities.  A Libertarian entrepreneur has been building low-cost charter schools with a different approach.  While you might not agree with his approach or his assumptions, it’s worth watching this video in order to clarify your own assumptions.