Monthly Archives: March 2019

March 24th Newsletter

This week’s edition of Catholic School Matters is full of great articles.  The Top 5:

  1. Underneath the American Catholic News section is a little section I included entitled “Leadership Dilemmas.” I’ve included links to articles about a coach dismissed from a Catholic school due to her marital status, another article focusing on Archbishop Naumann’s response to the controversy in the Archdiocese of KC, and the new developments in West Virginia.  It’s important for all us to stay abreast of controversies and dilemmas.
  2. In the Leadership Links, the first article entitled “Why Feedback Rarely Does What What It’s Meant To” is a great reflection to read at this time of the year. Many of us are embarking on or wrapping up evaluations and this articles will inform your approach.
  3. In the Teaching & Learning section, the first article is focused on “Stress-free Training” and posits that a different learning environment might be more effective for emerging surgeons. I often hear coaches (like Saban) or teachers espouse the value of making the learning environment stressful so that learning can be more effective.  This article challenges that hypothesis, and like the article in #2 above, supports the notion that learning is often consolidated on what they already know—as opposed to lying outside of current neural pathways.
  4. In the Miscellaneous section, the absolutely best article I read last week is “How to Make Friends, Build a Community, and Create the Life You Want” is fantastic. Challenged to make sense of the sudden loss of a loved one, the author realizes that community and connections are the most valuable.
  5. The next article is a link to Roy Petitfils’ new book, Helping Teens with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: A Field Guide for Catholic Parents, Pastors, and Youth Leaders (2019).  Roy is currently at the LA Congress and will be a speaker at the NCEA Convention.  I’ve heard him speak about these topics and know that his community-based approach (see #4 above) is valuable for all Catholic school educators.

March 10th Newsletter

This week’s newsletter lands right in the middle of National Catholic Sisters Week (March 8-14)!  Here is the website.  I certainly encourage all school leaders to honor sisters working in your schools and reach out to sisters/orders who once staffed your schools.  I’ve heard of schools asking their students to send cards or bringing in sisters for an All-School Mass and tour.

This week in honor of Lent, I’m blogging about prayer and leadership.

The Top 5 Links:

  1. In the Catholic news section, NCR published a great article about how to create a Vatican II parish. I suggest you read it and replace “parish” with “school” and see what ideas emerge.
  2. In the Leadership section, the absolute best article of the week is from Education Week. “The Hidden Logic of American Underachievement” challenges how we educate.  I’ve often said that you can’t rely on parent or student feedback about teacher effectiveness.  Sometimes the teachers who challenge students and expect excellent effort are the ones who receive the most complaints.  Whereas the teacher who doesn’t challenge students, gives each student top scores, and avoids any conflicts does not receive complaints from students or parents.  This article might force you to reexamine your approach.
  3. The next article from Jennifer Gonzalez asks principals “Are you Brave Enough to Ask for Staff Feedback?”
  4. In the Teaching & Learning section, there is a great article on “in the ear” instructional coaching. We have great new technology tools (video, Huddl, etc) but I’m not sure we’ve integrated them into our professional practice.  And instructional coaching is certainly one area where we can all improve.
  5. In the Miscellany section, The Atlantic published a thoughtful piece on our workaholic natures, “The Religion of Workism is Making Americans Miserable.”