Monthly Archives: September 2019

Sep 29th newsletter

This week’s newsletter and podcast are focusing on the Vatican document on gender theory, “Male and Female He Created Them” released this year and intended for Catholic educators.  The Top 5 links:

  1. Jim Heft’s take on the Vatican document is the best piece I’ve read on the document and will give you the context around the document.
  2. In the American Catholic News section, “When Professional Catholics Burn Out” is a great piece exploring how lay Catholics struggle with their vocations in the church as well as their faith.
  3. Keeping with the same theme in the Leadership section, “6 Causes of Burnout” will help you consider how well your school is functioning. We’ve all heard the adage, “If you want something done, ask the busiest person.”  Is that really the best approach?
  4. In the Teaching & Learning section, the first article on protecting teacher time is a great piece on guarding instructional time from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  5. In the Miscellany section, the New York Times piece on the growth of anti-vaccine sentiment is really enlightening. It speaks to the challenges all of us are dealing with in education—if, like medical professionals, we are simply another voice, instead of the professionals—that are reshaping our profession.  As people turn against science, experts, and authority, how does that impact your work?

Have a great week!


Sep 22nd Newsletter

In this week’s blog, I describe my collaborative effort (with Dr. Jorge Pena) to create a survey instrument to measure Catholic culture. We are actively soliciting participants to join the 50 schools who’ve already signed up.

The Top 5:

  1. In the blog, I highlight an article last summer about a parish in turmoil which has lessons for our schools. Hierarchy, lay participation, and visions of church all enter into the story and shed light on the types of conflicts we are all encountering in our school communities.
  2. In the American Catholic News section, Archbishop Gomez spoke challenged white nationalism and his perspective is worth considering.
  3. The next article from NCR explores the monetary backing of EWTN.
  4. From the New York Times, the first article in the Leadership section discusses our tendency toward perfectionism and the need to accept good enough when we can.
  5. In the Teaching section, the long article from the Guardian about generalization, not specialization is written by David Epstein. It counterbalances the 10,000 hour rule popularized by Malcolm Gladwell

Sep 15th Newsletter

In this week’s newsletter, I spotlight the new Catholic schools which opened their doors this fall semester.  I hope you take the time to learn from each story and reach out to congratulate the founders if you’re moved.  I’ve pulled out an additional four links which follow the theme of enrollment and mission.  The Top 5 Articles:

  1. In the American Catholic News section, there’s a great 7-minute video about a dual language school in Texas. The principal, Bill Daily, casually mentions that the school’s enrollment has dipped to 98 students and now it was around 450.  Why are we not paying more attention to this?!?  He talks about the risk of adopting a dual language model, the “messiness” of the church at times, and the need for innovation.
  2. Two blog posts were sent to me which touch on enrollment and deserve a look. Rob Birdsell, the Executive Director for the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship in Education, writes about the need for Catholic schools to change their focus to what parents want based on the NCEA marketing report. Frank Donaldson, the President of IPSD, described how one school increased its enrollment by 50 students. It’s a great reminder of the simple steps that every school can take.
  3. In the Leadership section, the first article from HBR explores how to lead change in a company that is traditionally not open to change. Sound familiar?  We all need to be leaders for change whether we are superintendents, principals, teachers, or parents.
  4. In the Miscellaneous Section, the first article explores how positive experiences in childhood can mitigate the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Isn’t that what we’re trying to provide with a loving community where every person feels like he/she belongs?

Have a great week!


Sep 8th Newsletter

Welcome back to another season of Catholic School MattersThis week’s newsletter focuses on the Mustard Seed Project (Oct 7-9) in Chicago, the great annual conference put on by the Greeley Center of Loyola-Chicago.  This year’s conference focuses on the mental health of our students.  The Top 5 articles this week:

  1. The first article in the American Catholic news section spotlights the great work being done at ACE at Notre Dame as seen through the eyes of Dr. Bill Mattison from the program. He talks about the importance of formation of our leaders, which we often overlook in favor of formation of our students.
  2. The second article features a great school leader at a fantastic school—Bryan Carter from Gesu School in Philadelphia. The article has a school choice bent but it’s a insightful celebration of what makes the school succeed.
  3. In the leadership section, I present three great articles on feedback. While they are all great, the article on how to ask for feedback is probably the one which stuck with me the longest.  It’s an often overlooked skill.
  4. In the Teaching & Learning section, the first article about how learning is supposed to feel uncomfortable is timely and insightful. Like our students, we often believe we should be able to to pick up and master new skills without any problems.  But … c’mon!
  5. The next article in that section on the rise of the haphazard self is great reading for anyone feeling disjointed and adrift at times. In other words, all of us! #catholicschoolmatters