Monthly Archives: January 2020

January 26th newsletter

Happy Catholic Schools Week!  It’s time to celebrate and build community.  I have a great blog in this week’s newsletter about a book written by a former Catholic school teacher, The Way of Fuzzy Faith, and a collection of interesting articles for your reading enjoyment.  Notice that this is the (unfortunate) season for school closing announcements.  In the past two weeks, I have come across announcements for 16 school closings.  Don’t ignore this news.  Read the stories and vow to take action in your own school to build a brighter future.  The Top 5:

  1. The first article in the American Catholic News section is about the Espinoza case which was heard by the US Supreme Court last week. The decision should be announced in June, but we want to stay on top of the issues and be prepared to talk about the facts.
  2. In the Leadership section, the first article about the 70-20-10 rule for Leadership is very thought-provoking. How much of your leadership expertise is due to education?  Or experience?  This article will challenge your thinking.
  3. The second and third articles in that section are about time. “How busyness leads to bad decisions” is a good reminder to leaders about how to tackle the challenges amid a busy schedule and “Why Americans are always running out of time” is a great reflection on how technology is not making our lives easier, just more complex.
  4. In the Teaching & Learning section, “The New Reading Environment” explores the challenges of reading amid all the different formats and technologies.
  5. The video at the end of that section is from AVLI (Arrupe Virtual Learning Institute) and explores the ways that AVLI is building and supporting instructional capacity in Catholic schools. It’s worth a look!

Have a great Catholic Schools Week!

Jan 12th Newsletter

In this week’s newsletter, I blog about forming school culture, inspired by Deal & Peterson’s great book, Shaping School Culture.  I’ve also collected some great articles.  The Top 5:

  1. The absolute must read is Kathleen Porter-Magee’s “Catholic on the Inside.” Stop everything and read this now. Her point is that often charter schools are called “Catholic on the Outside” because they adopt many traditional Catholic school practices.  But she traces the true success of Catholic schools—namely, the values on the inside!  I recorded a podcast conversation with her which will air next month.
  2. Former Catholic school teacher and administrator Sister Ann Durst is the focus on the US Catholic article “The Nun Working to Bring Justice to Immigrants at the Border.” It’s a great story about how someone set out to make a difference.  This week’s podcast highlights two Catholic school leaders on the border.
  3. In the Leadership section, the first two articles focus on decision-making: “Algorithms and Decision-Making” and “Trade-offs and Decision Making” are both great articles illuminating different aspects of decision making.
  4. In the Teaching & Learning section, the first article describes what an autism-friendly classroom would look like. It’s fascinating and de-mystifies many misconceptions about autistic children.
  5. In the Miscellany section, I found the article about the Society of St. Pius X group in St. Marys, Kansas, to be fascinating. They have purchased an old Jesuit novitiate and built a community of breakaway Catholics.  The tension between living in the world and trying to transform it and withdrawing from it completely plays out in the article.  It raises the question of what is the purpose of church—to serve its own or transform society?

January 5th Newsletter

I’ve been able to collect some great articles and links to share in this week’s newsletter.  The Top 5:

  1. The first article in the American Catholic News section highlights the upcoming court case pitting religious freedom against anti-discrimination laws. The second article, courtesy of Superintendent Kevin Kijewski highlights the Supreme Court Blaine Amendment case (oral arguments will be heard on January 22nd) and argues for the wiping out of the amendments.
  2. In the past couple of months, there have been quite a few Catholic school closure announcements. I encourage you to read their stories in the “Catholic Schools Opening & Closing section.”
  3. In the Leadership section, the first link is to Emanuel Harper’s great blog post “Four Principles I Learned as a Teacher and Administrator.”
  4. In the Teaching & Learning section, the first article “4 Strategies to Recharge Your Teaching” is a great reminder of what’s important at this time of year.
  5. In the Miscellany section, the NY Times article on the rising number of mothers in prison and the impact on their children is devastating.