Monthly Archives: February 2020

Feb 16th Newsletter

In this week’s newsletter, I discuss the reality that most of us face at one point in our Catholic school careers—we can often be treated in a very un-Christian manner.  I’ve also collected some great articles and here are the Top 5:

  1. In the American Catholic news section, the first article is an in-depth look at All Hallows High School in the Bronx. It’s inspiring, well-written, and worth your time.
  2. Take a look at the Catholic schools opening & closing section to read about the brand new Catholic school opening in Henderson, Nevada as well as the stark contrast in Flint, Michigan whose St. Pius X Catholic School is closing. In one place, the sheer number of Catholics is staggering compared to the dwindling numbers in the school and parish in Flint.
  3. At the end of the “Leadership” section, this 22-minute video from Brené Brown “Why Your Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count” is a great reflection on responding to criticism. It was shared by educational blogger Tom Barrett from Australia.  Not caring what people think shuts us off to human connection, according to Brown, but allowing us to be defined by what others say cuts us off from vulnerability.
  4. In the Miscellaneous section, the New Yorker article on Richard Rohr (“How Richard Rohr is Reordering the Universe”) is a fascinating piece which reveals his appeal and explains his theology in very clear terms.
  5. In the same section, the next two articles highlight the phenomenon affecting private, small, and often Catholic universities. Concordia University in Portland just announced it is closing, the Chronicle of Higher Ed gives a guideline on school closings.  Small Catholic liberal arts colleges are closing at the rate of one every 10 months and there are lessons that K-12 schools can learn.

Feb 9th Newsletter

In this week’s newsletter, I blog about a tough lesson I learned in 2004 from the now-deceased Archbishop of Seattle, Alexander Brunett.  I’ve also collected a wide number of articles for your reading pleasure.  The Top 5:

  1. In the American Catholic News section, Kathleen Porter-Magee is at it again! This week’s featured article is from America magazine entitled “In An Age of Extreme Individualism, Catholic Schools Are More Important Than Ever.”
  2. In the Leadership section, the Harvard Business Review’s “5 Tips for a Great Presentation” is worth reading. In this month when I encourage school leaders to give a “State of the School” presentation, these tips might help.
  3. The next article from the Farnam Street blog is about elastic thinking. Letting go of our patterns of thinking and learning to navigate a confusing world is essential.
  4. In the Teaching and Learning section, blogger Tom Barrett from Down Under presents two articles on the SOLO taxonomy which I found to be a different paradigm for learning.
  5. The next two articles are on Project-based Learning (PBL) and center on research and practical ideas for implementation. Who says these articles can’t be practical?

Feb 2nd Catholic School Matters Newsletter

In this week’s newsletter, I discuss the new conference for diocesan high school presidents called “The Nashville Exchange.”  It’s February and not too early to think about your summer professional development.  It’s also the doldrums of the school year and we need to keep reading and learning in order to lead our staff members through this period of the school year.  The Top 5 articles:

  1. In the American Catholic News section, Kathleen Porter-Magee brings it with another great article about the purpose and value of Catholic schools entitled “An ‘Alienated America’ Needs Community-Building Schools—Something Catholic Schools Have Been Doing for Generations.” The article reminded me of Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone which explored the death of bowling leagues as a symptom that Americans are just not joining clubs any more—but they report feeling lonelier and more isolated.
  2. The next article highlights the efforts of the Big Shoulders fund in Chicago to support Catholic schools. Coming off the announcement that at least seven more Catholic schools will close in Chicago, notice that the Fund is not only providing money but also demanding a voice in governance.
  3. In the Leadership section, the first article “Why Self-Awareness is the Key to More Effective Team Discussions” is a great article exploring why some board meeting discussions work well and why others sputter. Not every opinion is created equally and listening means more than waiting for someone to stop speaking!
  4. The next link is to a great little blog post by Tom Barrett entitled “3 Steps to Improve Your” It’s remarkable insightful, calling for leaders to give time for reflection, creating the conditions for dialogue, and responding to the people in front of you.  Simple and powerful.
  5. In the Miscellany section, “Most People are bad at arguing. These 2 techniques will make you better” is a great article about truth, morals, and listening.  Definitely worth a read!