Category Archives: Newsletters

Feb 10th Newsletter

For this week’s newsletter, I was able to put together some thoughts on leadership in the blog and found a few great articles, too.  By the way, I was asked again last week for permission to share one of the articles in the newsletter.  Please feel free to use these articles without my permission!  I’m curating for you.

  The Top 5:

  1. From the blog, “The Best Leaders are Great Teachers” in HBR (Harvard Business Review) explores how leaders make their styles stick—that is, how they show their work.
  2. The last article in the blog was probably the best.  “If Strategy is So Important, Then Why Don’t We Make Time for It?” from HBR is an argument for carving out time for strategic thinking.
  3. In the Leadership section, “The Three Elements of Trust” from HBR is a great reflection on what’s needed to build and cement trust in an organization.
  4. In the Miscellany section, “Underrated” by Stephen Curry is worth reading and definitely worth sharing.
  5. The next article “Let Children Get Bored” from the New York Times hit close to home.  On these snowy days, the consistent refrain is “What are We Supposed to Do?”  The author argues that creativity emerges from blocks of unstructured time.

Don’t miss the article on the rising number of measles cases in the Pacific Northwest where some of the most permissive vaccination exemptions exist. 


Feb 3rd Newsletter

In this week’s newsletter and podcast, I preview the NCEA Convention.  I hope you consider committing to convention and encouraging others as well.  We need a great turnout in Chicago!  The Top 5 links:

  1. In the American Catholic news section, the first article highlights a Boston College report on the priesthood.  The article (and the link to the report itself) shed light on the importance of proper formation for our ministers (clerical and lay).  It’s a thought-provoking reflection on what the Church needs right now.
  2. Because it was Catholic Schools Week, there is a plethora of content generated by our schools last week.  Take a glance at the success of Diocese of Grand Rapids, a unique partnership in Cleveland, the vision in Springfield, a new scholarship program in Lincoln, and the challenges of the New Orleans schools.
  3. In the Leadership section, the first article from Forbes highlights one of the central problems of leadership—how to give effective positive feedback.  If you’ve struggled (like me) to give timely and authentic positive feedback, this is a great article to read.
  4. The next article in the same section is a link to a podcast and accompanying article from Vicki Davis aka the “Cool Cat Teacher” about motivating teachers.  As we enter the doldrums of February, it’s a timely piece to discover suggestions on how to motivate teachers to change with joy.
  5. In the Teaching & Learning section, the essay by David Brooks in the New York Times entitled “Students Learn from People They Love” is a great reflection about community and points to one of the reasons for the success of Catholic schools.

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.

Dec 2nd Newsletter

Here is the link to the Dec 2nd Newsletter.  This week, I blog about the need for dialogue in our schools in order to foster stronger faith communities.  We need healing and we need to lead through dialogue, not condemnation.

My top 5 of this week:

  1. In the American Catholic News section, I lead off with two good news stories. The first is a story about the Berks Catholic HS student diagnosed with brain cancer.  The community has rallied around Anthony Meyers (who had successful surgery last week) and illustrates a high-functioning Catholic school community.  The second article was the offer by the Diocese of Sacramento for free tuition for all students displaced by the devastating fires.  Well done!
  2. In the leadership section the first article by Jack Peterson of Managing for Mission is a great reflection on the President-Principal relationship. Notice the word “relationship.”  When we talk about intentionally building community, it’s important to put our organizational charts in terms of relationships.
  3. In the Teaching & Learning section, the first article by Jessica Lander “Why School Counselors Matter” is a great piece. When schools look to cut costs, the school counselor position often comes up.  Lander provides a good argument against this.
  4. The next article about personalized learning from Mind/Shift is a great reflection on the different meanings and controversies surrounding personalized learning.
  5. In the Miscellaneous section, the first article addresses the polarization in the Church right now.

Nov 21st Newsletter

Here is the link to the newsletter.  The Top 5:

  1. I offer three great articles from NCR in the American Catholic News section all on the abuse crisis. “Culture Plays Role in US Hispanics’ Muted Response to Abuse Crisis” is an interesting look at how Hispanic Catholics are viewing the current situation.  “University Panels ask How Church Should Emerge from Crisis” is more of an overview of efforts to make sense of the current situation while “Panel Examines How Church Culture Enables Abuse Crisis” is a bit of a deeper dive into the causes.
  2. I’m offering 3 of my favorite articles from this fall’s Journal of Catholic Education. Patrick Manning’s take on the Catholic imagination and disaffiliation is a fantastic read.
  3. 5 Ways Smart People Sabotage Their Success” from HBR is an interesting read because school leaders are usually turned to as the experts in the room.
  4. In the Teaching & Learning section, the first two articles are from Jennifer Gonzalez of the “Cult of Pedagogy” blog fame. Both articles are really interesting reads: “Why We Need to See Each Other Teach” is a call for teachers to observe each other and “To Learn, Students Need to DO Something” is a great message on moving away from teacher-centered instruction.
  5. In the Miscellany section, The American Council on Education issued a report on the racial unrestat the University of Missouri. It’s a long read but an interesting study of the context of the controversy as well as the fallout.

November 4th newsletter

In this week’s newsletter I blog about the problem of disaffiliation with the Church and have a number of great resources to share in this area.  Top 5:

  1. Saint Mary’s Press has gathered a number of video testimonies from young people who have left the Church.
  2. Joe Corpora wrote a great essay on the “Joy of Missing Out” for Notre Dame’s student newspaper that is worth a read.
  3. The New York Times profile of Catholics struggling with staying or leaving the Church is a great piece.
  4. The Vatican summary of the Bishop’s Synod on Young People is worth reading.
  5. In the Miscellany section, the special “12 Years of Brain Pickings” is chock full of great long reads. Maria Popova’s weekly blog is a constant source of intellectual stimulation.  You’re bound to find something interesting to read.

Oct 21st Newsletter

In today’s newsletter I tackle poor sportsmanship and the Good Samaritan.  What?  Trust me, it works in my head.  Read Cardinal Cupich’s reflection first.  I had a really tough time narrowing the articles down to the best five so I encourage you to meander through the newsletter and find something else interesting.  The Top 5:

  1. The two articles at the end of the American Catholic News section on the history of the Catholic Church (“What Happened to the Catholic Church?”) part 1 and part 2 are worth the effort.
  2. The first link in the Leadership section is entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Making Smart Decisions” and is fantastic. The Farnam Street blog discusses mental models, processes, and presents a bibliography on decision-making.  It’s a great resource.
  3. Another blogger who I regularly read is A.J. Juliani. At the beginning of the Teaching & Learning section, he writes “How to Win Friends and Influence Students” based on Dale Carnegie.  We could all use a reminder about how to build up goodwill at this time of year!
  4. The next article is entitled “Six Things Teachers Say with Good Intentions…But Shouldn’t” is a great reflection on what kinds of language works to promote learning and what doesn’t.
  5. At the end of the Miscellany section are two great articles on Fake News and a long video that is very well-done. You’ve probably heard too much about fake news and perhaps you don’t care.  But I think it’s important to stay informed and these are also great resources to share with students.  “How Private Information Helps Fake News Hoodwink the Public” and “Why Fake News Campaigns Are So Effective” are both from the University of Pennsylvania and are fascinating.  The longer video “Deepfake Videos are Getting Real and That’s a Problem” has serious implications for the future.