Catholic School Matters Top Five

This is the third week of New School podcasts.  I’ll highlight these podcasts but I’ve also included a lot of great articles on school communication in this issue.  Last week, I highlighted Frassati Catholic Academy in Denver on Monday.  On Tuesday, I focused on Pope Francis HS in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Wednesday, it was the new Epiphany Catholic School in Katy, Texas.  Thursday, I highlighted the new Ozark Catholic Academy in rural Arkansas.  Friday was a podcast focusing on St Jeanne de Lestonnac HS in Temecula.

I wasn’t able to connect with all new Catholic schools.  For instance, I know there is a new St. Timothy Catholic School in Kentucky and Heelan Catholic HS in Sioux City (my parents’ alma mater!) has built a new facility.  But there’s always next year to focus on those as well as new schools such as Holy Cross High School in Midland, Texas.  But this week, I was able to talk to 5 new schools:

Monday, I’ll talk to the founding president of Cristo Rey Catholic High School in Oklahoma City.  Renee will talk about the struggles to open the new school (including a one-year delay) and the unique Cristo Rey model.  Here is an article highlighting the school’s effort and another announcing its opening.

Tuesday, I’ll speak to the Renee Dwyer, the Project Manager at the new Catholic elementary school in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, St. Robert, opening this fall.  Article announcing the opening.

Wednesday, I’ll talk to President Gerald Vetter of the Light of Christ Catholic Schools (Bismarck).  The school system has been engaged in a robust fund-raising effort to build a new high school and improve their other schools.  Article announcing the effort, another claiming success, and a third article updating the effort.  The system continues to show enrollment growth.

Thursday, I’ll speak to Steve Glasser, the president of Dickinson Catholic Schools (North Dakota).  He has an interesting tale involving arson, rebuilding a school, uniting a community, and success.  He is interviewed here and an update was given here.

Friday, the podcast focuses on the brand new St. John Paul II High School opening this fall in western Phoenix.  Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, OP, a member of the Nashville Dominicans, joins me to discuss the process of creating a new school culture and recruiting.  Here is an article announcing the school’s opening, another with a progress report, and a third announcing job openings.

This week, I’ve highlighted 5 more new Catholic schools and their great stories in the blog and podcasts.  In the newsletter, however, I’ve included some of my favorite articles about school communication.  Specifically, I’ve included resources to help school leaders.  My favorite five articles are the first 5 listed:

  1. Justin Baeder’s “Brevity Challenge” has been very popular.  He gives some great advice on effective emails.
  2. Shane Parrish’s blog post “Carl Braun on Communicating Like a Grown Up” is full of great advice.  I’ve always thought that being willing to have the difficult conversations and enter into the fray is part of being an effective leader.
  3. It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s How You Say It” is a great advice for school leaders for effective communication.  It supports the notion that it’s not about having the right words (i.e. in an email or written memo) but it’s paying attention to the relationships that matter.
  4. To be effective, school leaders need to engender and build trust.  Thomas Murray’s “7 Ways to Build Trust With Your School Community” is a great reflection full of great ideas.
  5. Edutopia’s “Turning Classes Into Communities” strikes at the heart of what makes Catholic schools successful—community.  Yes, we’re faith communities.  But ultimately if you ask any Catholic school parent what they like about Catholic schools they will point to the community or family feel.  We must continue to be intentional about building and supporting this.  This approach might mean making more phone calls rather than emails or memos as outlined by the Harvard Business Review’s “How Customer Service Can Turn Angry Customers Into Loyal Ones.”

Have a great week!