BRAINTREE, MA (March 2019): Fourteen aspiring leaders and four apprentice principals recently gathered to learn how Catholic schools’ finances contribute to their operational vitality.
Catholic Schools Office Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Mission Effectiveness Daniel Roy organized the event. He said, “Catholic school finance is an area identified by aspiring and new school leaders as one for which they often do not have prior knowledge or preparation. This is an area of need, as it is not typically covered in graduate school leadership programs.”
Catholic Schools Office Director of School Finance Martha Hultzman presented to the aspiring leaders and apprentice principals. Hultzman, who started at the Catholic Schools Office in 2018, was formerly the director in a CPA firm for many years, and was the company lead for non-profit organizations, including schools.
She said, “One of the themes was of principals as financial stewards. Financial stewardship focuses on the financial health of a school both today and in the future in order to deliver on the mission of Catholic education. I found this group to be energetic, analytical, and insightful.”
During the session, Hultzman introduced and discussed common financial terms and then the attendees analyzed sample budgets in small groups followed by a whole-group debrief.
Meaghan Roach, a teacher in the social studies department at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, is an aspiring leader who attended the sessions on financial literacy. She said, “It was interesting to look at a budget summary and consider all the elements that need to be balanced to make a Catholic school successful. It is important to plan budgets out well, but often variables such as enrollment or facility maintenance can be unpredictable.”
Jillian Boudreau, lower school dean of students at the Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsboro, was also at the meeting. She said, “Martha explained every financial term clearly, but also provided real school examples of each term, allowing me to make connections to my school. In addition, the group activity of reviewing a sample school budget provided us the opportunity to collaborate and really delve into what the responsibility of reviewing a budget entails. I learned ideas of what to look for in a budget, what questions to ask in reviewing one, and how to best organize so it is clear and straightforward.”
This program is one of nine monthly in-person meetings during the school year that is designed to introduce and train aspiring leaders in topics that are essential in the successful administration of a school. Each meeting is complemented by a virtual meeting held beforehand during which participants prepare via assigned readings and discussions with school administration. The next session, which takes place in April, will focus on family and community engagement.
Michael C. McLaughlin, Head of Middle School at Austin Preparatory School in Reading has been awarded the 2019 NELMS A+ Administrator Award
The New England League of Middle Schools (NELMS) announced at its 38th Annual Conference (held March 21-22, 2019) that Michael C. McLaughlin, Head of the Middle School at Austin Preparatory School in Reading, Massachusetts was awarded the NELMS 2019 A+ Administrator’s Award.
Jeff Rodman, Executive Director of NELMS, stated, “NELMS seeks to honor administrators who value, understand, and support effective middle level education that promotes powerful learning for young adolescents.” He added that those honored with the award have an excellent understanding of how young adolescents learn and a record of actively promoting middle level education and building community support.
To that end McLaughlin, who is in his fourth year at the helm of Austin’s Middle School, is a curriculum author for the Sophia Institute Press and a TA with National Geographic in their Certified Educators Program. An avid traveler, McLaughlin has led a number of student tours abroad and will serve as International Faculty Coordinator with the Independent Schools Cultural Alliance, a summer study abroad program designed specifically for middle school learners housed outside of London, United Kingdom this July.
McLaughlin has marshalled a number of new programs in the Middle School consistent with best practices in young adolescent development and education. Students exercise choice and voice in their curriculum with a selection of Mandarin, Latin, French, and Spanish World Languages and a menu of over a dozen electives in the Department of Art and Design from Robotics and Filmmaking to Drama, Dance, and Art History, a course McLaughlin teaches. Students in grade six study the Humanities in intentional cohorts, resulting in collaborative projects like the annual Egyptian Museum Night.
Marla Pascucci-Byrne, Art and Design Chair at Austin Prep, nominated McLaughlin for the honor. She cited her work with McLaughlin on redesigning and aligning courses with the best practices for the specific needs of early adolescents. She describes McLaughlin as a man with “boundless enthusiasm” and whose mission-driven approach to leadership is appreciated by students, teachers, and parents. She wrote: “His leadership, example, and exuberance are gifts to our students and our school community, and, though I am known as a tough grader, I am confident that Michael McLaughlin earns an A+.”
Founded in 1961, Austin Preparatory School is an independent Catholic school in Reading, MA for students in grades 6-12. We seek to cultivate the minds and hearts of our young students and provide an environment in which they can successfully learn, grow and develop outside the classroom. Austin Prep has 750 students from 61 towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is guided by the Augustinian mission of veritas, unitas and caritas, or truth, unity and love.
The New England League of Middle Schools is a nonprofit organization. Through its vision, leadership, and programs it provides a network of services for learning about and implementing developmentally appropriate practices for young adolescents. For further information about NELMS, call 978-557-9311 or email email@example.com.
AUSTIN PREP MEDIA INQUIRIES: Contact Ross Blacker (781) 944-4900 ext. 849; firstname.lastname@example.org
.;The Bishop Fenwick High School board of trustees recently selected Thomas E. Nunan Jr. to serve as Fenwick’s first president, effective July 1.
Nunan brings 34 years of Catholic school experience and leadership, most recently as the founding head of school at St. Joseph Preparatory High School in Boston. There, Nunan was central in creating a vibrant school culture from two existing schools while assembling an exemplary faculty and staff, developing a rigorous and responsive curriculum, and providing myriad for students’ intellectual, personal, moral and spiritual growth.
Prior to St. Joseph’s, Nunan spent 27 years at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham. There, his roles included chair of the theology department; director of the Senior Service Program; director of the New Orleans Service Program; NEASC Self-Study Leader; and a member of various school committees and projects. Nunan also led and mentored students as their soccer, hockey, lacrosse and tennis coach.
Nunan was identified as the new leader after the Fenwick Board commenced a national search to succeed Head of School, Brother Thomas Zoppo.
“Being the school of choice for Catholic, coed, college-prep education on the North Shore, I am honored and privileged to lead Fenwick and its extraordinary people into a bright and dynamic future,” Nunan said.
Nunan received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and Master of Education in religious education from Boston College. Nunan completed the Lynch Leadership Academy and the Emmaus Program, both at Boston College.
“We are very excited about Fenwick’s new chapter, and the many opportunities for achievement we offer our students,” said Dan Dunn, chair of the Fenwick Board of Trustees. “We know that with Mr. Nunan’s leadership, we are poised to elevate Fenwick and St. Mary’s to their next levels of excellence.”
For more information, visit https://www.fenwick.org/about/new-leadership.
BRAINTREE (March 18, 2019): Forty-three students from 11 Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools competed in Thursday’s South Shore Catholic Schools Annual Regional Spelling Bee, held this year at Saint Francis Xavier School in Weymouth. The winner was seventh grader Alexandra Lacandula from Saint Francis of Assisi School in Braintree. Mark England, who is in the fifth grade at Saint Bridget School in Abington, came in second, and Christopher Boensel, who placed third, is in the seventh grade at Saint Joseph School in Holbrook.
Catholic Schools Office Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Mission Effectiveness Daniel Roy was a judge, along with Kathleen Puleo. Puleo was the principal of Saint Jerome School in Weymouth until her retirement in 2018.
Roy said, “It was such a fun evening and I marveled at the way that students stood in front of their own school communities and other school communities and delivered the way they did. The students were truly impressive. Bob Murphy, principal of Saint Francis Xavier School, did a stellar job organizing and hosting the event.”
The competing students were in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Prior to this event, each school held grade-level spelling bees, and the winner from each grade then advanced and competed in the regionals. During the competition, once a student was a presented with a word to spell, he or she could ask for parts of speech, origin, definition, and to hear the word used in a sentence. Contenders were asked to spell words such as “jacquerie,” “phalanx,” “felicitously,” and “chloroform” during the Spelling Bee.
Brian Cote, principal of Saint Francis of Assisi School, said, "I am always so impressed with all the students; they were amazing! Our school communities truly look forward to this competitive event, which now has become a tradition with the South Region Catholic Schools."
Nancy Carr, principal of Saint Agatha School in Milton, attended the event for the first time. While Carr is a long-time principal in Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools, this is her first year leading a school on the South Shore.
She said, “This was a wonderful tribute to parochial schools. It gives the children an opportunity to compete and for us to applaud them for their successes. The Spelling Bee is a great opportunity to come together as Catholic school students, teachers, principals and families and celebrate what happens in the classroom every day.”
Due to Lacandula’s victory, Saint Francis of Assisi will host the Regional Spelling Bee next year.
BRAINTREE, MA (March 5, 2019): The 30 women came to the Pastoral Center in Braintree last Wednesday night from across the Archdiocese of Boston. They have children and grandchildren to care for, aging parents and other responsibilities - but they set those concerns aside for three hours to deepen their understanding of pediatric and adolescent health, in order to better serve their Catholic schools in the Archdiocese. The Catholic school nurses listened attentively as Maile Moore, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC, from the Sleep Center at Boston Children’s Hospital taught about the importance of sleep, particularly in pediatrics. She spoke about sleep disorders and other contributing factors that impact children’s overall health.
She also gave nurses guidance on how to compile a comprehensive sleep history in the school health office. In particular, the nurse should ask a family about an evening routine, including screen time; the sleep schedule; other daytime sleep, such as short naps; and the weekend schedule.
In addition, the nurses discussed a fictional case study of a 16-year-old boy with sleep complications and performed a deep dive into the adolescent sleep cycle. Moore said, “All adolescents experience a normal shift in circadian rhythms with age and in association with the onset of puberty.” Due to school start times, this often leads to a sleep deficiency during the weekdays and an attempt to catch on the weekends. In short, “teenagers are living in one time zone during the week, and an entirely different time zone on the weekend. It’s as though they are in a permanent state of social jet lag,” said Moore.
Moore also covered screen time and its effect on sleep. She pointed out that “use of screen media by youth is associated with shorter total sleep time, delayed sleep onset, shorter sleep duration, later bedtime and poorer sleep quality.”
Another adolescent sleep disrupter is caffeine. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, referenced by Moore, found that “caffeine was significantly associated with internalizing behavior; over-control of emotions, social withdrawal, demand for attention, and feelings of worthlessness or inferiority.” Additionally, “caffeine consumption was significantly related to sleep routine, morning tiredness, and restless sleep in children, with increasing caffeine consumption correlated with increasing sleep problems.”
Karen O’Neil is a school nurse who is in her first school year at St. Pius V School in Lynn, and this was the first event that she has attended with the Catholic Schools Office. She said, “The presentation was phenomenal. Pediatric sleep is such an important topic, especially in today's ‘screen age.’”
Bridget Jaklitsch, RN, is the nurse at St. Francis Xavier School in Weymouth and stated, “This workshop increased my awareness around the importance and impact of sleep. I brought the information back to Saint Francis Xavier School and asked the teachers to talk to their students in their classrooms about the importance of sleep; how it’s associated with wellness and increased success in school.”
Jaklitsch continued, “Thanks to these professional development events funded by the Catholic Schools Office, nurses are able to support each other intellectually, emotionally, socially and spiritually.”
BRAINTREE, MA (February 20, 2019): Five aspiring Catholic school leaders in the Archdiocese of Boston are currently enrolled in the inaugural year of Merrimack College’s Catholic School Leadership Graduate Certificate Program. The Catholic Schools Office, through the generosity of the Catholic Schools Foundation, is providing a scholarship to the five teachers to attend the program.
Merrimack’s twelve-credit graduate program is largely conducted online and is taught in three eight-week modules. Students begin by examining the philosophy and history of Catholic education in a module called Fundamentals of a Faith-Based Education. The second module in the program is Technology, Communication, and School Improvement. The program concludes with a module in financial leadership. At the end of the program, students will have learned how to operationalize the Catholic school mission, plan strategically, and maintain a budget to ensure operational vitality.
The participants are completing this course while working full time in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. Patrick Moran is the English Language Arts and History Teacher for Grades 5-8 and Director of Special Initiatives at Saint Paul Choir School in Cambridge. “I have enjoyed the certificate program tremendously. The most engaging part has been seeing my school from new, invigorating vantage points,” he said.
Moran said, “Being a part of the Merrimack College classes that focus on operationalizing the mission of the school, examining the media landscape that our students are enmeshed in, and constructing financial models for Catholic schools have provided new and thought-provoking ways of being a part of a school that has become so familiar to me. I would absolutely recommend the program to anyone who may be interested in it.”
If you are interested in exploring leadership development for yourself or your staff at a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Boston, contact Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Mission Effectiveness Dan Roy at email@example.com.
BRAINTREE, MA (February 2019): After an extensive review process, six parish elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Boston have been selected as Healey Education Foundation Partners. As Healey Education Foundation Partners, these schools will undergo a governance transformation and they will also receive guidance in all areas of operation, including finances, academics, and value proposition. In addition, the six schools will each hire an advancement director and share one school improvement director. The schools will also have the opportunity to collaborate with all schools in the Healey Education Foundation network.
The Archdiocese of Boston development team is raising more than $600,000 for this initiative to assist the six schools in its partnership with the Healey Education Foundation to strengthen its schools. The Healey Education Foundation, the Catholic Schools Office, and Archdiocesan leadership, have completed three of six phases: kickoff, leadership assessment, and school selection. The remaining three phases are comprehensive assessment, readiness period, and engagement.
The principals and pastors of the six schools recently met to discuss the comprehensive assessment phase and to address questions. The six schools in the cohort are Our Lady of the Assumption School in Lynnfield, Sacred Heart School in Roslindale, Saint Catherine of Genoa School in Somerville, Saint Jerome School in Weymouth, Saint Joseph School in Medford, and Saint Mary of the Assumption School in Brookline.
The comprehensive assessment will examine family experience, student achievement, and fiscal results. The Healey Foundation will also provide a market analysis and review current enrollment management practices, development strategies, and board governance that are currently utilized at the schools.
Prior to selection, the Healey Education Foundation visited 25 interested schools in the Archdiocese. During this visit, they conducted one-on-one interviews with pastors and principals to identify leaders who are ready for change and schools with growth opportunities.
The Healey Education Foundation partners with schools in six (arch)dioceses in the United States and 85% of the schools that have partnered with Healey are still open and operating.
Superintendent Kathy Mears said, “Each school that has been selected has its own strengths and challenges that they’re bringing to the table. The Healey Education Foundation will help school leaders to create a plan to strengthen their schools, and then assist the schools in implementing best practices to help them improve.”
“While this might seem like a big change, the Catholic Schools Office’s relationship with these schools has not altered. We are still providing professional development to the leaders and teachers, these schools are still enrolled in our student assessment program, and we are still providing support as needed. We have always acted in an advisory role to parish schools and that has not changed,” she noted.
Dr. Theresa Kirk, principal of St. Mary of the Assumption School in Brookline, is part of the cohort. She said, “I am excited to partner with the Healey Education Foundation as we extend our vision for St. Mary of the Assumption School and raise it to the next level. We are honored to have been selected for this unique opportunity for our students and families.”
Dan Rocha, vice president of operations at the Healey Education Foundation, spoke at length Wednesday about the schools’ new Boards of Specified Jurisdiction, which will be formed in a measured way after extensive interviews with the respective school communities. This model can be the key to long-term success of the schools.
Rocha said, “If the board is focused on strategic direction and financial management, it frees the principal to be a principal, especially since they will have an additional member of their staff who is concentrating on advancement. And it frees the pastor to actually be a pastor. This model supports the priest in real ways.”
He continued, “The pastor is a voting member of the Board of Specified Jurisdiction, and a member of the corporate board, and he is still in charge of Catholic identity and assets of the school. The schools remain parish schools and the Pastor remains the linchpin between parish and school.”
BRAINTREE, MA (February 8, 2019): Educators from Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston gathered this week at the Pastoral Center for two sessions on fostering a Responsive Classroom. The attendees included lead teachers, guidance counselors, principals, and assistant principals from PreK-Grade 6. Mary Goslin, the director of government programs and events at the Catholic Schools Office, arranged the professional development.
Goslin said, “Responsive Classroom aligns with the mission of Catholic schools by creating a culture where everyone is valued and feels like they are connected. Also important are the social emotional skills developed through uniform practices, common language and strong student support. We are thrilled to see schools embracing this program.”
The four-day workshop, which is provided at no cost to the educators, is funded by the Catholic Schools Office and taught by the Center for Responsive Schools. According to the Center for Responsive Schools, Responsive Classroom is “an evidence-based approach to teaching that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness.” Additionally, “Independent research has found that the Responsive Classroom approach is associated with higher academic achievement, improved teacher-student interactions, and higher quality instruction.”
Through instruction, demonstration, small group exercises and more, attendees are learning to incorporate interactive structures and supports that are needed to promote respect, build student relationships, and encourage academic growth. Participants are learning how to respond to behaviors with clear, consistent and logical consequences, to establish a safe learning environment.
Dan Price, associate principal of elementary education at Lowell Catholic in Lowell, attended the session. He said, “The Responsive Classroom training provided us with proven classroom strategies that support students’ emotional, social, and academic development. Both of my teachers in attendance implemented new strategies the following school day, and their students responded joyfully and thoughtfully to these new ways to learn about themselves, others, and academics. I would recommend this training to all teachers and school leaders.”
Principal Maria Giggie of Saint Anthony School in Everett also attended the workshop. She said, “My most important takeaway, thus far, has been how Responsive Classroom connects students’ social/emotional competencies to academic learning. The strategies that have been presented on how to create a positive learning environment and establish effective classroom management skills are essential elements in helping students become active learners.”
Part two of the workshop — days three and four — will take place in March. The workshop, which was fully attended and had a waitlist, is one of many offered by the Catholic Schools Office to further the professional development of Catholic school faculty and staff. If you are interested in learning more about one of the approximately 75 professional development events the CSO is hosting during the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year, contact Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRAINTREE, MA (January 2019): Nineteen aspiring leaders and four apprentice principals recently gathered to discuss school governance models and to hear from a panel of three experts from Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools. This session began with the aspiring leaders meeting in small groups that changed every 10 minutes and they discussed school governance models, benchmarks, and diversity of stakeholders.
Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Mission Effectiveness Dan Roy organized the event. He said, “This program is one of nine monthly in-person meetings during the school year that is designed to introduce and train aspiring leaders in topics that are essential in the successful administration of a school. Each meeting is complemented by a virtual meeting held beforehand during which participants prepare via assigned readings and discussions with school administration.”
An attendee observed that teachers are fully immersed in their roles as educators, and it was “interesting to consider the role of board members and administrators in their participation of the end game, [to examine] which people and the roles the play to reach the end goal” of a school’s mission and strategic plan.
Director of Data and Research Annie Smith, who co-authored the Catholic Schools Office Board Guide, offered some advice. She said, “I suggest that your school has a small board with 7-10 members, but also has robust committees. Ask a subject matter expert to work on a committee, and then you can transition that person to the board if they have a passion for the role. For example, you could reach out to someone in the finance world to help set tuition. That person could serve as a consultant, or they could ultimately join the board if they are a good fit and are interested in making a larger commitment of time and talent to the school.”
Three members of Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools also acted as panelists for the aspiring leaders: Cathy Cameron, Principal, Quincy Catholic Academy; Father John Currie, Pastor, St. Patrick School, Roxbury; and Bill Burke, Headmaster, St. Sebastian’s School, Needham, and Board Chair, Trinity Catholic Academy.
Cathy Cameron spoke about her career history. She worked in Catholic schools for almost two decades and then moved to a public school. Cathy said, “I worked in a public school and I was making triple the salary. The money was wonderful, but I had gone to Catholic schools my entire life, and I had taught in Catholic schools my entire life. I gave up the money after one year and I went back to a Catholic school. I don’t regret it for a second.”
Father Currie answered a question about the role of a pastor in a Catholic school. He said, “If there isn’t a synergy with the principal, a like-mindedness, a shared belief in mission and openness to one another, and a holding of that relationship in deep trust, a school can quickly be derailed. The pastor and principal must be on the same page, working together.”
Bill Burke is in his 29th year of leading St. Sebastian’s. He fielded a question about maintaining Catholic identity. “If you want your parents to love you, you love their children. You remind the parents that the only reason the school exists is because of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. Sell the academics and the mission at the same time — our goal is to get their sons to heaven.”
The theme for this year's Catholic Schools Week is "Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed." Scroll through our gallery to get a small taste of the excitement at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston this week! In addition, search #RCABSchools on Twitter to see more!