People…Not a Building

May 25, 2018

The following is my final letter to the Bishop Chatard parent community for the 2017-18 school year:

This will be my final letter of the school year, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who make Bishop Chatard such a great community:

Thank you to an awesome faculty, support staff, and administration. Our building is full of adults who love kids. They show this love by challenging our students to push beyond what they thought was possible, by creating an environment in which students are comfortable being themselves, by holding them accountable, and by being available and willing to do whatever is necessary to help our students be successful. They are people who heard and answered the call, and who buy into a philosophy that says we’ll take students wherever there are and move them forward – academically, socially, and spiritually. Bishop Chatard is blessed with caring adults who get it. We don’t teach Math or Science or English…we teach children. Thank you to our entire staff on a job well done!

Thank you to our 700+ young people. Thank you for meeting the challenges placed before you head on and for pushing yourselves beyond what you thought possible. Thank you for understanding (or at least attempting to understand) that our rules are not just arbitrary restrictions – they are attempts to guide young people to a life of honor and integrity. Thank you for getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things and taking advantage of opportunities. Thank you for shining your light and sharing the gifts with which God has so graciously blessed you.

Thank you to our parent community. Thank you for your countless hours of service and for the sacrifice you’ve made to send your child(ren) to Bishop Chatard. Thank you for holding us accountable to our mission and for all of your support. We are just another school without a supportive community behind us. We are not a building; we are people. It takes a village to raise a child and the Bishop Chatard community is an incredible village.

We celebrate the successes of the 2017-2018 school year. We look forward to re-charging our batteries over the summer and returning in August focused on how we can better serve our students in 2018-2019.

I am a better person because of the opportunity to serve Bishop Chatard – thank you to everyone for that!

Have a safe and peaceful summer. God bless you!

 

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Annual Letter to the Senior Parents

May 17, 2018

Last week I shared my annual letter to our graduating seniors. This week is my annual letter of advice offered to the parents of our graduating seniors.

Graduation is tomorrow, and even though Carol and I have been through it with all four of our children, I still get a bit nostalgic this time of year. The advantage of having experience is that it allows me to spot the newbies. The first-born children talk big and act like they can’t wait to get out on their own; but you can hear the uncertainty in their voice and see it in their eyes. Parents of the college-bound students talk confidently about how well prepared their child is to take on the world, knowing that just last week that same child thought his car was in reverse and drove it into the back end of their new SUV.

So thinking that parents of college-bound students might need some advice, here are a few pointers courtesy of my youngest son, Rob, when he was preparing to graduate from high school: Continue reading

Annual Letter to the Senior Class

May 12, 2018

The following is my annual letter to the senior class (which I continued even though I’m not the principal anymore) that I sent to them on Thursday. My hope is to get the seniors to reflect upon this special time in their lives…to take it all in and cherish it.

Dear Class of 2018,

You are entering a special time of your lives, preparing to transition from the high school scene to a time of much more independence.

I hope you won’t get so caught up in what’s next that you fail to appreciate what you have now and acknowledge the love others have for you.

I tried to share that sentiment with you on your senior retreat. Here are some thoughts I like to share with seniors around this time each year, beginning with the time leading up to your departure for college: Continue reading

Annual Spring Break Advice

April 5, 2018

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard HS parent community:

I was asked to repeat my annual spring break advice…so here it is:

Spring break arrives tomorrow!

Many of you will be leaving on family vacations or sending your child off with friends to enjoy time away from the rigors of academia. We pray that everyone has a safe and restful break. We also pray that parents have had serious conversations with their teens about spring break and all that is presumed to go along with it.

Over the years spring break has become less about getting away for a restful vacation, and more about being a rite of passage for teens to push limits or explore new things. Temptations abound and your children need advice and counsel on how to best exhibit resolve and fortitude in the face of these temptations. Continue reading

Suicide Prevention 2

March 30, 2018

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard HS parent community:

Dear Bishop Chatard parents,

In my letter last week, I shared details of the QPR training presented to the Bishop Chatard staff. QPR (Question…Persuade…Refer) is suicide prevention training. It is not intended to be a form of counseling or treatment, but rather offers hope through positive action. By sharing this information, parents will be better informed and more likely to become part of our “suicide prevention team” as well.

The staff had its second and final QPR training session on Monday morning. The session began with a video intended to show that suicide has no boundaries – gender, age, race, ethnicity – suicide does not discriminate. With that sobering thought in mind, we began discussing the actual mechanics of QPR. Continue reading

Suicide Prevention 1

March 22, 2018

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard HS parent community:

To our Bishop Chatard parent community:

We face a sobering reality that the number of suicides among teenagers has steadily increased in the state of Indiana since 2007. The situation is such that the Department of Education is requiring that all teachers and administrators be trained in suicide prevention beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

Thanks to Social Worker Becky Wilde, and Principal Joe Hansen, Bishop Chatard is getting ahead of the requirement by engaging our staff in this training now. It will be completed in two sessions, the first having taken place this past Monday morning, the second on this upcoming Monday. The presenter is Carlabeth Mathias, MS, LCSW, LMHC from Mathias Counseling and Consulting.

I thought it might be helpful to share the information we received and discussed in those sessions. Informing you is yet another step we can take to help our youth.

The suicide prevention training is called QPR. This is an acronym for Question…Persuade…Refer. Continue reading

I Don’t Know Their Story

March 15, 2018

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard HS parent community:

Some of the best advice I have ever received was given to me about seven or eight years ago. It was the first night I worked with HOOP, an organization serving the homeless in and around downtown Indianapolis. We bring food, clothing, blankets, hats, gloves, etc. to homeless people living along the river or under bridges. Steve, the crew leader for the night, was putting me through a brief orientation. He told me, “When someone comes forward and tells us what they need, we don’t second guess their needs. We just serve them.” Then the life-changing advice came: “We don’t judge people because we don’t know their story.” That advice hit me hard and has stuck with me. It has changed how I interact with people – all people, not just the homeless. It has helped me become a less judgmental person, as well as a more compassionate one. Continue reading