Professional learning communities and curriculum reform in public and private education (with Tom Conroy)

Many of my listeners don’t know this, but I went to a private Catholic school until 8th grade before transitioning to a public high school. 
I had what I like to call “Catholic school RtI”, where I got extra reading help with Sister Marie (and it paid off!).

I’ve focused a lot of my content on issues impacting the public schools, so when I connected with Tom Conroy, a Catholic school principal, I thought he’d bring an interesting perspective to the show; especially because I know that many of my listeners may be working with students who attend private schools. 

Tom Conroy is currently the principal of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in Verona, NJ. He retired from public school after 30 years and dove into the world of Catholic Education. Tom has held both teaching and administrative positions on the elementary, middle, high school, and district levels. Tom served for eight years on the New Jersey Principal and Supervisor Association/Foundation for Education Administration (NJPSA/FEA) Leadership Academy Development and Presentation Teams. Tom completed both his undergraduate and graduate work at Montclair State University.

We start out by discussing some differences in private vs. public education; but transition to talking about topics that will be useful regardless of what K-12 setting you’re in. 

In this episode, we discuss:

✅Do private schools have more resources and support than public schools

✅Why a school curriculum should be a living document and tool for communication (and not a scripted program).

✅How to reform curriculum in a way that builds a culture of autonomy and how to create alignment across grade levels, buildings, and disciplines (including related service providers).

✅The inner workings of successful professional learning communities (and why they help eliminate unproductive staff meetings).

✅How to maintain a high level of rigor in standards and assessment protocols, without “teaching to the test” and overemphasizing standardized tools.

In this episode, I mentioned the Time Tracking Journal, a strategy for improving time-management, future planning, and executive functioning during daily tasks like academic assignments or daily routines. You can learn more about the Time Tracking Journal here (

You can connect with Tom on LinkedIn here(, or connect with him on the My Lady of the Lake website here ( 

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Professional learning communities and curriculum reform in public and private education (with Tom Conroy)