Thursday, November 3, 2011

Resources on Leadership

What articles, websites, or other resources have you found to influence your vision of the principal as an instructional leader? We invite you to share a link, title, and short review of the resource with your colleagues by leaving a comment on this post!


  1. Kendal Montgomery MP1November 11, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    I just found out a story I shared has been posted on all things PLC. Follow the link above to read about scheduling for collaboration and common planning time. Just wanted to toot our horn down in SW Arkansas! Enjoy the visit on the mountain this week!
    Kendal Montgomery

  2. Free posters on the Rigor/Relevance Framework and the Learning Criteria Model from Click on resources and order as many posters as you like for free. Great for every classroom. All you pay is shipping and handling. (example: 1-50 posters = $15)

  3. has some great resources under the Free Resources tab. There are Proficiency Charts that use the Common Core and great ideas on assessments. C. Dewey

  4. Marye Jane BrockintonDecember 24, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    The article requested at our last ALA Assistant Principal webinar was "Education Reform and the Role of Administrators Mediating Teacher Stress" by Jason Margolis. I located this article using ERIC and retrieved from Teacher Education Quarterly, Fall 2006. When I pulled this article I thought it would revolved around the stress of standardized test. This article goes much deeper to the basis of why teachers are stressed due to change and types of stressors. This article is based on research of a school restructuring to a charter school. Sound advice is given to identify and resolved faculty stress.

  5. Book recommendations: Soup and The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.

  6. In an effort to reduce failures at Rogers high School, I outlined in the success stories blog a plan of action for our school. This link is to one of may great articles in the November issue of Educational Leadership Magazine. Vol. 69 No.3 that focuses on effective grading practices. I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this issue of you are interested in having conversations with your staff about grading practices in your school. The issue is full of great articles.

  7. I subscribe to Todd Whitaker's Twitter feed. Great snipets or links for me as a leader. I can always save longer articles for later if time does not allow for me to read at the time. He also retweets other great feeds, too!

    1. Thanks, Tammy. This might make me become a Twitter fan.

  8. Second edition for Classroom Instruction That Works is fantastic.

  9. I have to agree with Robert Moore from Rogers High School and I too was impressed with the variety of articles in the November 2011 issue of the Educational Leadership Magazine, Vol. 69 No. 3 that focuses on efffective grading practices. The article that had the biggest impact on how I can lead differently while managing change was titled," The Case Against Grades," by Alfie Kohn. Mr. Kohn states that when schools cling to letter and number ratings, students get stuck in a system that undermines learning. Think about it and when you get a chance look at the research and as Mr. Kohn has suggested you might believe too "that grades do not prepare students for the 'real world' - unless one has in mind a world where interest in learning and quality of thinking are unimportant".

  10. I recently read an article in the Principal magazine (March/April 2012 issue) entitled "Assessing Teachers: A conversation with Charlotte Danielson" This article talks about Danielson's Framework for Teaching and how it is going to change how teacher evaluations are conducted. This helped bring everything into focus since I just returned today from the meeting of pilot schools for the evaluation process. It really is going to change the whole process, in a good way I think, for both administrators and teachers. We will have to work hard to make this transition a smooth one and also one that the teachers see the value of and buy into.

  11. I read a research article that was sent to our academic coaches throughout the district. The article was called Research on Coaching written by Jake Cornett and Jim Knight. The article discussed 4 types of coaching: Peer Coaching, Cognitive Coaching, Literacy Coaching, and Instructional Coaching. Research indicated that teachers were more successful implementing new content when they were working with a coach. Modeling and dialogue supported instructional shifts. This article shared research on the effectiveness of the various approaches to coaching. The major benefit was that coaches often provided the supportive context that helped teachers to successfully implement new content and strategies.

  12. The audio journal is great. It comes once a month with top articles that you can listen to in the car. It saves time!

  13. The book I would like to share with my colleagues is "PBL in the Elementary Grades: Step-by-Step Guidance, Tools, and Tips for Standard-Focused K-5 Projects", Copyright © 2011 Buck Institute for Education. We are using this book as a training manual for a vertical team of teachers as they develop project base learning (PBL) activities using variety of technology tools. In my opinion this book is a how to book for teachers on using project based learning with the k-5 students. It does an excellent job of explaining the components of PBL’s, it provides a snapshot of K-5 project based projects, explains what PBL are and are not, why we need to use PBL as a teaching method, explains misconceptions about PBL’s, the research behind PBL, how to fit PBL projects into an elementary curriculum, and the role the teachers play in PBL projects. One of the best parts about this book is the sample tools in the book for projects and the additional resources it mentions on PBL projects. This book makes a connection using the common core standards and project based learning for young learners. Just like any learning taking place in the classroom it has to be reflective and real world. Our team at Dover Elementary School has developed project based activities at each grade level to be implemented following the Benchmarks. This same team will be training the rest of the staff in the fall in PBL using current technology resources. They also have books for the middle level learners and high school level students.
    Donny Forehand
    Dover Elementary School

  14. I read the book Leading and managing change by Todd Whittaker. It is an excellent read for strategies to get everybody on board. I know we are always trying to get individuals to get on board and by into the mission/vision of the school. Easy read. Practical information that can be very helpful.

  15. The book One Teacher At A Time, by Jane Pollock is an excellent resource and almost a step by step guide for designing instruction that results in student achievement. It is an easy read and written in easy to understand language. The lesson design GANAG is reminiscent of Madeline Hunter and PET but is much more inn depth and high yield strategies fit easily into the format. This has had a stroong impact on instruction in our building.

  16. This year my assistant principals and I used the book, What Great Principals Do Differenty: Fifteen things that Matter Most, by Todd Whitaker, for our administrative PLC/Book Study dedicated time. The information in the book intentionally put into practice is impactful. As a principal, I must have a strong knowledge base in my field of leadership; what I know about being a principal is subordinate in importance to what I do. After this study, I know I (and my assistants) will be more intentional in where we focus our attention and how we spend our time and energy. As well, we know for sure and articulate what guides our decisions. Intentional and puroseful! I know that I am validated to always want to be better and this study has provided tools for such. I can learn from others -- from great principals -- from Todd Whitaker. The study has helped me to recognize the importance of people over programs and has helped my administrative staff to recognize the 2 primary ways to improve schools -- "hire better teachers and improve the one's there." The study has reaffirmed that great principals do everything to promote individual teacher development. The greatest impact this study will have on me is to work with teachers EVERYDAY. They are the variable that is most responsible for student success. My energies must be invested in them. I must make them aware of the impact they have and work with them to embrace this responsibility. Finally, as Todd Whitaker states, my administration will act with dignity and respect as we work with the teachers--my behaviors as the principal are most obvious--my attitude sets the tone. I will be impactful! After reading this book, I can't help but be. (Btw - we also watched the DVD that accompanies the book -- it was awesome!)

  17. M. Hutton
    Elmdale Elementary
    Springdale, Arkansas
    This year our Instructional Leadership PLC did a book study using the book: Student-Centered Coaching, A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals, by Diane Sweeny. Our district has moved to Student-centered coaching and our Instructional Leadership PLC wanted to be on the same page so we did the study. We learned a great deal about the importance of coaching, the role of the coach and the principal when coaching teachers. We stole many tools from the book which were helpful in the planning and implementation of Coaching Cycles. A couple of the tools we are using are called: Results Based one on one coaching tool (great planning, reflection, and accountability tool) and Conference Plan for Gradual Increase of Responsibility (GIR) a tool for planning and debriefing after a coaching cycle. Every chapter included a piece for the principal, we learned about our responsibilities in the Student-Centered Coaching process too. Over all we have created a coherent understanding of the expectations for the implementation of Student-Centered Coaching at our building.

  18. M. Hutton
    Elmdale Elementary
    Springdale, Arkansas
    Our Instructional Leadership PLC has began another book study: Focus, Elevating the Essentials To Radically Improve Stident Learning, by Mike Schmoker. We has found this book to have many what we call "aha moments". This author gets back to the basics of reading, writing, and speaking. Three important message are contained in this book: What we teach, How we Teach, and authentic literacy. Schmoker explains the importance of students spending purposeful, meaninful time reading, writing, and speaking. He stresses the importance of students reading multiple types of literature daily: newspapers, magaizines, scholastic news, nonfiction text, fiction text, poetry and so. He expresses the importance of giving our students the opportunity to read 60 minutes a day in class and at least 40 minutes of writing daily. It includes information for implementing PLC, GRR, and common core. So far we have gained great information and understanding about teaching and learning through reading, writing, and speaking daily.

  19. M.Hutton
    Elmdale Elementary
    Springdale, Arkansas
    We have also selected the book: Pathways to the Common Core, Accelerating Achievement, by Calkins, Ehrenworth, Lehman. We will be doing the book study with our staff hopefully in May.

  20. Theresa Cowling
    North Heights Junior High School

    I have just completed the book "Shifting the Monkey". This is a fabulous resouces for principals struggling with shifting the responsibilities of a school or problem to the appropriate person. It is perfect for those struggling with negative staff members

  21. I have just completed the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. This book talks about change and how we can define change. It is hard to change period! But some changes are made with less effort than others. The author states, "So when you hear people say that change is hard because people are lazy or resistant, that's just flat wrong. In fact, the opposite is true: Change is hard because people wear themselves out. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion." Some food for thought as we are approaching our "changing" times.

  22. Katherine Snyder
    Washington Magnet School
    Little Rock

    Book Title: The 4 Disciplines of Execution.
    Authors: Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling
    Published by: Free Press (A division of Simon and Schuster, Inc.)

    The book jacket states, "The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing on your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind. By following The 4 Disciplines:
    o Focusing on the Wildly Important
    o Acting on Lead Measures
    o Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard
    o Creating a Cadence of Accountability
    leaders can produce breakthrough results, even when executing the strategy requires a significant change in behavior from their teams."

    This book is about providing a specific goal to be achieved that is created by the team of colleagues. The focus for the team must be that they are in agreement that the goal is challenging, winnable, and has some overall connection. Rather than the focus being on colllecting data, (which is considered a Lag Measure), the focus is on the Lead Measure. Busy work abounds at work, and that is what the authors claim to be the whirl wind. Specific, focused time and energy must be devoted to the Lead Measures, the activity or energy that will most likely achieve the goal.

    The book challenges the reader to refocus everyday work tasks. What and why are there mindless tasks? What are the key tasks that bring about results leading to completion of the goal. But first, the team must define what the goal is to be, and it best be only one goal to maintain everyone's focus. The book provides good and guided information on how to connect to 4DX.

  23. Fuller Middle School

    The book that I am currently reading is "Motivating Black Males to Achieve in school & in life" by Baruti Kafele. I'm considering using this text for a school wide book study next year. Our African American Male population is struggling academically at FMS. They also over represent our disciplinary numbers vs. their white peers. Many of our teachers struggle to relate to this particular group of children, thus the need for the book study.

  24. How Stella Saved the Farm (Govindarajan & Trimble). It's not an education book, but it has perfect application to the Leading and Managing Change process. Innovation, a positive characteristic, always comes with challenges because Innovation evokes Change. A parable that introduces an unexpected leadership challenge, a call to action, innovative idea fraught with obstacles & conflicts, and emotional highs and lows along the way. It teaches 8 lessons to bring success to innovations. Originally written for the business world, what school isn't faced with unexpected leadership challenges that require a call to action that demands initiatives that inevitably are fraught with obstacles and conflicts with emotional highs and lows along the way. (I apologize to my English teacher friends for that last sentence - a horrible run-on, but it makes the point!) How Stella Saved the Farm! Maybe we think: How Ms. B Saved her Classroom! How Mr. T Saved his Team! How the Science Department Saved their School! How Your Leadership Saved You. Okay, the analogy can go on and on. The point is, change is inevitable, success is not. We can learn from Stella and the other farm animals!

  25. Darnell Bell

    Introducing Project RED

    Technology is woven into every aspect of our lives, and education is no exception. With the belief that technology can make a substantial impact on schools and students, three research organizations - The Greaves Group, The Hayes Connection and One-to-One Institute - established Project RED: Revolutionizing Education. Initially these organizations conducted a national survey of technology programs in 1,000 schools, which is the first and only national research focusing on academic results and the financial implication of education technology. The findings showed that if effectively implemented, technology programs can lead to improved student achievement and significant return on investment.
    Project Red is a website on the benefits of technology.

  26. I just finished reading "From STEM to STEAM Using Brain-Compatible Strategies to Integrate the Arts" by David Sousa and Tom Pilecki.

    This book was used as a book study for administrators in year 1 of Arkansas A Plus Schools, but it has been a good resource for leading and managing change as well. The chapters outline the need for arts in addition to science, technology, engineering and math and how they actually compliment each other. This book also has a great description of rigor using the terms complexity and difficulty that I will be using with my teachers as we examine academic rigor. The last chapter is called, "Putting it all Together." This is an excellent resource for building leaders to plan and manage change so it can and will take place. The authors discuss school culture and climate, peer coaching, in-building study groups, action research, and professional development. I would recommend this book for a building-wide and/or leadership team book study! Kim Starr

  27. In taking a different viewpoint for this next step, I wanted to share with you a young adult novel written by Jordan Sonnenblick, titled Girls, Drums, and Dangerous Pie. It was an unexpected treasure that my library media led me to discover during a year when my top priority was to help adults focus on kids and relationships. Each staff member received their own copy of the book with the note below as they left for Thanksgiving Break. Every student participated in a school wide read of the book in March, Jordan Sonnenblick visited our school in April, and the sequel to the book will be read by GMS in May. It's worth every minute of your time.

    Note to staff:

    In this wonderful Thanksgiving season, please know how thankful we are for you.
    The staff members of Greenbrier Middle School are like no other.

    Thank you for raising our culture for learning.
    Thank you for committing to being a learner yourself.
    Thank you for the uncountable extra hours you devote to “your kids” at school.
    Thank you for persevering through the stressful, trying times as a teacher, through the emotion that it takes to do the “job” that you do every day.
    Thank you for working on new ideas all to better ourselves and our students and our school.
    Thank you for doing, what we consider, as some of the most important work in this universe.

    Please enjoy your new book by Jordan Sonneblick, Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie. It is a story of a student named Steven, much like any of our own, struggling with family and emotions and unexpected curveballs in life, while being supported by a few key people, including his teachers. You as an adult may even connect to Steven’s life and challenges. It’s a reminder of our focus this year, the focus of knowing our students and building relationships, the focus of school being about kids.

    There are exciting things ahead for GMS around this wonderful book, including an author visit to GMS scheduled by Mrs. Erin Shaw for spring of 2014! You now have your own book to be signed by Mr. Sonnenblick. Be watching for more opportunities to help plan even more great things and to brainstorm how to use this book to also inspire our students! The possibilities are endless!

    This book is a token of appreciation to hopefully “fill your cup” during this wonderful season of Thanksgiving. It’s not a required reading or a team meeting assignment, but simply an inspiring book that you will not regret reading.

    We leave you with this quote as we wish you a relaxing, restful, fun, and blessed
    Thanksgiving Break

    One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
    -Carl Jung

  28. One of the best resources that I learned about this year was the book, The Power of ICU. I heard about it at High Schools that Work Conferences. I heard about how good it was again at ALA. THEN, thanks to Kelli Martin and Greenbrier Middle School, I heard about it again. The third time must have been the charm! I purchased the book for my building leadership team. I hoped to find an answer to non-diligence for teachers.

    When the BLT read the first section of the book, they were worked up. They didn't quite believe in what they were asked to read. The more that we read and discussed the book, the more the teachers wanted to read.

    They began to make changes in their own classrooms in teaching and learning. One teacher explained that she can never grade the same way again. Other teachers have studied standards-based grading. Standards-based grading is growing on our campus.

    Our plan is to bring this book to the rest of our campus first. Then we plan to bring it to the elementary and high school building leadership teams.


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