9 Books for a Principal’s Summer Reading



Summer is a time for reflection for the Principal. Yes, we work throughout the hot months, but the job during July and the first half of August is closer to 40 hours a week, not 70 or 75, and evenings are mostly ours. I have to use this time to catch up on professional reading. Partly for your reading pleasure and more for my own accountability, here’s what on tap for summer 2014:

Improbable Scholars by David Kirp.

This is a story of a school district in New Jersey that over time has done surprisingly well. We’ve heard this story before.  A poor district beating the odds and a researcher-writer (Kirp) coming in to document their success. Reviews are mixed on the book but it was highly recommended by NH Superintendents.

Five Levers to Improve Learning by Tony Frontier and James Rickabaugh

So many of us have been working hard for decades to improve schools and yet, data has shown little systemic growth nation-wide. The authors hope that the the simple adage that we need to work smarter not harder holds true. 

How Teachers Can Turn Data into Action by Daniel R. Venables

The author is a veteran of not just the data wars but also professional learning communities. Venables gives solid advice for teachers on dealing with a life awash with data.

Switch: How To Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath

The Heath brothers explore the conflict in our minds between our rational and emotional minds. I started this book when it debuted but never finished it. It is a good companion to David Pink’s work.

The Handbook for Smart School Teams: Revitalizing Best Practices for Collaboration by Anne E. Conzemius and Jan O’Neill

This book riffs off the “SMART” acronym for data driven decision making. It is more of a handbook than a front to back read. 

RTI In the Early Grades by Chris Weber

Chris is a former Principal who understands elementary schools and Response to Intervention or (Instruction as we say in New Hampshire). He’s also part of the Dufour/Solution Tree/PLC cadre. 

Catching Up or Leading the Way by Yong Zhao

While slightly dated (2009) Zhao lays out his perspective that we may be emphasizing standards and standardized tests more than the skills we need to stay competitive in a changing world. Zhao is one of our field’s best thinkers and NHASCD is bringing him in to Concord, NH on April 3, 2015.

Digital Leadership by Eric Sheninger

Eric is everyone’s favorite digital Principal and no one is better known in this area.  Eric is also fortunate to have Yong Zhao compose the forward.

Pathways to the Common Core by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman

Calkins has been the most influential educator in the area of literacy, certainly in the Big Apple and perhaps throughout the country. This book was selected as last year’s #1 educational book on the New York Times Best Seller List. 

If you read any of these, would you please comment here or throw me an email? I’ll refer and review some of these titles in the Fall. I hope you’ll use the next two months to reflect and write about your learning. Read on.

One comment Add yours
  1. Digital Leadership is a must read for any lead learner/principal. Even if you are all ready on the digital journey lots of great ideas to involve stakeholders. Ideas such as branding your school and the importance of sharing your school story using multiple platforms.

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